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I am wanting to mess with IPv6 for teaching purposes. The problem is my ISP is not currently IPv6 ready. So I was going to use a tunnel broker from Hurricane Electric to solve the problem. The one concern I have is that my performance is going to tank because I am adding more "stuff" in between my router and the destination.

For a server rack mainly used for teaching purposes is my thoughts of performance not really something to worry about?

My connection is a Time Warner Business Class 10 down / 2 up.

I will mainly be using SSH, RDP, VMware vSphere Client, HP iLO, and maybe the occasional minecraft server.

Any input would be great.

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If this is a server in a managed data center then I would suggest that you demand ipv6 connectivity at no charge. There are enough data centers that already do that. If they refuse then it's time to move. Running over a tunnel is fine if you can get an SLA that you're okay with. Free tunnels obviously don't come with any SLA at all. Matts –  user187462 Jan 12 '13 at 15:59
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2 Answers 2

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Getting native IPv6 from your ISP is always the best way to get IPv6, but if your ISP doesn't deliver IPv6 yet then getting a good tunnel is a viable alternative.

The route the packets take will be longer than what the IPv4 packets would take though. Your IPv4 traffic is sent immediately to the destination by your ISP, which the IPv6 tunnel traffic will always go to the other end of the tunnel and from there it will travel to the destination.

Whether that is a problem depends on where the other side of the tunnel is. If you are on the US west coast then choosing a tunnel server that is on the east coast will cause a bit of extra latency. Choosing a tunnel server in Europe will cause an even bigger latency. But choosing a tunnel server that is also on the west coast and has good network connectivity to your ISP will only cause a barely noticeable extra bit latency.

Be sure to officially ask your ISP for IPv6, even if you know they don't offer it yet. They need customers to ask for it before they will invest in it. To get started with IPv6 using a tunnel is no problem at all. It's what many people and organisations do.

I wouldn't run a production server farm behind a tunnel, but for teaching, learning and experimenting it's an easy and fast way to get started!

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Great! Thanks for the explanation. –  Solignis Jan 11 '13 at 21:16
    
Actually I do have a production server farm behind a tunnel. But this isn't an issue since the tunnel endpoint is just a few meters away in the very same datacenter. From my home, the difference is minimal most of the time, though sometimes the IPv6 tunnel is far faster than IPv4. –  Michael Hampton Jan 12 '13 at 7:14
    
@Michael: Yeah, if the tunnel is that short it really won't be noticeable! –  Sander Steffann Jan 12 '13 at 13:56
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In my experience of comparing traceroute6 vs. traceroute, IPv6 is faster, even through a tunnel broker. This is probably because IPv6 generally requires fewer hops to get from point A to B.

Here's a third-party source backing up my observation:

Accessing sites and content over the Internet is usually faster with IPv6 than with IPv4 because with the new protocol it requires fewer "hops" between network nodes
Here is a little experiment I ran using traceroute/traceroute6, ping/ping6, and my Hurricane (tunnelbroker.net) tunnel, gathering the sites with both IPv6 and IPv6 capabilities from http://test-ipv6.com:
SITE                    IPv4 hops       IPv6 hops       IPv4 ping (min/avg/max/mdev ms) IPv6 ping (min/avg/max/mdev ms)
6connect.com            14              8               67.253/72.499/106.113/11.265    55.031/58.340/74.078/5.426
bind.com                13              10              45.450/53.924/98.121/15.158     60.002/82.812/196.221/41.448
comcast6.net            >13             10              -                               92.043/92.840/94.055/0.680
delong.com              11              7               59.059/66.432/95.884/10.134     52.423/73.042/135.103/30.874
mozilla.org             >11             6               33.178/97.481/536.719/148.432   45.562/47.133/48.390/0.805
test-ipv6.chi.vr.org    9               9               85.383/286.941/527.103/155.351  76.788/169.458/516.502/147.166
test-ipv6.com           10              5               34.021/39.507/70.518/10.384     33.009/41.441/70.052/13.069
test-ipv6.iad.vr.org    15              13              86.739/93.772/120.192/10.195    91.341/93.146/97.153/2.006
test-ipv6.motd.be       >14             8               86.186/401.432/1629.098/502.373 92.437/481.830/727.557/241.649
test-ipv6.sjc.vr.org    12              6               35.443/40.502/70.426/10.056     33.953/41.144/85.444/14.862
tunnelbroker.net        >9              >4              39.504/46.119/73.483/10.290     32.559/63.532/222.700/62.022
So, indeed, IPv6 uses fewer hops and is overall no worse, if not slightly better, performance-wise than IPv4, even though my IPv6 is going through a tunnel.

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huh that is really interesting... –  Solignis Apr 4 '13 at 20:25
    
Fewer hops also seems to correspond to less "jitter" (mdev), ∴ more network reliability/stability. –  Alan Aversa Apr 6 '13 at 17:52
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