Transition Mechanisms for IPv6 Hosts and Routers
RFC 1933

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (April 1996; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 2893
Authors Erik Nordmark  , Robert Gilligan 
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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Network Working Group                                        R. Gilligan
Request for Comments: 1933                                   E. Nordmark
Category: Standards Track                         Sun Microsystems, Inc.
                                                              April 1996

            Transition Mechanisms for IPv6 Hosts and Routers

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This document specifies IPv4 compatibility mechanisms that can be
   implemented by IPv6 hosts and routers.  These mechanisms include
   providing complete implementations of both versions of the Internet
   Protocol (IPv4 and IPv6), and tunneling IPv6 packets over IPv4
   routing infrastructures.  They are designed to allow IPv6 nodes to
   maintain complete compatibility with IPv4, which should greatly
   simplify the deployment of IPv6 in the Internet, and facilitate the
   eventual transition of the entire Internet to IPv6.

1. Introduction

   The key to a successful IPv6 transition is compatibility with the
   large installed base of IPv4 hosts and routers.  Maintaining
   compatibility with IPv4 while deploying IPv6 will streamline the task
   of transitioning the Internet to IPv6.  This specification defines a
   set of mechanisms that IPv6 hosts and routers may implement in order
   to be compatible with IPv4 hosts and routers.

   The mechanisms in this document are designed to be employed by IPv6
   hosts and routers that need to interoperate with IPv4 hosts and
   utilize IPv4 routing infrastructures.  We expect that most nodes in
   the Internet will need such compatibility for a long time to come,
   and perhaps even indefinitely.

   However, IPv6 may be used in some environments where interoperability
   with IPv4 is not required.  IPv6 nodes that are designed to be used
   in such environments need not use or even implement these mechanisms.

   The mechanisms specified here include:

Gilligan & Nordmark         Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 1933               IPv6 Transition Mechanisms             April 1996

   -    Dual IP layer.  Providing complete support for both IPv4 and
        IPv6 in hosts and routers.

   -    IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling.  Encapsulating IPv6 packets within
        IPv4 headers to carry them over IPv4 routing infrastructures.
        Two types of tunneling are employed: configured and automatic.

   Additional transition and compatibility mechanisms may be developed
   in the future.  These will be specified in other documents.

1.2. Terminology

   The following terms are used in this document:

   Types of Nodes

        IPv4-only node:

                A  host  or  router  that  implements  only  IPv4.    An
                IPv4-only  node does not understand IPv6.  The installed
                base of IPv4  hosts  and  routers  existing  before  the
                transition begins are IPv4-only nodes.

        IPv6/IPv4 node:

                A host or router that implements both IPv4 and IPv6.

        IPv6-only node:

                A host or router that implements IPv6, and does not
                implement IPv4.  The operation of IPv6-only nodes is not
                addressed here.

        IPv6 node:

                Any host or router that implements IPv6.  IPv6/IPv4 and
                IPv6-only nodes are both IPv6 nodes.

        IPv4 node:

                Any host or router that implements IPv4.  IPv6/IPv4 and
                IPv4-only nodes are both IPv4 nodes.

Gilligan & Nordmark         Standards Track                     [Page 2]
RFC 1933               IPv6 Transition Mechanisms             April 1996

   Types of IPv6 Addresses

        IPv4-compatible IPv6 address:

                An IPv6 address, assigned to an IPv6/IPv4 node, which
                bears the high-order 96-bit prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0, and an
                IPv4 address in the low-order 32-bits.  IPv4-compatible
                addresses are used by the automatic tunneling mechanism.

        IPv6-only address:

                The remainder of the IPv6 address space.  An IPv6
                address that bears a prefix other than 0:0:0:0:0:0.

   Techniques Used in the Transition

        IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling:

                The technique of encapsulating IPv6 packets within IPv4
                so that they can be carried across IPv4 routing

        IPv6-in-IPv4 encapsulation:

                IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling.

        Configured tunneling:

                IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling where the IPv4 tunnel endpoint
                address is determined by configuration information on
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