Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
|--Arthur C. Clarke|
For some reason, IPv6 has taken on a mystique that can only be compared to when fire was brought to primitive cave dwellers. Some fear it. Others embrace it as the answer to all the world's problems. Still others see it as overkill and a waste of time that won't last. Across the board, it gets ranked in with technological achievements like the 1969 Moon landing. IPv6 is a really cool technology with a lot of potential (and a lot of hurdles to cross to achieve wide-scale adoption), but it should be seen for what it is: simply one of the next steps in the evolution of internetworking protocols.
This chapter presents an introduction to the mechanics of IPv6. The focus is on the packet header, its extensions, the implications of the increase in address space size, and a taste of the auto-configuration features. If you already know what IPv6 looks like on the wire, you can probably skip this chapter.
You are strongly encouraged to read the section on auto-configuration, because there can be dragons there and forewarned is forearmed. Auto-configuration comes up several more times in the book, so you should probably have a good handle on it.
Also, if you like analogies based on the huge IPv6 address space, you may want to give that section a read so you can impress people at your next IPv6 cocktail party.
In the TCP/IP networking stack, ...