Gap Analysis for Operating IPv6-Only MPLS Networks

This RFC 7439 was published in 2015.

Abstract

This document reviews the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) protocol suite in the context of IPv6 and identifies gaps that must be addressed in order to allow MPLS-related protocols and applications to be used with IPv6-only networks.
This document is intended to focus on gaps in the standards defining the MPLS suite, and is not intended to highlight particular vendor implementations (or lack thereof) in the context of IPv6-only MPLS functionality.

RFC 7439 introduction

IPv6 [RFC2460] is an integral part of modern network deployments.
At the time when this document was written, the majority of these IPv6 deployments were using dual-stack implementations, where IPv4 and IPv6 are supported equally on many or all of the network nodes, and single-stack primarily referred to IPv4-only devices.
Dual-stack deployments provide a useful margin for protocols and features that are not currently capable of operating solely over IPv6, because they can continue using IPv4 as necessary.
However, as IPv6 deployment and usage becomes more pervasive, and IPv4 exhaustion begins driving changes in address consumption behaviors, there is an increasing likelihood that many networks will need to start operating some or all of their network nodes either as primarily IPv6 (most functions use IPv6, a few legacy features use IPv4), or as IPv6-only (no IPv4 provisioned on the device).
This transition toward IPv6-only operation exposes any gaps where features, protocols, or implementations are still reliant on IPv4 for proper function.
To that end, and in the spirit of the recommendation in RFC 6540 [RFC6540] that implementations need to stop requiring IPv4 for proper and complete function, this document reviews the MPLS protocol suite in the context of IPv6 and identifies gaps that must be addressed in order to allow MPLS-related protocols and applications to be used with IPv6-only networks and networks that are primarily IPv6 (hereafter referred to as IPv6-primary).
This document is intended to focus on gaps in the standards defining the MPLS suite, and not to highlight particular vendor implementations (or lack thereof) in the context of IPv6-only MPLS functionality.

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