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Weighing options for building an IPv6-enabled service provider core

IP expert Ivan Pepelnjak breaks down the true headaches you'll face when building an IPv6-enabled service provider core, and what you can do to ease the pain.

How difficult it is it to build an IPv6-enabled service provider core? Are there a lot of options?

Upgrading the core service provider network to IPv6 is usually the easiest part of the puzzle. Access networks, network management and provisioning systems are the usual causes of major headaches.

If you're not using MPLS, you can deploy native IPv6 in your core network, running all core routers in dual stack mode, where they route IPv4 and IPv6 concurrently. If your core network uses MPLS, it's much better to use the existing MPLS infrastructure (more so if you use MPLS Traffic Engineering for load distribution or fast rerouting capabilities) and transport IPv6 across the MPLS core using the 6PE functionality (RFC 4798). You can also use MPLS infrastructure to create IPv6 layer-3 VPNs similar to IPv4 MPLS/VPN services with the 6VPE functionality (RFC 4659).

If you need more details, consider registering for my Building IPv6 Service Provider Backbone webinar.

This was last published in January 2011

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