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Versions: 00 01 02 03 draft-ietf-6man-text-addr-representation

Internet Engineering Task Force                              S. Kawamura
Internet-Draft                                         NEC BIGLOBE, Ltd.
Intended status: Informational                              M. Kawashima
Expires: December 14, 2009                      NEC AccessTechnica, Ltd.
                                                           June 12, 2009


         A Recommendation for IPv6 Address Text Representation
               draft-kawamura-ipv6-text-representation-03

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted to IETF in full conformance with the
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on December 14, 2009.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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Abstract

   As IPv6 network grows, there will be more engineers and also non-
   engineers who will have the need to use an IPv6 address in text.



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   While the IPv6 address architecture RFC 4291 section 2.2 depicts a
   flexible model for text representation of an IPv6 address, this
   flexibility has been causing problems for operators, system
   engineers, and customers.  This document will describe the problems
   that a flexible text representation has been causing.  This document
   also recommends a canonical representation format that best avoids
   confusion.  It is expected that the canonical format is followed by
   humans and systems when generating an address to represent as text,
   but all implementations must accept any legitimate RFC4291 format.










































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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     1.1.  Requirements Language  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   2.  Text Representation Flexibility of RFC4291 . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.1.  Leading Zeros in a 16 Bit Field  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.2.  Zero Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     2.3.  Uppercase or Lowercase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   3.  Problems Encountered with the Flexible Model . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.1.  Searching  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.1.  General Summary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.2.  Searching Spreadsheets and Text Files  . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.3.  Searching with Whois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.4.  Searching for an Address in a Network Diagram  . . . .  7
     3.2.  Parsing and Modifying  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       3.2.1.  General Summary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       3.2.2.  Logging  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       3.2.3.  Auditing. Case 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       3.2.4.  Auditing. Case 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       3.2.5.  Unexpected Modifying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
     3.3.  Operating  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       3.3.1.  General Summary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       3.3.2.  Customer Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       3.3.3.  Abuse  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
     3.4.  Other Minor Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       3.4.1.  Changing Platforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       3.4.2.  Preference in Documentation  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       3.4.3.  Legibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   4.  A Recommendation for IPv6 Text Representation  . . . . . . . .  9
     4.1.  Handling Leading Zeros in a 16 Bit Field . . . . . . . . . 10
     4.2.  "::" Usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.2.1.  shorten as much as possible  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.2.2.  One 16 bit 0 Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.2.3.  When "::" Can Be Used Twice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     4.3.  Lower Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   5.  Text Representation of Special Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   6.  Notes on Combining IPv6 Addresses with Port Numbers  . . . . . 11
   7.  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   8.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   9.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   10. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   11. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
     11.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
     11.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   Appendix A.  For Developers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   Appendix B.  Prefix Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13




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1.  Introduction

   A single IPv6 address can be text represented in many ways.  Examples
   are shown below.

      2001:db8:0:0:1:0:0:1

      2001:0db8:0:0:1:0:0:1

      2001:db8::1:0:0:1

      2001:db8::0:1:0:0:1

      2001:0db8::1:0:0:1

      2001:db8:0:0:1::1

      2001:db8:0000:0:1::1

      2001:DB8:0:0:1::1

   All the above point to the same IPv6 address.  This flexibility has
   caused many problems for operators, systems engineers, and customers.
   The problems will be noted in Section 3.  Also, a canonical
   representation format to avoid problems will be introduced in
   Section 4.

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].


2.  Text Representation Flexibility of RFC4291

   Examples of flexibility in Section 2.2 of [RFC4291] are described
   below.

2.1.  Leading Zeros in a 16 Bit Field

      'It is not necessary to write the leading zeros in an individual
      field.'

   In other words, it is also not necessary to omit leading zeros.  This
   means that, it is possible to select from such as the following
   example.  The final 16 bit field is different, but all these
   addresses mean the same.



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      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:0001

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:001

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:01

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:1

2.2.  Zero Compression

      'A special syntax is available to compress the zeros.  The use of
      "::" indicates one or more groups of 16 bits of zeros.'

   It is possible to select whether or not to omit just one 16 bits of
   zeros.

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd::1

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:0:1

   In case where there are more than one zero fields, there is a choice
   of how many fields can be shortened.  Examples follow.

      2001:db8:0:0:0::1

      2001:db8:0:0::1

      2001:db8:0::1

      2001:db8::1

   In addition, [RFC4291] in section 2.2 notes,

      'The "::" can only appear once in an address.'

   This gives a choice on where, in a single address to compress the
   zero.  Examples are shown below.

      2001:db8::aaaa:0:0:1

      2001:db8:0:0:aaaa::1

2.3.  Uppercase or Lowercase

   [RFC4291] does not mention about preference of uppercase or
   lowercase.  Various flavors are shown below.





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      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:aaaa

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:AAAA

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:AaAa

      ... more combinations


3.  Problems Encountered with the Flexible Model

3.1.  Searching

3.1.1.  General Summary

   A search of an IPv6 address if conducted through a UNIX system is
   usually case sensitive and extended options to allow for regular
   expression use will come in handy.  However, there are many
   applications in the internet today that do not provide this
   capability.  When searching for an IPv6 address in such systems, the
   system engineer will have to try each and every possibility to search
   for an address.  This has critical impacts especially when trying to
   deploy IPv6 over an enterprise network.

3.1.2.  Searching Spreadsheets and Text Files

   Spreadsheet applications and text editors on GUI systems, rarely have
   the ability to search for a text using regular expression.  Moreover,
   there are many non-engineers (who are not aware of case sensitivity
   and regular expression use) that use these application to manage IP
   addresses.  This has worked quite well with IPv4 since text
   representation in IPv4 has very little flexibility.  There is no
   incentive to encourage these non-engineers to change their tool or
   learn regular expression when they decide to go dual-stack.  If the
   entry in the spreadsheet reads, 2001:db8::1:0:0:1, but the search was
   conducted as 2001:db8:0:0:1::1, this will show a result of no match.
   One example where this will cause problem is, when the search is
   being conducted to assign a new address from a pool, and a check was
   being done to see if it was not in use.  This may cause problems to
   the end-hosts or end-users.  This type of address management is very
   often seen in enterprise network s and also in ISPs.

3.1.3.  Searching with Whois

   The whois utility is used by a wide range of people today.  When a
   record is set to the whois database, one will likely check the output
   to see if the entry is correct.  If a entity was recorded as 2001:
   db8::/48, but the whois output showed 2001:0db8:0000::/48, most non-



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   engineers would think that their input was wrong, and will likely
   retry several times or make a frustrated call to the database
   hostmaster.  If there was a need to register the same address on
   different systems, and each system showed a different text
   representation, this would confuse people even more.  Although this
   document focuses on addresses rather than prefixes, this is worth
   mentioning since problems encountered are mostly equal.

3.1.4.  Searching for an Address in a Network Diagram

   Network diagrams and blue-prints contain IP addresses of systems.  In
   times of trouble shooting, there may be a need to search through a
   diagram to find the point of failure (for example, if a traceroute
   stopped at 2001:db8::1, one would search the diagram for that
   address).  This is a technique quite often in use in enterprise
   networks and managed services.  Again, the different flavors of text
   representation will result in a time-consuming search, leading to
   longer MTTR in times of trouble.

3.2.  Parsing and Modifying

3.2.1.  General Summary

   With all the possible text representation ways, each application must
   include a module, object, link, etc. to a function that will parse
   IPv6 addresses in a manner that no matter how it is represented, they
   will mean the same address.  This is not too much a problem if the
   output is to be just 'read' or 'managed' by a network engineer.
   However, many system engineers who integrate complex computer systems
   to corporate customers will have difficulties finding that their
   favorite tool will not have this function, or will encounter
   difficulties such as having to rewrite their macro's or scripts for
   their customers.  It must be noted that each additional line of a
   program will result in increased development fees that will be
   charged to the customers.

3.2.2.  Logging

   If an application were to output a log summary that represented the
   address in full (such as 2001:0db8:0000:0000:1111:2222:3333:4444),
   the output would be highly unreadable compared to the IPv4 output.
   The address would have to be parsed and reformed to make it useful
   for human reading.  This will result in additional code on the
   applications which will result in extra fees charged to the
   customers.  Sometimes, logging for critical systems is done by
   mirroring the same traffic to two different systems.  Care must be
   taken that no matter what the log output is, the logs should be
   parsed so they will mean the same.



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3.2.3.  Auditing. Case 1

   When a router or any other network appliance machine configuration is
   audited, there are many methods to compare the configuration
   information of a node.  Sometimes, auditing will be done by just
   comparing the changes made each day.  In this case, if configuration
   was done such that 2001:db8::1 was changed to 2001:0db8:0000:0000:
   0000:0000:0000:0001 just because the new engineer on the block felt
   it was better, a simple diff will tell you that a different address
   was configured.  If this was done on a wide scale network, people
   will be focusing on 'why the extra zeros were put in' instead of
   doing any real auditing.  Lots of tools are just plain 'diff's that
   do not take into account address representation rules.

3.2.4.  Auditing. Case 2

   Node configurations will be matched against a information system that
   manages IP addresses.  If output notation is different, there will
   need to be a script that is implemented to cover for this.  An SNMP
   GET of an interface address and text representation in a humanly
   written text file is highly unlikely to match on first try.

3.2.5.  Unexpected Modifying

   Sometimes, a system will take an address and modify it as a
   convenience.  For example, a system may take an input of
   2001:0db8:0::1 and make the output 2001:db8::1 (which is seen in some
   RIR databases).  If the zeros were input for a reason, the outcome
   may be somewhat unexpected.

3.3.  Operating

3.3.1.  General Summary

   When an operator sets an IPv6 address of a system as 2001:db8:0:0:1:
   0:0:1, the system may take the address and show the configuration
   result as 2001:DB8::1:0:0:1.  A distinguished engineer will know that
   the right address is set, but an operator, or a customer that is
   communicating with the operator to solve a problem, is usually not as
   distinguished as we would like.  Again, the extra load in checking
   that the IP address is the same as was intended, will result in fees
   that will be charged to the customers.

3.3.2.  Customer Calls

   When a customer calls to inquire about a suspected outage, IPv6
   address representation should be handled with care.  Not all
   customers are engineers nor have the same skill in IPv6 technology.



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   The NOC will have to take extra steps to humanly parse the address to
   avoid having to explain to the customers that 2001:db8:0:1::1 is the
   same as 2001:db8::1:0:0:0:1.  This is one thing that will never
   happen in IPv4 because IPv4 address cannot be abbreviated.

3.3.3.  Abuse

   Network abuse is reported along with the abusing IP address.  This
   'reporting' could take any shape or form of the flexible model.  A
   team that handles network abuse must be able to tell the difference
   between a 2001:db8::1:0:1 and 2001:db8:1::0:1.  Mistakes in the
   placement of the "::" will result in a critical situation.  A system
   that handles these incidents should be able to handle any type of
   input and parse it in a correct manner.  Also, incidents are reported
   over the phone.  It is unnecessary to report if the letter is an
   uppercase or lowercase.  However, when a letter is spelled uppercase,
   people tend to clarify that it is uppercase, which is unnecessary
   information.

3.4.  Other Minor Problems

3.4.1.  Changing Platforms

   When an engineer decides to change the platform of a running service,
   the same code may not work as expected due to the difference in IPv6
   address text representation.  Usually, a change in a platform (e.g.
   Unix to Windows, Cisco to Juniper) will result in a major change of
   code, but flexibility in address representation will increase the
   work load which will again, result in fees that will be charged to
   the customers, and also longer down time of systems.

3.4.2.  Preference in Documentation

   A document that is edited by more than one author, may become harder
   to read.

3.4.3.  Legibility

   Capital case D and 0 can be quite often misread.  Capital B and 8 can
   also be misread.


4.  A Recommendation for IPv6 Text Representation

   A recommendation for a canonical text representation format of IPv6
   addresses is presented in this section.  The recommendation in this
   document is one that, complies fully with [RFC4291], is implemented
   by various operating systems, and is human friendly.  The



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   recommendation in this document SHOULD be followed by humans and
   systems when generating an address to represent as text, but all
   implementations MUST accept any legitimate [RFC4291] format.

4.1.  Handling Leading Zeros in a 16 Bit Field

   Leading zeros should be chopped for human legibility and easier
   searching.  Also, a single 16 bit 0000 field should be represented as
   just 0.  Place holder zeros are often cause of misreading.

4.2.  "::" Usage

4.2.1.  shorten as much as possible

   The use of "::" should be used to its maximum capability (i.e. 2001:
   db8::0:1 is not very clean).

4.2.2.  One 16 bit 0 Field

   "::" should not be used to shorten just one 16 bit 0 field for it
   would tend to mislead that there are more than one 16 bit field that
   is shortened.

4.2.3.  When "::" Can Be Used Twice

   When cases where it is possible to use "::" in two or more different
   sections of an address, implementation to shorten the side with
   longer 16 bit 0 fields are more common (i.e. latter is shortened in
   2001:0:0:1:0:0:0:1).  When the length of 16 bit 0 fields are equal
   (i.e. 2001:db8:0:0:1:0:0:1), the former is usually shortened.  One
   idea to avoid any confusion, is for the operator to not use 16 bit
   field 0 in the first 64 bits.  By nature IPv6 addresses are usually
   assigned or allocated to end-users as longer than 32 bits (typically
   48 bits or longer).

4.3.  Lower Case

   Recent implementations tend to represent IPv6 address as lower case.
   It is better to use lower case to avoid problems such as described in
   section 3.3.3 and 3.4.3.


5.  Text Representation of Special Addresses

   IPv4-Mapped IPv6 addresses, ISATAP [RFC5214], and IPv4-translated
   addresses [RFC2765] have IPv4 addresses embedded in the low-order 32
   bits of the address.  These addresses have special representation
   that may combine hexadecimal and decimal notations.  In cases where



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   there is a choice of whether to express the address as fully
   hexadecimal or hexadecimal and decimal combined, decimal notations
   should be used.  The text representation method noted in Section 4
   should be applied for the leading hexadecimal part (i.e. ::ffff:
   192.0.2.1 instead of 0:0:0:0:0:ffff:192.0.2.1).


6.  Notes on Combining IPv6 Addresses with Port Numbers

   When IPv6 addresses and port numbers are represented in text combined
   together, there seems to be many different ways to do so.  Examples
   are shown below.

   o  [2001:db8::1]:80

   o  2001:db8::1:80

   o  2001:db8::1.80

   o  2001:db8::1 port 80

   o  2001:db8::1p80

   o  2001:db8::1#80

   The situation is not much different in IPv4, but the most ambiguous
   case with IPv6 is the second bullet.  This is due to the "::"usage in
   IPv6 addresses.  This style is not recommended for its ambiguity.
   The most common case is the [] style as expressed in [RFC3986].


7.  Conclusion

   The recommended format of text representing an IPv6 address is
   summarized as follows.

      (1) omit leading zeros

      (2) "::" used to their maximum extent whenever possible

      (3) "::" used where shortens address the most

      (4) "::" used in the former part in case of a tie breaker

      (5) do not shorten one 16 bit 0 field, but always shorten when
      there are two or more consecutive 16 bit 0 fields





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      (6) use lower case

   Hints for developers are written in the Appendix section.


8.  Security Considerations

   None.


9.  IANA Considerations

   None.


10.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank Jan Zorz, Randy Bush, Yuichi Minami,
   Toshimitsu Matsuura for their generous and helpful comments in kick
   starting this document.  We also would like to thank Brian Carpenter,
   Akira Kato, Juergen Schoenwaelder, Antonio Querubin, Dave Thaler,
   Brian Haley, Suresh Krishnan, Jerry Huang for their input.  Also a
   very special thanks to Ron Bonica, Fred Baker, Brian Haberman, Robert
   Hinden, Jari Arkko, and Kurt Lindqvist for their support in bringing
   this document to the light of IETF working groups.


11.  References

11.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC4291]  Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
              Architecture", RFC 4291, February 2006.

11.2.  Informative References

   [RFC2765]  Nordmark, E., "Stateless IP/ICMP Translation Algorithm
              (SIIT)", RFC 2765, February 2000.

   [RFC3493]  Gilligan, R., Thomson, S., Bound, J., McCann, J., and W.
              Stevens, "Basic Socket Interface Extensions for IPv6",
              RFC 3493, February 2003.

   [RFC3986]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, "Uniform
              Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66,



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              RFC 3986, January 2005.

   [RFC4038]  Shin, M-K., Hong, Y-G., Hagino, J., Savola, P., and E.
              Castro, "Application Aspects of IPv6 Transition",
              RFC 4038, March 2005.

   [RFC5156]  Blanchet, M., "Special-Use IPv6 Addresses", RFC 5156,
              April 2008.

   [RFC5214]  Templin, F., Gleeson, T., and D. Thaler, "Intra-Site
              Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol (ISATAP)", RFC 5214,
              March 2008.


Appendix A.  For Developers

   We recommend that developers use display routines that conform to
   these rules.  For example, the usage of getnameinfo() with flags
   argument NI_NUMERICHOST in FreeBSD 7.0 will give a conforming output.
   The function inet_ntop() of FreeBSD7.0 is a good C code reference,
   but should not be called directly.  See [RFC4038] for details.


Appendix B.  Prefix Issues

   Problems with prefixes are just the same as problems encountered with
   addresses.  Text representation method of IPv6 prefixes should be no
   different from that of IPv6 addresses.


Authors' Addresses

   Seiichi Kawamura
   NEC BIGLOBE, Ltd.
   14-22, Shibaura 4-chome
   Minatoku, Tokyo  108-8558
   JAPAN

   Phone: +81 3 3798 6085
   Email: kawamucho@mesh.ad.jp











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   Masanobu Kawashima
   NEC AccessTechnica, Ltd.
   800, Shimomata
   Kakegawa-shi, Shizuoka  436-8501
   JAPAN

   Phone: +81 537 23 9655
   Email: kawashimam@necat.nec.co.jp











































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