What is the state with IPv6 in the most common desktop operating systems (apart from smart phones)? In short: very good! IPv6 has been part of the O/S stack implementations since many years, and they keep on improving as experience of running IPv6 in production grows. The desktop will not give you a problem with integrating IPv6 in your network, even if it’s only for labs while learning on an IPv6 Friday!
Microsoft Windows 7 will not work as expected if you disable IPv6!
Microsoft was early on the IPv6 train and have implemented IPv6 since many years. Windows 7 has a solid IPv6 foundation and it’s easy to enable and work with IPv6 in Windows. Microsoft has been working with the IETF from the early days of IPv6 and is very active in promoting IPv6. The support is there by default and, well, just works. In Windows 7, Microsoft has decided to use the randomized addresses by default (unless there’s DHCPv6 configured in the network), something that I fully agree with. Microsoft has also had a bit of fun using the benefits of a global IPv6 address space when creating the DirectAccess service. In fact, if you disable IPv6 the Windows system will not work as expected!
“It is unfortunate that some organizations disable IPv6 on their computers running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, where it is installed and enabled by default. Many disable IPv6-based on the assumption that they are not running any applications or services that use it. Others might disable it because of a misperception that having both IPv4 and IPv6 enabled effectively doubles their DNS and Web traffic. This is not true.From Microsoft’s perspective, IPv6 is a mandatory part of the Windows operating system and it is enabled and included in standard Windows service and application testing during the operating system development process. Because Windows was designed specifically with IPv6 present, Microsoft does not perform any testing to determine the effects of disabling IPv6. If IPv6 is disabled on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, or later versions, some components will not function. Moreover, applications that you might not think are using IPv6—such as Remote Assistance, HomeGroup, DirectAccess, and Windows Mail—could be.” (The Cable Guy, Microsoft Technet, link below)
Linux: IPv6 part of the core for many years
- The Linux IPv6 howto: A very good how to, regardless if you use LInux or not it will give you a lot of knowledge for your time!
- IPv6 in Linux Crash Course (Carla Schroder , Linux.com, April 2011)
- Another IPv6 Crash Course For Linux: Real IPv6 Addresses, Routing, Name Services (Carla Schroder, Linux.com, April 2011)
Apple Mac OS/X Lion: More improvements in IPv6 support
- IPv6int.net OS/X IPv6 (needs a Lion update)
- Apple: IPv6 Troubleshooting, What is IPv6?
- Google: “OS/X Lion IPv6”
General overviews of IPv6 support in Operating Systems:
- Wikipedia: Comparision of IPv6 support in Operating Systems
- ZDnet: Who has, and who doesn’t have, IPv6 Support (Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, April 2011)