IPv6 and the Dancing Turtle

So I recently attended a LOPSA meeting where I got to listen to a rather familiar presentation about IPv6, how to pitch it to a business and how to get started with it. The silly/fun motivation for getting it to work is to load up http://www.kame.net/ – if you are IPv6 enabled, the turtle will dance (more like swim). Otherwise it sits there like a bump on a log.

Well, this weekend I courted the fickle turtle, but after a day and a half (plus a router upgrade), the turtle now dances to my whims. I encountered some trickiness that others hopefully wont, regarding ATT’s uVerse service and the 2WIRE modem/router/combo unit:

  • The 2WIRE won’t give you native IPv6
  • There is no way to configure an IPv6 tunnel on the 2WIRE
  • There’s no bridge mode that drops the NAT to let a downstream router that IS capable be in charge of your network

The solution was to buy an Apple AirPort Extreme (my Linksys didn’t support IPv6 and I’m too lazy to keep up with and constantly support a DD-WRT setup). Here’s the list of steps I performed to get up and running, hopefully written so anyone can follow suit.

  1. Connect your PC (DHCP-enabled) to a LAN port on the brand new AirPort (no other connections), then plug in the power on the AirPort
  2. Use the AirPort utility to configure basic settings on the AirPort extreme. You do want DHCP/NAT enabled (not Bridged Mode). You should be seeing a warning message about Internet/DNS not working. Your own IP should start with a 10.something.
  3. Connect one of the 2WIRE LAN ports to the AirPort Extreme WAN port. After a short time, you may be lucky and everything will “just work”. Verify in the AirPort Utility that the router got a public IP address, then skip the rest of the numbered steps. If it got one that starts with 192 or 172, or can’t seem to connect up to AirPort Extreme via the utility, continue on.
  4. Move your PC to be plugged into a free LAN port on the 2WIRE. Pull a new IP address (should be a 192 or 172.something address. Reboot your system if you’re stuck here)
  5. Browse to your 2WIRE router (whatever IP gets set as your Gateway) and go to Settings > Firewall > Applications, Pinholes and DMZ
  6. Under section 1 you should see your AirPort Extreme listed – select it. In section 2, use the bottom option of “DMZplus mode”. Hit Save
  7. Now go to Settings > Firewall > Advanced Configuration and make sure you have unchecked Block Ping. Hit Save
  8. Move your PC connection back over to the AirPort Extreme and renew your IP (you should be back to a 10.something address)
  9. Back in the AirPort utility you should once again be able to configure your AirPort Extreme. Verify that you now have a public IP

At this point you’re ready for IPv6. Go to tunnelbroker.net and follow the instructions they have to configure your AirPort Extreme with an IPv6 tunnel. You should also be able to manage your 2WIRE without moving around the network cable.

Be aware that AirPort Extreme firmware updates mean that the instructions and screenshots in their Getting Started guides aren’t always accurate, but most likely all the help you need is in the Tunnel Broker / Hurricane Electric’s forums.

Forewarning in case you want to do it better: You can try to configure the AirPort Extreme to run in bridged mode, acting as an extension of the 2WIRE. Would have been nice because it preserves functionality of things like the smartphone remote control for uVerse, but the IPv6 tunnel would have to be established on the 2WIRE itself, which can’t be done. There may be a workaround for the remote control thing but I haven’t looked into it.

And finally, a big thanks to Tom who helped motivate me to see things through and dance with a turtle on memorial day.

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