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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: September 27, 2009                     NEC AccessTechnica, Ltd.
                                                          March 26, 2009


         A Recommendation for IPv6 Address Text Representation
               draft-kawamura-ipv6-text-representation-00

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted to IETF in full conformance with the
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   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
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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 [RFC4291] 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.  The following draft will describe the
   problems that a flexible text representation has been causing.  This
   document also recommends a text representation method that best
   avoids confusion.












































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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  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.2.  zero compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     2.3.  Uppercase or Lowercase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       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  . . . . . . . . 10
     4.1.  Handling Leading Zeros . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     4.2.  Lower Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     4.3.  "::" usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.3.1.  shorten as much as possible  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.3.2.  one 16bit 0 field  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.3.3.  when "::" can be used twice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   5.  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   6.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   7.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   8.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   9.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     9.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     9.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11








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1.  Introduction

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

      2001:db8:0:0:1:0:0:1/128

      2001:0db8:0:0:1:0:0:1/128

      2001:db8::1:0:0:1/128

      2001:db8::0:1:0:0:1/128

      2001:0db8::1:0:0:1/128

      2001:db8:0:0:1::1/128

      2001:db8:0000:0:1::1/128

      2001:DB8:0:0:1::1/128

   All the above point to the same IPv6 address.  This flexiblity has
   caused many problems for operators, systems engineers, and customers.
   The problems will be noted in section 3.

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 RFC 2119 [RFC2119].


2.  Text representation flexibility of RFC4291

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

2.1.  leading zeros

      '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 such as the following example.
   Last 16bit is different, but all these addresses are the same.






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      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:0001/128

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:001/128

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:01/128

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:1/128

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 16bits of
   zeros.

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd::1/128

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:0:1/128

   In case where there are more than one zero fields, there is a choice
   of how much fields to shorten, such as described in the following
   example.  It is not necessary to omit the fields completely.

      2001:db8:0:0:0::1/128

      2001:db8:0:0::1/128

      2001:db8:0::1/128

      2001:db8::1/128

      ... and more

   In addition, RFC4291 in section 2.2 notes,

      'The "::" can also be used to compress leading or trailing zeros
      in an address.'

   Therefore, it is possible to select such as the following example.

      2001:db8::aaaa:0:0:1/128

      2001:db8:0:0:aaaa::1/128







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2.3.  Uppercase or Lowercase

   RFC4291 does not mention about Uppercase and Lowercase.  Because it's
   probably not special.  However, it is possible to select such as the
   following example.  Last 16bit is different, but these are the same.

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:aaaa/128

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:AAAA/128

      2001:db8:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:dddd:eeee:AaAa/128

      ... 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 reagular 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 networks and also in ISPs.




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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 ouput showed 2001:0db8:0000::/48, most non-
   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.

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 ouput 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



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   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.

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 diffs 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 router may take an input of
   2001:0db8:0::1 and make the ouput 2001:db8::1 (which is seen in som
   RIR databases).  If the zeros were inputed 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:
   0:0:1/128, the system may take the address and show the configuration
   result as 2001:DB8::1:0:0:1/128.  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.




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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.
   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.







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4.  A Recommendation for IPv6 Text Representation

4.1.  Handling Leading Zeros

   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 mis-reading.

4.2.  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.

4.3.  "::" usage

4.3.1.  shorten as much as possible

   The use of "::" should be used to its maximum capability (i.e. 2001:
   db8::0:1/128 is not very clean).

4.3.2.  one 16bit 0 field

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

4.3.3.  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 more
   16bit 0 fields are more common (i.e. latter is shortened in 2001:0:0:
   1:0:0:0:1/128).  When the length of 16bit 0 fields are equal (i.e.
   2001:db8:0:0:1:0:0:1/128), the former is usually shortened.  One idea
   to avoid any confusion, is for the operator to not use 16bit field 0
   in the first 64 bits.  By nature IPv6 addresses are usually assigned
   or allocated to end-users as longer than 32 bits (typicaly 48bit or
   longer).


5.  Conclusion

   For developers, it is recommended that they use inet_ntop() or
   WSAAddressToString().  These have a consistent rule with this draft.
   If you have difficulties using these functions, it is desirable to
   adapt the recommended rule.  For all those who have the need of text
   representing an IPv6 address, the following is a summary of the
   recommended rules.



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      (1) omit leading zeros

      (2) use lower case

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

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

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

      (6) do not shorten one 16bit 0 field


6.  Security Considerations

   None.


7.  IANA Considerations

   None.


8.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank Jan Zorz, Randy Bush, Yuichi Minami,
   Toshimitsu Matsuura for their generous and helpful comments.


9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

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

9.2.  Informative References

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

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







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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


   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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