The Home Router and IPv6

As someone who’s trying to implement IPv6 for an ISP, I’ve found that the biggest piece lacking out there is the home router. Going forward with IPv6, it’s even less desirable to not have a hardware firewall, as it’s now not just a firewall, but an actual router. Previously, with IPv4, a home “router” actually only did NAT, not routing. With IPv6, we’re now routing all public addresses around the home, and finding one that does this somewhat intelligently is a challenge. The other piece of the puzzle you’ll need is a router that will do DHCPv6. Most ISP’s will continue to use DHCP to hand out IP addresses (v4 or v6), utilizing it’s ability to hand out prefixes (PD – Prefix Delegation) to give customers a subnet of some size (/48 and /56 seem to be the most talked about sizes) to use in their networks. The thinking is that at some point in the (hopefully) not so distant future, you’ll be able to subnet off computers, appliances, mobile devices, and whatever else we put on the interwebs into discreet subnets.

So far, there are only 2 commercial routers that you can buy today that seem to work for a user looking to have IPv6 on an ISP using DHCPv6: The Apple Airport Extreme, and the D-Link DIR-615.
I’ve also heard of a router made in Australia, but haven’t seen it for sale here in North America.

The only other option is to try installing a third party software onto your router (ala tomato or dd-wrt) This should only be taken by those who don’t mind breaking things for fun, as the worst case scenario is wrecking the router you put it on.

The good news is that there are more of these routers coming, so if you can put it off, wait a while before buying an router so you can be sure IPv6 is available. If not, maybe spend some time either ensuring it has IPv6 support now, or that you can use one of the third party software versions on the one you buy.

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