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TCP/IP IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Protocol (ND)
The new Internet
Protocol version 6 (IPv6) represents an
evolution of the venerable Internet Protocol. It maintains the same
basic operational principles of IPv4, but makes some important modifications,
particularly in the area of addressing. In fact, some of the more significant
changes in IPv6 are actually not in the IP protocol itself, but in the
protocols that support IP. One of the most interesting of these was
the creation of an entirely new support protocol for IPv6. It combines
several tasks previously performed by other protocols in IPv4, adds
some new functions, and makes numerous improvements to the whole package.
This new standard is called the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery (ND)
In this section I describe the new
Neighbor Discovery protocol used in IPv6. I begin with an overview of
the protocol, discussing its history, the motivation for its creation
and the standards that define it. I then describe its operation in general
terms, listing the fundamental functions that ND performs, the three
groups these functions fit into, and the ICMPv6 message types used to
carry them out. I describe the key differences between ND and the way
that its functions were carried out in IPv4. I then provide more information
on the three functional groups in ND: those that involve discovery of
important internetwork information from routers, those that are related
to address resolution and neighbor communication between hosts, and
finally, router redirection.
Background Information: This section assumes basic comprehension of IP version 6, which in turn requires understanding IPv4. ND uses ICMP version 6 (ICMPv6) messages, so reference is made to the ICMP section. Finally, since ICMP performs some functions done by the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) in IPv4, you may need to refer to the ARP discussion if unfamiliar with its operation.
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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