Why I can't see IPv6 as a smooth or fast transition

September 30, 2015

Today I got native IPv6 up at home. My home ISP had previously been doing tunneled IPv6 (over IPv4), except that I'd turned my tunnel off back in June for some reason (I think something broke and I just shrugged and punted). I enjoyed the feeling of doing IPv6 right for a few hours, and then, well:

@thatcks: The glorious IPv6 future: with IPv6 up, Google searches sometimes just cut off below the initial banner and search box.
For bonus points, the searches aren't even going over IPv6. Tcpdump says Google appears to RSET my HTTPS TCPv4 connections sometimes.

(Further staring at packet traces makes me less certain of what's going on, although there are definitely surprise RSET packets in there. Also, when I said 'IPv6 up', I was being imprecise; what makes a difference is only whether or not I have an active IPv6 default route so that my IPv6 traffic can get anywhere. Add the default route (out my PPPoE DSL link) and the problems start to happen; delete it and everything is happy.)

Every so often someone says that the networking world should get cracking on the relatively simple job of adopting and adding IPv6 everywhere. Setting aside anything else involved, what happened to me today is why I laugh flatly at anyone who thinks this. IPv6 is simple only if everything works right, but we have plenty of existence proofs that it does not. Enabling IPv6 in a networking environment is a great way to have all sorts of odd problems come crawling out of the woodwork, some of which don't seem like they have anything to do with IPv6 at all.

It would be nice if these problems and stumbling points didn't happen, and certainly in the nice shiny IPv6 story they're not supposed to. But they do, and combined with the fact that IPv6 is often merely nice, not beneficial, I think many networks won't be moving very fast on IPv6. This makes a part of me sad, but it's the same part of me that thinks that problems like mine just shouldn't happen.

(I don't think I'm uniquely gifted in stumbling over IPv6 related problems, although I certainly do seem to have bad luck with it.)

Written on 30 September 2015.
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Last modified: Wed Sep 30 03:09:58 2015
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