Don’t have IPv6 connectivity to your home or office network? Have you asked your ISP about getting IPv6 and they can’t give you a timeframe?
Don’t despair! One way you can get IPv6 connectivity for your home office is to set up an “IPv6 tunnel” from your network out over your IPv4 Internet connection to an “IPv6 Tunnel Broker” service that will then connect you out to the rest of the IPv6-enabled Internet.
An IPv6 tunnel can work quite well and was in fact what I used for most of two years until my local ISP just recently provided native IPv6 connectivity. The good news, too, is that there are IPv6 tunnel broker services that are available to you for free, operated by companies and organizations that want to expand the use of IPv6.
Two of the most well-known tunnel broker services are:
The general process for both of them is:
- Sign up and register on their website.
- Login to their website.
- Create/request a tunnel.
- Configure your local network to connect to the tunnel.
- Start using IPv6!
Now, step #4 may or may not be a bit involved. Some wireless home routers have a configuration tab somewhere for IPv6 where all you need to do is enter the tunnel information provided by the tunnel broker and away you go! At one point I used an Apple TimeCapsule and was impressed at how easy it was to configure an IPv6 tunnel. There are also some home server/gateway software distributions that also make setting up an IPv6 tunnel easy to do.
To help with this, the SixXS team provides a software client called “AiCCU” and documents the process in “10 easy mini steps to IPv6“. IPv6 advocate Olle Johansson wrote up his experience setting up an IPv6 tunnel through SixXS for his training center.
For Tunnelbroker.net, Hurricane Electric provides configuration information for different operating systems once you login and create a tunnel. They also have tunnelbroker user forums with a wealth of information and tutorials about how to connect from various kinds of systems.
Once you have your IPv6 tunnel connected, you should be able to go to a site like test-ipv6.com and see that you do indeed have IPv6 connectivity! What’s fun then is to install the IPvfoo/IPvfox extension/add-on to either Chrome or Firefox and then as you browse around the web you’ll be able to see what sites you are getting to over your nice new IPv6 connection.
If you’d like more technical information about how IPv6 tunneling services work, you may want to read RFC 7059 that compares different types of IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnel mechanisms.
The cool part of all of this is that you can get IPv6 connectivity while you are waiting for your ISP to join the movement to bring about IPv6 everywhere!
P.S. If any of you want to also write up tutorials of the steps you went through to set up an IPv6 tunnel on your particular hardware or operating system, we’d love to have some more step-by-step tutorials to reference. Please just leave a comment to this post with a link to wherever you post your article. (Or if you don’t have a site to post an article on, drop us a note and we may be able to help you out.)