DSM is completely based on the dual-stack transition mechanism. A device or network on which two protocol stacks have been enabled at the same time operates in dual-stack mode. Examples of previous uses of dual-stack include IPv4 and IPX, or IPv4 and Apple Talk co-existing on the same device.
Dual-stack is the preferred, most versatile way to deploy IPv6 in existing IPv4 environments. IPv6 can be enabled wherever IPv4 is enabled along with the associated features required to make IPv6 routable, highly available, and secure. In some cases, IPv6 is not enabled on a specific interface or device because of the presence of legacy applications or hosts for which IPv6 is not supported. Inversely, IPv6 may be enabled on interfaces and devices for which IPv4 support is no longer needed.
The tested components area of each section of this paper gives a brief view of the common requirements for the DSM to be successfully implemented. The most important consideration is to ensure that there is hardware support of IPv6 in campus network components such as switches. Within the campus network, link speeds and capacity often depend on such issues as the number of users, types of applications, and latency expectations. Because of the typically high data rate requirements in this environment, Cisco does not recommend enabling IPv6 unicast or multicast layer switching on software forwarding-only platforms. Enabling IPv6 on software forwarding-only campus switching platforms may be suitable in a test environment or small pilot network, but certainly not in a production campus network.