IPv6 requires that the link layer support a minimum MTU size of 1,280 bytes. Link layers that do not support this MTU size must provide a link-layer fragmentation and reassembly scheme that is transparent to IPv6. For link layers that can support a configurable MTU size, RFC 2460 recommends that they be configured with an MTU size of at least 1,500 bytes (the IPv6 MTU for Ethernet II encapsulation). An example of a configurable MTU is the Maximum Receive Unit (MRU) of a PPP link.

Like IPv4, IPv6 provides a Path MTU Discovery process that uses the ICMPv6 Packet Too Big message described in the "Path MTU Discovery" section of Chapter 5, "ICMPv6." Path MTU Discovery allows the transmission of IPv6 packets that are larger than 1,280 bytes.

IPv6 source hosts can fragment payloads of upper-layer protocols that are larger than the path MTU by using the process and Fragment header previously described. However, the use of IPv6 fragmentation is highly discouraged. An IPv6 node must be able to reassemble a fragmented packet that is at least 1,500 bytes in size.

Table 4-6 lists commonly used LAN and WAN technologies and their defined IPv6 MTUs.

Table 4-6. IPv6 MTUs for CommonLAN and WAN Technologies

LAN or WAN Technology IPv6 MTU

Ethernet (Ethernet II encapsulation)


Ethernet (IEEE 802.3 SubNetwork Access Protocol [SNAP] encapsulation)


Token Ring




Attached Resource Computer Network (ARCNet)






Frame Relay


Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) (Null or SNAP encapsulation)


For more information about LAN and WAN encapsulations for IPv6 packets, see Appendix A, "Link-Layer Support for IPv6."

Understanding IPv6
Understanding Ipv6
ISBN: 0735612455
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 124
Authors: Joseph Davies

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