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Internet Engineering Task Force                        Christian Huitema
INTERNET DRAFT                                             Susan Thomson
<draft-ietf-ipngwg-aaaa-03.txt>                         February 6, 1998

        DNS Extensions to support IP version 6

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet Draft. Internet Drafts are working
   documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its Areas,
   and its Working Groups. Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet Drafts.

   Internet Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
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   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This document defines the changes that need to be made to the Domain
   Name System to support hosts running IP version 6 (IPv6).  The
   changes include a new resource record type to store an IPv6 address,
   a new domain to support lookups based on an IPv6 address, and updated
   definitions of existing query types that return Internet addresses as
   part of additional section processing.

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Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998


   Current support for the storage of Internet addresses in the Domain
   Name System (DNS)[1,2] cannot easily be extended to support IPv6
   addresses[3] since applications assume that address queries return
   32-bit IPv4 addresses only.

   To support the storage of IPv6 addresses we define the following

      o A new resource record type is defined to map a domain name to an
        IPv6 address.

      o A new domain is defined to support lookups based on address.

      o Existing queries that perform additional section processing to
        locate IPv4 addresses are redefined to perform additional
        section processing on both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

   The changes are designed to be compatible with existing software. The
   existing support for IPv4 addresses is retained. Transition issues
   related to the co-existence of both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses in DNS
   are discussed in [4].

   This memo proposes an incompatible extension to the specification in
   RFC 1886, and a departure from current implementation practices. The
   changes are designed to facilitate network renumbering.


   A new record type is defined to store a system's IPv6 address, or
   addresses.  The new record contains the least significant bits of
   the host's IPv6 address. When the number of significant bits is lower
   than 128, the record also contains the domain name of another
   IPv6 system, which typically describes a complete link, or a
   complete site.  The most significant bits will be copied from the
   IPv6 address of that system.  If that system has several IPv6
   addresses, the low bits of the host address will be combined with
   each prefix of the several addresses, resulting in as many IPv6
   addresses for the host.

   A system may need several records if it is connected to several domains,
   as would be the case, for example, of a site connected to several
   providers, or of a host connected to different links.

2.1 AAAA record type

   The AAAA resource record type is a new record specific to the
   Internet class that stores the lower bits of a  single IPv6 address
   and the name of a domain where to fetch the higher bits.

   The value of the type is 28 (decimal).

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Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998

   Note that we decide here to reuse the name and code specified in
   RFC 1886.  The record format has been changed, but it has been
   Changed in a compatible way.  Essentially, we have added to
   The old format an optional "tail". Updated systems will be capable
   of reading the old records.  Old systems, however, will only be
   capable of using the new records if they decide to use the first
   128 bits and ignore the remainder. This will be discussed in the
   "transition" section.

2.2 AAAA data format

    |   Ipv6 address   | Pre. length  | Domain name of prefix |
    |     (128 bits)   |  (1 octet)   | (variable, 0..255)    |

   The data portion of the AAAA record contains three fields:

    o A 128 bit IPv6 address, encoded in network byte order
      (high-order byte first).

    o a prefix length, encoded as one single octet, with value in
      the range [0..128].

    o the domain name of the prefix, encoded as a domain name,
      possibly compressed as specified in [3]. (The compression of
      the domain name saves space, but may cause problems if servers
      that don't understand the AAAA type cache this record.)

   The domain name component shall not be encoded if the length
   of the prefix is zero.

2.3 AAAA query

   An AAAA query for a specified domain name in the Internet class
   returns all associated AAAA resource records in the answer section of
   a response.

   A type AAAA query does perform additional section processing, by
   returning the AAAA records associated to the domain names mentioned
   in the domain's AAAA records.

Thomson & Huitema                                               [Page 3]

Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998

2.4 Textual format of AAAA records

   The textual representation of the data portion of the AAAA resource
   record used in a master database file is composed of three fields
   separated by white spaces:

      o the textual representation of the host's IPv6 address as
        defined in [3],

      o a prefix length, represented as a decimal number,

      o a domain name.

   The domain name may be absent if the prefix length is zero.

2.5 IP6.INT Domain

   A special domain is defined to look up a record given an address. The
   intent of this domain is to provide a way of mapping an IPv6 address
   to a host name, although it may be used for other purposes as well.
   The domain is rooted at IP6.INT.

   An IPv6 address is represented as a name in the IP6.INT domain by a
   sequence of nibbles separated by dots with the suffix ".IP6.INT". The
   sequence of nibbles is encoded in reverse order, i.e. the low-order
   nibble is encoded first, followed by the next low-order nibble and so
   on. Each nibble is represented by a hexadecimal digit. For example,
   the inverse lookup domain name corresponding to the address


   would be



   All existing query types that perform type A additional section
   processing, i.e. name server (NS), mail exchange (MX) and mailbox
   (MB) query types, must be redefined to perform both type A and type
   AAAA additional section processing. These new definitions mean that a
   name server may add any relevant IPv4 addresses and any relevant
   IPv6 addresses available locally to the additional section of a
   response when processing any one of the above queries.

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Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998


   The new specification of the AAAA record allows domain managers to
   only specify the lower bits of the Ipv6 address in the AAAA record.
   The upper, or most significant, bits, will be derived from the
   AAAA record of the prefix.  This new format is designed to better
   support network renumbering and network multi-homing, while
   preserving some degree of compatibility with the existing records.

5.1 Typical usage of the new format.

   Let's take the example of a site, X, that is multi-homed to two
   "intermediate" providers A and B.  The provider A is itself
   multi-homed to two transit providers, C and D.  The provider
   B gets its transit service from a single provider, E. Using the
   Ipv6 "aggregatable addresses" format, C, D and E are represented
   by the top level aggregates (TLA) '2CCC', '2DDD', and '2EEE',
   respectively.  C assigns to A the "next level aggregate" '00CA',
   D assigns '00DA' to A, and E assigns '00EB' to B.  A assigns to
   X the subscriber identification '001A', and B assigns the
   subscriber identification '034B'.  As a result, the site X
   inherits three address prefixes:

   o  2CCC:00CA:001A/48 from A, for routes through C,
   o  2DDD:00DA:001A/48 from A, for routes through D,
   o  2EEE:00EB:034B/48 from B, for routes through E,

   Lets suppose that S is a station in the site X, that it is
   connected to the link number 1 in this site, and that it uses
   the interface identifier (UID) '1234:5678:90AB:CDEF'.  In our
   configuration, this station will be configured with three

   o  2CCC:00CA:001A:0001:1234:5678:90AB:CDEF
   o  2DDD:00DA:001A:0001:1234:5678:90AB:CDEF
   o  2EEE:00EB:034B:0001:1234:5678:90AB:CDEF

   In the DNS, we will assume that the site X is represented by
   the domain name XXX.COM, while A, B, C, D and E are represented
   by A.NET, B.NET, C.NET, D.NET and E.NET.  In each of these
   domains, we create a subdomain "IP6" that will hold the
   corresponding prefixes.  The station S is identified by the
   domain name S.XXX.COM.  Using the new format, we have to
   enter the following records in the DNS:

   S.XXX.COM   AAAA ::1:1234:5678:90AB:CDEF 48 IP6.XXX.COM

   IP6.XXX.COM AAAA 0:0:001A:: 28 IP6.A.NET
   IP6.XXX.COM AAAA 0:0:034B:: 28 IP6.B.NET

   IP6.A.NET   AAAA 0:00CA:: 16 IP6.C.NET
   IP6.A.NET   AAAA 0:00DA:: 16 IP6.D.NET
Thomson & Huitema                                               [Page 5]

Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998

   IP6.B.NET   AAAA 0:00EB:: 16 IP6.E.NET

   IP6.C.NET   AAAA 2CCC::

   IP6.D.NET   AAAA 2DDD::

   IP6.E.NET   AAAA 2EEE::

   An immediate observation is that we will only manage one record
   per station, or more precisely per interface, instead of one
   per prefix per station.  The new format allows us to easily
   support renumbering.

5.2 Support for network renumbering

   Network renumbering occurs when a site changes providers, when
   a provider switches to a new provider, or when either the site or
   one of its providers decides to "multihome".  The new format
   enables domain managers to manage these events by updating a
   single DNS record.

   Suppose, in our example, that the site X decides to replace its
   Providers, A and B, by a direct connection to the transit network
   C.  A single DNS update would do the trick, replacing the
   two AAAA records in "IP6.XXX.COM" by:

   IP6.XXX.COM AAAA 0:0123:4567: 16 IP6.C.NET.

   There will be no need to modify the individual records of the
   site's stations.  As a consequence, the TTL of the station's
   record can be set to a large value, and the switching can be
   prepare by simply reducing the TTL value of the site's
   prefix record.

   Note that in most cases the switching will be organized in
   two phases.  The connection to the new provider will be
   installed, a new site AAAA record will be added for that
   new connection.  After a transition period, the site will
   be disconnected from its previous providers, and the old
   records will be removed from the DNS.

   Similarly, if the network provider B decide to switch
   transit provider, say from E to D, it will only have to
   update its own AAAA network records.

   Obviously, the DNS updates will have to be synchronized
   with the address configuration and router renumbering
   procedures.  This should be specified in a separate memo.

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Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998

5.3 Transition strategies

   The new AAAA format is an extension of the format specified
   in RFC 1886.  Systems have already be deployed that
   implement RFC 1886.  These old systems will not be able to
   understand the new format, while updated systems will still
   be capable of understanding the old records.  This suggest
   a two-phase transition strategy:

   1) develop resolvers that understand the new record format,
      but ban actual usage of the new format in the DNS,
      except for test purposes.

   2) when the new resolvers have been deployed, start usage
      of the indirection capabilities provided by the new

5.4 Transition of the inverse tree

   A characteristic of the new format is that a given prefix
   information is stored in exactly one place.  The current
   "IP6.INT" domain does not share this desirable
   characteristic: inverse trees have to be replicated for
   each prefix.  Moreover, it can be argue that the inverse
   name format is quite ugly.  The IPNG working group
   examined several proposals that tried to solve these problems,
   but could not settle on any of them.  In fact, it is clear
   that the problem is difficult, and that "better" solution
   require a change in the DNS specifications.

   The DNS working group is examining such changes.  Some
   proposals will allow "virtual links" within the naming
   tree at a zone level -- such links are currently only
   allowed for individual entries, using CNAME records.  Other
   proposal would allow "binary" labels.  None of these proposals
   is yet final.

   When these new capabilities are defined, we expect to revisit
   the structure of the inverse tree.

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Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998


   The AAAA and PTR records can be secured by using the DNS
   security procedures.  The signature of the AAAA record only proves
   that the record is genuine, i.e. has been inserted in the DNS by the
   manager of the specified domain.  The signature of the NS and
   SOA records in the inverse tree can be used to check the validity
   of the address delegation.
   Because the address will be composed by combining several records,
   the security level will be determined by the weakest of these
   records. Managers should take this in consideration when deciding to
   use references to prefixes.


   Many of the ideas here were developed during a discussion between the
   authors, Robert Elz, Olafur Gudmundsson, Jim Bound, Bill Manning,
   Bob Fink, Mike O'Dell, Matt Crawford, Ken Powell, Bob Hinden and
   Steve Deering.


   [1]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities", STD
        13, RFC 1034, USC/Information Sciences Institute, November 1987.

   [2]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Implementation and Specifica-
        tion", STD 13, RFC 1035, USC/Information Sciences Institute,
        November 1987.

   [3]  Hinden, R., and S. Deering, Editors, "IP Version 6 Addressing
        Architecture", RFC 1884, Ipsilon Networks, Xerox PARC, December

   [4]  Gilligan, R., and E. Nordmark, "Transition Mechanisms for IPv6
        Hosts and Routers", Work in Progress.

   [5]  Huitema C., and S. Thomson, "DNS Extensions to support IP
        version 6." RFC 1886.

Thomson & Huitema                                               [Page 8]

Internet draft             IPv6 DNS Extensions             February 1998

Authors' Addresses

   Susan Thomson
   MCC 1C259B
   445 South Street
   Morristown, NJ 07960

   Phone: +1 201-829-4514
   EMail: set@bellcore.com

   Christian Huitema
   MCC 1J236B
   445 South Street
   Morristown, NJ 07960

   Phone: +1 201-829-4266
   EMail: huitema@bellcore.com

Thomson & Huitema                                               [Page 9]

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