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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
© Rakhesh Sasidharan

Elsewhere

IPv6 at home!

Whee! I enabled IPv6 at home today. :)

It’s pretty straight-forward so not really an accomplishment on my part actually. I didn’t really have to do anything except flip a switch, but I am glad I thought of doing it and actually did it, and pretty happy to see that it works. Nice!

Turns out Etislalat started rolling out IPv6 to home users in Dubai back in November 2016. I obviously didn’t know of it. Nice work Etisalat!

Also, my Asus router supports IPv6. Windows and iOS etc. supports IPv6 too, so all the pieces are really in place.

All I had to do on the Asus router was go to the IPv6 section, set Connection Type as “Native”, Interface as “PPP”, enable “DHCP-PD” and enable “Release prefix on exit”. DHCP-PD stands for “DHCP Prefix Delegation”. In IPv4 the ISP gives your home router a single public IP and everything behind the home router is NAT’d into that single pubic IP by the router. In IPv6 you are not limited to a single public IP. IPv6 has tons of addresses after all, so every device can have a pubic IP. Thus the ISP gives you not a single IPv6 address, but a /64 publicly accessible prefix itself and all your home devices can take addresses from that pool. Thus “DHCP-PD” means your router asks the ISP to give it a prefix, and “Release prefix on exit” means the router gives that prefix back to the ISP when disconnecting or whatever.

I also decided to use the Google DNS IPv6 servers.

Here’s a list of IPv6 only websites if you want to visit and feel good. :p

Check out this website to test IPv6. It also has a dual stack version that checks if your browser prefers IPv4 over IPv6 even though it may have IPv6 connectivity. Initially I was using this test site. The test succeeded there but I got the following error: “Your browser has real working IPv6 address – but is avoiding using it. We’re concerned about this.”. Turns out Chrome and Firefox start an internal counter when a site has an IPv6 and IPv4 address and if the IPv4 address responds faster then they prefer the IPv4 version. Crazy huh! In Firefox I found these two options in about:config and that seemed to fix this – network.http.fast-fallback-to-IPv4 (set this to false) and network.notify.IPv6 (set to true – I am not sure this setting matters for my scenario but I changed it anyways).

Here’s Comcast’s version of SpeedTest over IPv6.

Back to my router settings. I decided to go with “Stateful” auto configuration for the IPv6 LAN and set an appropriate range. With IPv6 you can have the router dole out IPv6 addresses to clients (in the prefix it has) or you have have clients auto configure their IPv6 address by asking the router for the prefix information but creating their own address based on that. The former is “Stateful”, the latter is “Stateless”. I decided to go with “Stateful” (though I did play around with “Stateless” too). Also, leave the “Router Advertisements” section Enabled.

That’s pretty much it.

In my case I ended up wasting about an hour after this as I noticed that my Windows 10 laptop would work on IPv6 for a while and then stop working. It wasn’t able to ping the router either. After a lot of trial and error and fooling around I realized that it’s because a long time ago I had disabled a lot of firewall rules on my Windows 10 laptop and in the process dis-allowed my IPv6 rules that were enabled by default. Silly of me! I changed all those to their default state and now the laptop works fine without an issue.

Before moving on – double check that the IPv6 firewall on your router is enabled. Now that every machine in your LAN (that has an IPv6 address) is publicly accessible one has to be careful.

IPv6 at home! by rakhesh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.