July 28, 2011

Technical Review of IPv6 on the Catalyst 6500 Supervisor 2T

The purpose of this document is to provide an in-depth overview of deployment considerations for IPv6 using the Catalyst 6500 platform. The new Supervisor 2T provides capabilities that support next-generation IPv6 networks, and this document will cover some of those capabilities. It is not the intent of this document to provide an IPv6 tutorial or a thorough exploration of IPv6 protocols.

As companies grow in the future, their network needs will also grow. Tomorrow's networks will grow in the IPv6 space. Today's IPv4 networks will have limited future growth. Some companies are already running out of IPv4 address space and are reallocating their existing pool. Internationally outside the US, IPv4 addresses are in even shorter supply. The Catalyst 6500 Supervisor 2T is designed for IPv6 networking. Enhancements for IPv6 were added to Supervisor 2T that are not available on previous generation hardware. There are several drivers in addition to the lack of new IPv4 address space. One of the reasons is to be compliant with US Government certifications in the public sector. Others reasons for IPv6 are to use new IPv6 only applications. IPv6 pilot deployments are not disruptive to existing IPv4 networks. There are many new transition technologies that are available on the Supervisor 2T to make an IPv6 dual stack topology or migration work.

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This is a perfect companion to the Cisco Cloud Security Accelerates Cloud Adoption paper published earlier this month.

Just as noted with that paper, "And don't be fooled by the fact that this focuses on Cisco. The first half of the paper is generic and does a great job of addressing various points that must be addressed. And even though the second half of the paper addresses Cisco's solutions, it provides a great benchmark regardless of your exact choice of provider."

Again, very highly recommended.

Note that there's no IPv6 PBR support, and it does not mention support for:
- prefix-delegation with route insertion
- a broad ND DoS attack mitigation approach
- obtaining BGP neighbor information on IPv6 BGP sessions via SNMP


IPV6 PBR is not supported in the current release but will be supported in the upcoming releases. One of the key advantage of PBR with Supervisor 2T is that the matching criteria have been extended to packet length and flow-label. The targeted release is 15.2(SY)

IPv6 DHCP prefix delegation is currently supported on Supervisor 2T, this features allow a PE to delegate a set of addresses to a CE and is mostly used in a service provider environment. The route insertion is also supported and this process is performed automatically by the relay agent example below:

SUP2T-1#show ipv6 dhcp pool POOL-1
DHCPv6 pool: POOL-1
Static bindings:
Binding for client 0005000400F1A4D070D003
IA PD: IA ID not specified
Prefix: 2001:200::/64
preferred lifetime 604800, valid lifetime 2592000
Prefix pool: POOL-1
preferred lifetime 1800, valid lifetime 3600
DNS server: 2001:100:1::A
Domain name: cisco.com
Active clients: 0

For the ND DoS attack mitigation, we already provide a few features, a better mechanism for ND mitigation will be introduce in the upcoming 15.1(SY) release (due this October).

MP-BGP OID for IPv6 is currently under development, it is too early to communicate a firm release at this time.

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