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Why IPv4 and IPv6 don't do fragment reassembly in routers

Learn why IPv4 does not do fragment reassembly at the next router and why this is even more important in IPv6.

Why do you think IPv4 does fragment reassembly at the end rather than at the next router?

Fragment reassembly is done at the end host always in order to free routers from having to do this task. Routers need to be efficient in forwarding, so any task which is not directly related to forwarding and can be done somewhere else is a gain in performance.

In IPv6 it goes even one step further. With IPv6, routers do not even fragment anymore. If fragmentation needs to be done, it is done at the sending host.

For more information:

  • View SearchNetworking.com's Step-by-step IP network design guide.
  • To learn more about what happens inside a router read this tip: How routers work.

  • This was last published in January 2008

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