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Network Working Group Request for Comments: 2373 Obsoletes: 1884 Category: Standards Track IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture Status of this Memo R. Hinden Nokia S. Deering Cisco Systems July 1998 This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the Internet Official Protocol Standards (STD 1) for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Dis
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  Network Working Group R. HindenRequest for Comments: 2373 NokiaObsoletes: 1884 S. DeeringCategory: Standards Track Cisco SystemsJuly 1998IP Version 6 Addressing ArchitectureStatus of this MemoThis document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for theInternet community, and requests discussion and suggestions forimprovements. Please refer to the current edition of the InternetOfficial Protocol Standards (STD 1) for the standardization stateand status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.Copyright NoticeCopyright (C) The Internet Society (1998). All Rights Reserved.AbstractThis specification defines the addressing architecture of the IPVersion 6 protocol [IPV6]. The document includes the IPv6 addressingmodel, text representations of IPv6 addresses, definition of IPv6unicast addresses, anycast addresses, and multicast addresses, and anIPv6 node's required addresses.Table of Contents1. Introduction.................................................22. IPv6 Addressing..............................................22.1 Addressing Model.........................................32.2 Text Representation of Addresses.........................32.3 Text Representation of Address Prefixes..................52.4 Address Type Representation..............................62.5 Unicast Addresses........................................72.5.1 Interface Identifiers................................82.5.2 The Unspecified Address..............................92.5.3 The Loopback Address.................................92.5.4 IPv6 Addresses with Embedded IPv4 Addresses.........102.5.5 NSAP Addresses......................................102.5.6 IPX Addresses.......................................102.5.7 Aggregatable Global Unicast Addresses...............112.5.8 Local-use IPv6 Unicast Addresses....................112.6 Anycast Addresses.......................................122.6.1 Required Anycast Address............................132.7 Multicast Addresses.....................................14Hinden & Deering Standards Track [Page 1]  RFC 2373 IPv6 Addressing Architecture July 19982.7.1 Pre-Defined Multicast Addresses.....................152.7.2 Assignment of New IPv6 Multicast Addresses..........172.8 A Node's Required Addresses.............................173. Security Considerations.....................................18APPENDIX A: Creating EUI-64 based Interface Identifiers........19APPENDIX B: ABNF Description of Text Representations...........22APPENDIX C: CHANGES FROM RFC-1884..............................23REFERENCES.....................................................24AUTHORS' ADDRESSES.............................................25FULL COPYRIGHT STATEMENT.......................................261.0 INTRODUCTIONThis specification defines the addressing architecture of the IPVersion 6 protocol. It includes a detailed description of thecurrently defined address formats for IPv6 [IPV6].The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of PaulFrancis, Scott Bradner, Jim Bound, Brian Carpenter, Matt Crawford,Deborah Estrin, Roger Fajman, Bob Fink, Peter Ford, Bob Gilligan,Dimitry Haskin, Tom Harsch, Christian Huitema, Tony Li, GregMinshall, Thomas Narten, Erik Nordmark, Yakov Rekhter, Bill Simpson,and Sue Thomson.The key words MUST , MUST NOT , REQUIRED , SHALL , SHALL NOT , SHOULD , SHOULD NOT , RECOMMENDED , MAY , and OPTIONAL in thisdocument are to be interpreted as described in [RFC 2119].2.0 IPv6 ADDRESSINGIPv6 addresses are 128-bit identifiers for interfaces and sets ofinterfaces. There are three types of addresses:Unicast: An identifier for a single interface. A packet sent toa unicast address is delivered to the interfaceidentified by that address.Anycast: An identifier for a set of interfaces (typicallybelonging to different nodes). A packet sent to ananycast address is delivered to one of the interfacesidentified by that address (the nearest one, accordingto the routing protocols' measure of distance).Multicast: An identifier for a set of interfaces (typicallybelonging to different nodes). A packet sent to amulticast address is delivered to all interfacesidentified by that address.Hinden & Deering Standards Track [Page 2]  RFC 2373 IPv6 Addressing Architecture July 1998There are no broadcast addresses in IPv6, their function beingsuperseded by multicast addresses.In this document, fields in addresses are given a specific name, forexample subscriber . When this name is used with the term ID foridentifier after the name (e.g., subscriber ID ), it refers to thecontents of the named field. When it is used with the term prefix (e.g. subscriber prefix ) it refers to all of the address up to andincluding this field.In IPv6, all zeros and all ones are legal values for any field,unless specifically excluded. Specifically, prefixes may containzero-valued fields or end in zeros.2.1 Addressing ModelIPv6 addresses of all types are assigned to interfaces, not nodes.An IPv6 unicast address refers to a single interface. Since eachinterface belongs to a single node, any of that node's interfaces'unicast addresses may be used as an identifier for the node.All interfaces are required to have at least one link-local unicastaddress (see section 2.8 for additional required addresses). Asingle interface may also be assigned multiple IPv6 addresses of anytype (unicast, anycast, and multicast) or scope. Unicast addresseswith scope greater than link-scope are not needed for interfaces thatare not used as the srcin or destination of any IPv6 packets to orfrom non-neighbors. This is sometimes convenient for point-to-pointinterfaces. There is one exception to this addressing model:An unicast address or a set of unicast addresses may be assigned tomultiple physical interfaces if the implementation treats themultiple physical interfaces as one interface when presenting it tothe internet layer. This is useful for load-sharing over multiplephysical interfaces.Currently IPv6 continues the IPv4 model that a subnet prefix isassociated with one link. Multiple subnet prefixes may be assignedto the same link.2.2 Text Representation of AddressesThere are three conventional forms for representing IPv6 addresses astext strings:1. The preferred form is x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x, where the 'x's are thehexadecimal values of the eight 16-bit pieces of the address.Examples:Hinden & Deering Standards Track [Page 3]  RFC 2373 IPv6 Addressing Architecture July 1998FEDC:BA98:7654:3210:FEDC:BA98:7654:32101080:0:0:0:8:800:200C:417ANote that it is not necessary to write the leading zeros in anindividual field, but there must be at least one numeral in everyfield (except for the case described in 2.).2. Due to some methods of allocating certain styles of IPv6addresses, it will be common for addresses to contain long stringsof zero bits. In order to make writing addresses containing zerobits easier a special syntax is available to compress the zeros.The use of :: indicates multiple groups of 16-bits of zeros.The :: can only appear once in an address. The :: can also beused to compress the leading and/or trailing zeros in an address.For example the following addresses:1080:0:0:0:8:800:200C:417A a unicast addressFF01:0:0:0:0:0:0:101 a multicast address0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 the loopback address0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0 the unspecified addressesmay be represented as:1080::8:800:200C:417A a unicast addressFF01::101 a multicast address::1 the loopback address:: the unspecified addresses3. An alternative form that is sometimes more convenient when dealingwith a mixed environment of IPv4 and IPv6 nodes isx:x:x:x:x:x:d.d.d.d, where the 'x's are the hexadecimal values ofthe six high-order 16-bit pieces of the address, and the 'd's arethe decimal values of the four low-order 8-bit pieces of theaddress (standard IPv4 representation). Examples:0:0:0:0:0:0:13.1.68.30:0:0:0:0:FFFF:129.144.52.38or in compressed form:::13.1.68.3::FFFF:129.144.52.38Hinden & Deering Standards Track [Page 4]
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