10.11. Vendor Support
The first requirement is to have IPv6 support in host and router operating systems. In the last few years, there was a lot of activity in this area, and today we can say that most vendors support IPv6 on production level. The following sections provide an overview of the situation in 2005.
10.11.1. Operating Systems
Operating systems with IPv6 support include not only commercial operating systems such as Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM-AIX, Microsoft Windows (XP, .NET, and 2003 Server), Mac OS X, HP Tru64, HP OpenVMS, and SGI Irix, but also open source operating systems such as FreeBSD, KAME Stack, Linux, and NetBSD. Even some PDAs already have IPv6 support, such as Familiar Linux (on Compaq iPAQ), OpenZaurus (for Sharp Zaurus), and Windows CE. Embedded operating systems such as Elmic Systems, Embedded Linux, Symbian OSv7 (e.g., in Sony Ericsson P800 and P900), and Windriver have IPv6 support.
Many vendors have IPv6 information on their websites. Use the search option, a public search engine, or try the link .com/ipv6">http://www.<vendor>.com/ipv6.
Some links for embedded systems and PDAs:
The operating systems differ in the level of implementation. You have to ask specific questions, and vendors have to provide a list of which RFCs are supported in their implementation.
10.11.2. Router Support
The list of router vendors is large, with vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Nortel, Hitachi, Ericsson, and 6WIND all well-represented. Most of them have been supporting IPv6 for almost a decade and continually upgraded and optimized their implementations. Again, be specific about the level of support offered. When evaluating a new router, compare the support on different models of the same vendor. Most router vendors have detailed lists available and roadmaps of what will be supported in the next release for each model.
When evaluating new router hardware, make sure to ask the following questions:
Vendors offering Switches with layer 3 functionality and IPv6 support include Cisco, Foundry, Extreme, and Procket.
10.11.3. IP Address Management
Some DHCP implementations based on the RFC specification are already out there, one of them being the HP implementation plus some implementations based on open source operating systems. Cisco also has DHCPv6 functionality implemented. IP Management tools are in the queue, and the one with the broadest IPv6 support as of 2005 probably is INS's IPControl and NetControl. Lucent is working on the implementation of IPv6 address management in VitalQIP. More of these tools and better support will appear in the near future and may already be on the market when you read this book.
There is a lot of packet filtering software out there for IPv6, especially in the Linux and FreeBSD world, as well as for Mac OS Panther. Windows XP with Service Pack 2 includes a personal firewall called IPv6 Internet Connection Firewall. As IPv6 restores the end-to-end model, these personal firewalls will become increasingly more important. If you are looking for a Stateful firewall, Cisco supports it on IOS 12.3(7)T and above as well as in the PIX 7.0 series. CheckPoint's Firewall-1 has had Stateful IPv6 support for quite some time, and so do Juniper's NetScreen Firewalls and Internet Security Systems's Enterprise Protection Platform. This is not supposed to be a complete list. There may be other vendors of which I am not aware.
The next chapter introduces Mobile IPv6 and explains the concepts and how it works. Mobility may well become one of the drivers to deploy IPv6, because it greatly profits from the advanced features available with IPv6.