The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will take several years because of the high cost of upgrading equipment. In the meantime, IPv4 and IPv6 must coexist. The following are three primary mechanisms for the transition from IPv4 to IPv6:
■ Dual-stack: Both the IPv4 and the IPv6 stacks run on a system that can communicate with both IPv6 and IPv4 devices.
■ Tunneling: Uses encapsulation of IPv6 packets to traverse IPv4 networks, and vice versa.
■ Translation: A mechanism that translates one protocol to the other to facilitate communication between the two networks.
In addition, Cisco has designed the IPv6 on the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) Provider Edge (PE) routers (6PE) feature, which supports smooth integration of IPv6 into MPLS networks. Because the MPLS routers switch packets based on labels rather than address lookups, organizations with an MPLS backbone can scale IPv6 traffic easily and do not need to make costly hardware upgrades.
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