Lead Image © Photo by mathyas kurmann Unsplash.com

Lead Image © Photo by mathyas kurmann Unsplash.com

Setting up and managing IPv6 on Windows Server 2016

Change of Address

Article from ADMIN 45/2018
Windows Server 2016 automatically prefers IPv6 addresses, if available, but the manual configuration steps differ from IPv4 and necessitate new tools. Here's how to approach IPv6 in your daily admin work.

One common reason why IT managers shy away from IPv6 is the hexadecimal notation with colons that divide the address into eight blocks, each with a length of 16 bits. For example, an IPv6 address looks like this: 001:0db7:85b3:07d3:1319:8a2d:437a:63d4 . These addresses are difficult to memorize and assign manually. Consequently, automatic assignment is the way to go in IPv6 infrastructures.

All IPv6 nodes automatically configure a local address with the fe80::/64 prefix for each physical or logical IPv6 interface. These addresses can only be used for communication with neighboring nodes. They are not registered in the DNS, and if data needs to be sent to such an address, a zone ID is also required. In the case of manual configuration or allocation of an IPv6 address by a DHCP server, the corresponding entries are, of course, made automatically.

IPv6 Preferred

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 uses the Next Generation TCP/IP Stack, a TCP/IP protocol stack that integrates both IPv4 and IPv6. For example, if a DNS query returns IPv6 and IPv4 address, the stack will first attempt to communicate over IPv6. The preference of IPv6 over IPv4 offers IPv6-enabled applications better network connectivity.

Enabling IPv6 and its preference by default has no negative effect on IPv4 connectivity. In networks in which no IPv6 DNS entries are available, IPv6 addresses are not used for communication. Windows Server 2016 always tries to communicate with IPv6; if no IPv6 addresses are available, the server will use IPv4.

In a network with Windows Server 2016, IPv6 offers several advantages:

  • Larger address space. The IPv6 128-bit address space provides enough space for each device to have its own globally valid address.
  • More efficient routing. The revised IPv6 header and the new addressing scheme, which supports a hierarchical routing infrastructure, allow IPv6
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