Published: August 2002

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IPv6/IPv4 Coexistence and Migration

Microsoft Corporation

Published: August 2002


The migration of IPv4 to IPv6 will not happen overnight. Rather, there will be a period of transition when both protocols are in use over the same infrastructure. To address this, the designers of IPv6 have created technologies and types of addresses so that nodes can communicate with each other in a mixed environment, even if they are separated by an IPv4 infrastructure. This article describes IPv4 and IPv6 coexistence and migration technologies and how these technologies are supported by the IPv6 protocol for the Windows Server 2003 family. This article is intended for network engineers and support professionals who are already familiar with basic networking concepts, TCP/IP, and IPv6.

This is a preliminary document and may be changed substantially prior to final commercial release of the software described herein. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation.

Microsoft may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property.

© 2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


Contents iv

Introduction 1

Node Types 1

Compatibility Addresses 2

Coexistence Mechanisms 4

Dual IP Layer 4

IPv6 over IPv4 Tunneling 5

DNS Infrastructure 6

Address Records 6

Pointer Records 6

Address Selection Rules 6

Tunneling Configurations 7

Router-to-Router 7

Host-to-Router and Router-to-Host 8

Host-to-Host 8

Types of Tunnels 9

Configured Tunnels 9

Automatic Tunnels 9

6to4 11

Table 1 Example 6to4 Addresses 13

6to4 Support in the Windows Server 2003 Family 13


Table 2 Example Link-Local ISATAP Addresses 17

Using an ISATAP Router 17

Resolving the ISATAP Name 18

Resolving the _ISATAP Name for Windows XP 19

Using the netsh interface ipv6 isatap set router Command 20

Setting up an ISATAP Router 20

ISATAP and 6to4 Example 20

Table 3 Addresses in the Router Solicitation Message 22

Table 4 Addresses in the Router Advertisement Message 23

Part 1: From ISATAP Host A to 6to4 Router A 23

Table 5 Addresses in Part 1 23

Part 2: From 6to4 Router A to 6to4 Router B 23

Table 6 Addresses in Part 2 24

Part 3: From 6to4 Router B to ISATAP Host B 24

Table 7 Addresses in Part 3 24

PortProxy 25

Migrating to IPv6 27

Appendix A: IPv6 Automatic Tunneling 28

Table 8 Example IPv6 Automatic Tunneling Addresses 28

Appendix B: 6over4 29

Table 9 Example 6over4 Addresses 30

Summary 32

Related Links 33


Protocol transitions are not easy and the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is no exception. Protocol transitions are typically deployed by installing and configuring the new protocol on all nodes within the network and verifying that all node and router operations work successfully. Although this might be possible in a small or medium sized organization, the challenge of making a rapid protocol transition in a large organization is very difficult. Additionally, given the scope of the Internet, rapid protocol transition becomes an impossible task.

The designers of IPv6 recognize that the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will take years and that there might be organizations or hosts within organizations that will continue to use IPv4 indefinitely. Therefore, while migration is the long-term goal, equal consideration must be given to the interim coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 nodes.

The designers of IPv6 in the original “The Recommendation for the IP Next Generation Protocol” specification (RFC 1752) defined the following transition criteria:

  • Existing IPv4 hosts can be upgraded at any time, independent of the upgrade of other hosts or routers.

  • New hosts, using only IPv6, can be added at any time, without dependencies on other hosts or routing infrastructure.

  • Existing IPv4 hosts, with IPv6 installed, can continue to use their IPv4 addresses and do not need additional addresses.

  • Little preparation is required to either upgrade existing IPv4 nodes to IPv6 or deploy new IPv6 nodes.

The inherent lack of dependencies between IPv4 and IPv6 hosts, IPv4 routing infrastructure, and IPv6 routing infrastructure requires a number of mechanisms that allow seamless coexistence.


Except where noted, the support for coexistence and migration is the same for the IPv6 protocol for the Windows Server 2003 family and the IPv6 protocol for Windows XP or Windows XP with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

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