For years, Cisco® IOS® Software has expanded support of IP Version 6 (IPv6) to the majority of its technology areas and hardware platforms. Since 2001, IPv6 support has been offered in Advanced IP Services and Enterprise Services and above features packages.
A select number of enterprise service providers initially adopted IPv6, creating a relatively small number of interconnected IPv6 islands. However, a very tangible feature that is now driving IPv6 adoption is the planned exhaustion of the IPv4 address pool. Regional Internet registries and governments are strongly enjoining the Internet community to adopt IPv6. In order to sustain growth, a majority of the networks must be made IPv6 capable by the time no more IPv4 addresses are available.
As the date for the full exhaustion of the IPv4 address pool nears, a number of Internet players and advisors are urging network administrators to adopt IPv6 as soon as possible. Cisco understands that such a move requires dedication and investment from the Internet community. In order to facilitate a broad and rapid IPv6 adoption, the Cisco IOS Software packaging structure has now been modified to offer package parity between IPv4 and IPv6.
IPv6 feature support for a technology will be packaged in the same feature set as IPv4. For example, IPv6 feature support for Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) will be packaged in IP Services where BGP for IPv4 resides today.
The IP Base Package is the basic package and offers IPv6 addressing and basic connectivity, access control lists, static routes, Routing Information Protocol next generation (RIPng), Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) for IPv6, and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Version 6 (DHCPv6), among others.
Advanced packages include the following features on top of the IP Base Package, depending on the platform and market specificities: full IP routing, including Multiprotocol BGP (MP-BGP), multicast, tunneling, and so on.
This new Cisco IOS Software packaging for IPv6 is already available on the following Cisco IOS Software Releases:
• Catalyst® 3700 and 3560 Series images starting with Release 12.2(50)SE
• Catalyst 4500 Series images starting with Release 12.2(52)SG
• Catalyst 6500 Series images starting with Release 12.2(33)SXI
Cisco will expand the package parity effort to more releases and platforms in the near future.
The implementation of the IPv6 repackaging helps Cisco product users to buy only the software packages they need. Customers whose needs are met with the entry packages do not need to purchase more advanced feature sets to obtain IPv6 support.