IPv6 Intelligence

IPv6 Operating Systems

All current operating systems for host computers and end users support IPv6 in their base installation. Functionality and support for the basic IPv6 features is solid and either activated by default or requires only few manual configuration. The following table summarizes the basic support:

Table 1: IPv6 operating systems overview and features
Operating
system
Firewall DHCPv6 6to4 Configured
tunnels
PPPv6
PPPoE
AIX ? yes yes yes yes
Cisco IOS yes yes yes yes yes
FreeBSD yes addon yes yes yes
HP-UX 11i yes yes yes yes yes
Linux yes addon yes yes yes
Mac OS X yes no yes yes yes
NetBSD yes addon yes yes ?
OpenBSD yes addon no yes ?
Solaris yes yes yes yes yes
Windows XP yes addon yes yes no
Windows Vista yes yes yes yes yes
Windows 7 ? yes yes ? ?

Source: own research. Data from April 2009.

Support for newer IPv6 subprotocols and features (tunnels, various forms of auto configuration) and streamlined IPv6 support in system services and software is more mixed, however. The state of documentation varies as well: quite good in the commercial systems (Unix, Cisco’s IOS and newer Windows) but almost non-existent in the various Linux and BSD-based (includes OS X) systems (which is quite sad since it does not mirror their IPv6 stacks’ quality).

Linux IPv6

Linux baseline IPv6

IPv6 support in the vanilla/baseline Linux kernel is based on USAGI. Functionality is quite extensive, integral parts build into the main kernel and utilities; more complex IPv6 subprotocols need separate software and/or kernel patching.

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BSD (KAME) IPv6

All of the four listed BSD operating systems integrate the KAME IPv6 stack. However, different levels of the kernel/network parts are implemented and the utilities from KAME for the various subprotocols are not distributed with the base operating systems.

Basic IPv6 support is available by default on all KAME-based systems. Support for subprotocols as e.g. DHCPv6, newer tunnelling mechanisms or Mobile IP needs separate software and partially kernel patching.

There is almost no current and/or useful IPv6 documentation in the BSD projects.

FreeBSD IPv6

NetBSD IPv6

Not tested to this date. Most remarks on FreeBSD probably apply to NetBSD too.

OpenBSD IPv6

Not tested to this date. Most remarks on FreeBSD probably apply to OpenBSD too. OpenBSD’s IPv6 stack is not based exclusively on KAME but also partially on NRL. OpenBSD does not support 6to4.

Apple Mac OS X IPv6

Apple’s Mac OS X Unix operating system uses an IPv6 stack based on the KAME project, however from an unknow release/date. Also discussed are several of Apple’s Airport networking devices.

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Unix IPv6

The IPv6 stacks of the commercial Unixes are mostly own developments of the respective vendors. Integration into the base system varies between vendors and operating system releases. The newer versions mostly include basic IPv6 support in the base operating system.

Hewlett-Packard HP-UX IPv6

Sun Solaris IPv6

IBM AIX IPv6

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Routers

Cisco IOS Router IPv6

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Microsoft Windows IPv6

Microsoft basically has three different IPv6 stacks, each one for Windows 2000, XP/Server 2003 and Vista. Only the latter two are offically production quality and included in the base systems.

Windows 2000 IPv6

The IPv6 stacks for Windows 2000 were distributed for experimental uses/developers. The still remaining documentation remains unclear on the supported features/RFCs.

Windows XP IPv6

Versions: SP3, SP2

Windows Vista IPv6

Versions: SP1, RC1

To do

Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and 2008

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