Sunday, June 12, 2011

IPV6 Testing Follow-up #1


Now that IPv6 Testing Day is over, a huge chunk of the Internet that cares now has a good idea what problems they have. I heard back again from the great Jason Fesler of with further details about the current state of IPv6 and its impact on users. He suggested reading the following two articles posted at his site: views on 6to4

About the "v6ns" test

The first article discusses the 'transition mechanism' (aka make-shift patch job) to provide internet IPv6 compatibility called 6to4. You can read more about it here:


The second article makes a brief reference to the OpenDNS IPv6 Sandbox, which did NOT work for my Mac. You can read about configuring your Mac to use this sandbox here:

How to Use the OpenDNS IPv6 Sandbox

Despite my FAILed test results, I am going to continue using this sandbox in hopes that either they get it right or I figure out what they're not telling me might be wrong at my end. Today I am adding references to their sandbox in my router settings. Below is a grab of the resulting setting inside my Airport Extreme Base Station. Note the separate line specifically for adding IPv6 DNS Server addresses. Update your router after adding the addresses:

NOTE: This is the stuff of geeks. Do not play along unless you have the experience and patience to deal with its high level of geekiness. At this time, I am not going to teach how to create the proper IPv6 settings beyond what I have already posted. Also be sure to refer back to CNET's article which I linked in my original IPv6 post.

Gradually the clunky stuff will be resolved. But it would be no surprise to find that even after the drop dead date, which IPv6 goes manditory.

Question: So when will IPv6 be manditory?
Answer: There is no actual set date at this point. However, to quote Wikipedia:
The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) suggests that all Internet servers be prepared to serve IPv6-only clients by January 2012.
IOW: Expect there to be a rush to get everyone up to speed starting this fall. It's going to be another 'OMG' panic to get everyone IPv6 capable by New Year's Day.

Question: Are my router, operating system, DNS servers and web browsers ready to do IPv6?!
Answer: It's time to go RTFM! Please do not go around asking other people this question. If you can't find the FM, then check out the websites of your providers. Here is a list of possible answers you will discover there:

A) Yes, everything is adequate. Enjoy.

B) Your router needs a firmware update. Everything else is fine, but be sure you have the latest software updates.

C) You are SOL buddy! Your router is too old and/or your router provider isn't customer satisfaction oriented enough to care. BUY A NEW ROUTER!

D) Your operating system is too old to have a clue about IPv6. Either buy an upgraded version of the OS that is compatible with your hardware. If your hardware is not compatible with the required operating system version, you're SOL buddy! GO BUY A NEW COMPUTER!

Question: Is my Mac compatible with IPv6?
Answer: If your Mac can run at least Mac OS X 10.3.3 and above, you're mostly fine.

Question: What about Mac OS X 10.2.x Jaguar?
Answer: Mac OS X 10.2.x has IPv6 compatibility included. I says so right here:

To quote:

The inclusion of IPv6 in Mac OS X 10.2 keeps the Mac up-to-date with other operating systems and ensures continued access and compatibility with the Internet.... Many of the networking APIs in Mac OS X have been improved to support IPv6.

Wikipedia disagrees, for whatever that's worth.

HOWEVER! You have to turn IPv6 on and configure it. Here is a brief article describing how to enable IPv6 on Mac OS X 10.2.x Jaguar using the Terminal:

IPv6 Day - Mac OS

Question: Is ye olde Mac OS 9.2.2 IPv6 compatible?
Answer: No. You're hosed.

Question: What about Mac OS X 10.0 and 10.1?
Answer: No. You're hosed.

Question: So is Mac OS X 10.6.x Snow Leopard totally RadiKewl with IPv6? It has to be! Right?
Answer: Nope! It's NOT. Here is a relevant article over at Wikipedia, as 2011-05-28:

Comparison of IPv6 support in operating systems

To quote:

DNS name resolution in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) fails for hosts with a CNAME record.(Many publicly-accessible hosts have CNAME records.) No public APIs work to get the IPv6 host address.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard also has no support for IPv6 relevant 'DHCPv6' or 'ND RDNSS'.

And what is DHCP? The short answer is that it allows your computer to be handed an IP address by your router or your ISP's own routers. In the case of DHCPv6, you can be handed an IPv6 address. Without DHCPv6 you CANNOT be handed an IPv6 address. Right now, this situation is of minor concern. Check back in January 2012. 

Hopefully, Apple will provide an update to their routers, as well as Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, that will rectify the situation. If Apple do not include DHCPv6 in 10.7 Lion, you will have the opportunity to scream bloody murder at them, always a good time for one and all.

And what is ND RDNSS? ND stands for 'Neighborhood Discovery Protocol'. (Why isn't it abbreviated as NDP? Ask the dweebs who abbreviated it. I hate acronyms!) What about 'RDNSS'? That stands for 'Recursive DNS Server'. There's lots more techy information about the IPv6 Neighborhood Discovery Protocol here:

At this point in my article, I have to defer to greater experts than I to explain these finer details of IPv6. What I could find about Recursive DNS Servers was down at the source level of technical papers, which is far beyond the scope of my intended audience.

Let me therefore refer you to The TCP/IP Guide ('A TCP/IP Reference You Can Understand!') for further details. This is the starting page for their section on IPv6:


If you, like me, are now buried in a mountain of acronymic alphabet soup, haunting your waking thoughts as well as your darkest nightmares, I highly recommend going to the grocery story and wreaking revenge through the buying and consumption of your favorite brand of alphabet soup. You may also find various brands of crunchy alphabet oat cereals. As you consume the these alphabetic nutrients, think to yourself about chewing up all the nasty tech acronyms, protocols, processes, code and nomenclature. Get into a nom nom rhythm and think of yourself as the master of what you once thought was unfathomable. No letters are your equal. Technology is nothing more than another human creation. It gets complicated. It gets buggy and obtuse. Persistence, the march of your nom nom teeth on every delicious bite, will get you through. Patience will help you spoon down a whole bowl full of techy goodness.

And hopefully other people, such as myself, will help translate geek-speak into the vernacular, enabling all of mankind to comprehend and put technology to work toward the improvement of our tech enabled lives! 

(Cue the marching band...)


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