IPv6 Address Formatting

So, I’ve come to the in depth IPv6 studies for my CCNP – I figure I’d take some notes on my blog to help others out who take this path.

I know, I should’ve gotten gotten some exposure to this on my CCNA studies, and I did, but not enough to totally absorb it.

OK, Take a deep breath. I know some people, including myself, were a little intimidated by this – but it CAN be done!

So, let get started :

With IPv6, the standard IPv4 32-bit addressing scheme goes out the window. Now a 128-bit addressing scheme is adopted.

IPv4 provided a total of 4,294,967,296 addresses. Ready for this one? IPv6 now provides this many addresses :

340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456  –  340 Undecillion addresses.

I’ve read somewhere that this is actually enough addresses to give every atom on the earth’s surface an address, and then 100 Earth’s there-after. You can check me on that, but I am writing this from memory. Seems like we will NEVER run out eh? Well, this brings up one of my favorite XKCD comics – http://xkcd.com/865/

To prevent confusion and over/under/random-use and to help with the public allocations, the RFC states that we will leave 85% of the IPv6 spectrum unused until the standard is revised. When that will be? I don’t think anyone knows, but there was a time when we though IPv4 would provide enough addresses for everything….

As you can see, this would become a bit less than ideal to try and manage. That being said, the powers at be decided to divide the addresses into 8 groups of 4 hexadecimal characters each. The IP address in v6 land no longer consists of 4 octects of 8 bits. Now it consists of 8 groups of 16 bits per character and since it is hexadecimal the bits can be set to values ranging from 0 through F – and if you do the math, this comes out to be 2^128’s combinations of characters. Which adds up to that crazy number listed above.

An example being :

2001:0050:0000:0000:0000:0AB4:1E2B:98AA  –  A far cry from 10.1.1.1, I would say.

Again, to make this all a bit more comprehensive and manageable, the powers at be allowed us some lee-way on how we can write and handle the addresses. You are able to drop the groups of consecutive zero’s. But, here’s the kicker, this can only be done ONCE per address.

If we were to apply this to the address listed above, it would become :

2001:0050::0AB4:1E2B:98AA

Now, still a bit unrly to have to try and type into a cmd prompt to ping something, so there is another rule we can apply. We are allowed to drop leading zeros within the address. Again, if we were to apply this to the address above, it would become :

2001:50::AB4:1E2B:98AA

This brings it down to something, though not exactly EASY to remember or type – but a hell of a lot more manageable than the first number we started with.

That sums up the formatting of the addresses, and is a very high level overview – but I just wanted to point out the 2 rules that can be applied to “short-handing” the address to make it a little less stressful on your brain. As I know I needed.

As always, thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated.

Until next time.

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Becoming Vendor Agnostic

As you all know, I am studying for my CCNP currently and enjoying every minute of it. And I recently started following many, many Network Engineers or Network oriented individuals on Twitter and Google+. For a long time, I had that usual stigma that Cisco was the best network hardware/software company that existed. It wasn’t until I started following all of these individuals that I realized that I was wrong. Dead wrong. In fact, with Cisco’s current lay-offs, I started thinking that I shouldn’t be putting all of my eggs in one basket. Cisco is indeed a giant in the networking industry and no one can argue the abilities of their equipment and software. But with 6,000 projected lay-offs, that would make anyone stop and take a look at what’s going on in the industry.

Companies like Juniper, Brocade, and HP and many others all have viable alternatives to the Cisco equipment that we all know and love. And the equipment performs on par, if not better in some circumstances by what I’ve seen in social media these days.

This led me to look into studying for some Juniper certifications, as I’ve noticed a lot of attention being given to this company by the people I follow. Come to find out, Juniper is offering a program right now called Fast Track. It’s designed for any type of professional in the networking industry, be it entry level with very little knowledge, to people who have been working the field for decades. You can sign up – login  – and start using their study materials to learn the in’s and out’s of the Juniper OS called JunOS. Along with the free training they’re providing, once you pass their assessments, they give you discounted vouchers to go and get the certifications. I think it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

I plan to move my studies toward a more broad horizon for the industry and allow myself to gain as much knowledge about all vendors as possible, and make myself more marketable in the long run. I suggest anyone looking to pursue this path, do the same. We all know that companies are like countries, and they can never last forever. And I do NOT want to be one of the people left high and dry because I am only trained and seasoned in one vendor’s equipment.

Any thoughts?