Friday, October 10, 2014

Derive IPv6 link-local address for network interface

When you show the interface configuration using command ip, you will noticed there is a inet6 address start with fe80. Today, we will learn what is this and how this address is derive. Example below
user@localhost:~$ ip addr show wlan0
3: wlan0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP qlen 1000
link/ether 4c:33:22:11:aa:ee brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
inet brd scope global wlan0
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 2001:e68:5424:d2dd:4e33:22ff:fe11:aaee/64 scope global dynamic
valid_lft 86399sec preferred_lft 14399sec
inet6 fe80::4e33:22ff:fe11:aaee/64 scope link
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

So first, what is Link-local address?

In a computer network, a link-local address is a network address that is valid only for communications within the network segment (link) or the broadcast domain that the host is connected to.

Link-local addresses are usually not guaranteed to be unique beyond a single network segment. Routers therefore do not forward packets with link-local addresses.

For protocols that have only link-local addresses, such as Ethernet, hardware addresses that the manufacturer delivers in network circuits are unique, consisting of a vendor identification and a serial identifier.

Link-local addresses for IPv4 are defined in the address block, in CIDR notation. In IPv6, they are assigned with the fe80::/10 prefix.

So it is a wire address that is locally within a segment of a network and it is not routable beyond a router.

With this said, let's calculate link-local address.

1. take the mac address from ip command.
from above example 4c:33:22:11:aa:ee

2. add ff:fe in the middle of the current mac address.

3. reformat to IPv6 notation by concatenate two hex groups into one.

4. convert the first octet from hexadecimal to binary
4c -> 01001100

5. invert the bit at position 6, starting from left with first bit as 0.
01001100 -> 01001110

6. convert the octet back in step 5 back to hexadecimal
01001110 -> 4e

7. replace first octet with newly calculated from step 6.

8. prepend the link-local prefix

That's it.

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