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Versions: 00                                                            
Internet Engineering Task Force                                S. Venaas
Internet Draft                                                   UNINETT
Expiration Date: August 2003
                                                           February 2003

                    An IPv4 - IPv6 multicast gateway


Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is subject to all provisions
   of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

   To view the list Internet-Draft Shadow Directories, see


   This document describes an IPv4 - IPv6 gateway solution that embeds
   all IPv4 multicast group addresses into IPv6, and allows IPv6 hosts
   to receive from and send to IPv4 multicast groups.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  ...............................................   2
   2.  Embedding IPv4 multicast group addresses into IPv6  .........   3
   3.  Architecture  ...............................................   3
   4.  Address rewriting  ..........................................   4
   5.  Examples  ...................................................   4
     5.1.  IPv6 host joining a group inside the /96 prefix  ........   4
     5.2.  IPv6 host sending to group inside the /96 prefix  .......   5
   6.  Issues  .....................................................   5
   7.  Acknowledgments  ............................................   5
   8.  Security Considerations  ....................................   5
   9.  References  .................................................   6
     9.1.  Normative References  ...................................   6
     9.2.  Informative References  .................................   6
   Author's Address  ...............................................   6
   Appendix A: Source addressing issues  ...........................   6
   Appendix B: Possible enhancements  ..............................   7
   Appendix C: Comparison with MTP  ................................   7

1. Introduction

   IPv4 and IPv6 will co-exist for many years, possibly decades. There
   are several solutions for how IPv4 and IPv6 hosts and networks can
   inter-operate. This is usually easy if a host is dual stack. If
   however an IPv6-only host needs to communicate with an IPv4-only
   host, then somewhere along the data path there must be some form of
   translation.  There are several ways of doing this for unicast, while
   for multicast the only mechanism known to the author is [MTP].

   Here we describe a possible multicast gateway solution. This gateway
   could be placed at the border between IPv6-only and IPv4-only
   networks to allow multicast access between them.  The goal is to give
   an IPv6 host full access to send to and receive from any IPv4
   multicast group by using the usual IPv6 multicast protocols and
   applications which will then operate on the respective IPv6 groups.
   The gateway solution can be used with no changes to other

   We will define a one-to-one mapping of IPv4 addresses onto a subset
   of the IPv6 multicast addresses. An IPv6 host will then be able to
   receive data from any IPv4 multicast group by joining the
   corresponding IPv6 group. An IPv6 host can also send, without
   necessarily joining, to any IPv4 multicast group by sending to the
   corresponding IPv6 group.

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2. Embedding IPv4 multicast group addresses into IPv6

   We need a way of referring to an IPv4 multicast group using an IPv6
   address. We do this by embedding IPv4 multicast addresses into IPv6
   by prepending them with a specific /96 IPv6 prefix such that for each
   IPv4 multicast address we have a respective IPv6 multicast address.
   Depending on the prefix they might be of any scope desired.

   An administrator deploying a gateway needs to choose a /96 prefix in
   accordance with the IPv6 multicast address format defined in section
   2.7 of [ADDRARCH].

   The addresses used will then be of the form FFxx:<blah>:<IPv4> where
   flags, scope and the value of "blah" are chosen by the administrator.
   "IPv4" is the last 32 bits specifying the IPv4 address of the IPv4
   multicast group.  The administrator may choose to use Unicast-Prefix-
   based multicast addresses as defined in [UNIPRFXM].

3. Architecture

   The gateway makes use of PIM Sparse Mode [PIM-SM]. It is a complete
   IPv6 PIM-SM router that also is the RP for the /96 IPv6 prefix.  With
   respect to the IPv4 network, it behaves as an IPv4 multicast host.
   When it receives a PIM join message for a new IPv6 group inside the
   /96 prefix, it will join the IPv4 multicast group specified by the
   last 32 bits in the address. It should also do this if it gets MLD
   listener reports for such groups on links where it is the DR.

   When an IPv6 source starts sending, the data will reach the gateway.
   If the gateway is the DR for the source, it will receive the packets
   natively and resend them as IPv4 multicast provided that the
   multicast address is within the /96 prefix, and the last 32 bits form
   a valid IPv4 multicast address. If the gateway is not the DR, then it
   will receive PIM register messages. Again if the multicast address
   fulfills the requirements above, the multicast packets are resent as
   IPv4 multicast. When receiving register messages, it may, according
   to normal PIM behaviour, join the IPv6 group to receive packets
   natively instead. These packets are also resent.

   Note that by being the Rendezvous Point, it can keep track of all
   IPv6 sources and receive all their data. And it will also know which
   groups there are listeners for. It does not however, have knowledge
   of IPv4 sources and listeners. A drawback with this, is that it will
   resend IPv6 data even if there are no IPv4 listeners, and it will
   also join and wait for IPv4 data even if there are no sources.

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4. Address rewriting

   When IPv4 packets are resent as IPv6 we will need to replace the
   source and destination addresses with suitable IPv6 addresses. And
   similar replacement going from IPv6 to IPv4.

   The destination address is easy. That is the multicast address.  As
   described above, we map IPv4 multicast addresses into IPv6 by
   prepending them with a /96-prefix. And going the other direction, we
   simply extract the last 32 bits.

   For the source address we propose using one fixed IPv4 unicast
   address, and one fixed IPv6 unicast address. There are no special
   requirements, they might be any unicast addresses assigned to the
   router.  From the perspective of an IPv6 receiver, the gateway will
   look like the source of all data resent from IPv4. Similarly in the
   other direction.

5. Examples

   To illustrate how the gateway works, we will look at two examples. In
   both examples we assume that there are no previous state in the

5.1. IPv6 host joining a group inside the /96 prefix

   An IPv6 host joins the group FFxx:<blah>:a.b.c.d. If the gateway is
   the DR for the host, it will receive an MLD membership report. If
   not, it will receive a PIM join since it is the RP for the group. The
   gateway will then get (*, G) state for the group. So far this is
   normal PIM behaviour. The gateway checks whether the address is
   inside the /96 prefix, and whether the last 32 bits (a.b.c.d) is an
   IPv4 multicast address. If it is, it joins a.b.c.d using IGMP, and
   stays joined as long as it has state for the group.

   When the gateway receives a multicast packet for a.b.c.d it prepends
   the /96 prefix to form the IPv6 address FFxx:<blah>:a.b.c.d. If the
   gateway has outgoing interfaces for this group, it will send an IPv6
   packet to the same interfaces to which it would have forwarded an
   IPv6 packet for the group.  The destination address will be
   FFxx:<blah>:a.b.c.d, and the source address will be the fixed IPv6
   unicast address used for all resent packets.

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5.2. IPv6 host sending to group inside the /96 prefix

   An IPv6 host sends to the group FFxx:<blah>:a.b.c.d. If the gateway
   is the DR for the host, it will receive the data natively. If not, it
   will receive PIM register messages containing the data since it's the
   RP. For each packet received, either natively or inside register
   messages, it will first check that the destination address is inside
   the /96 prefix and that the last 32 bits (a.b.c.d) is an IPv4
   multicast address. If this is okay, it will resend the packet to the
   IPv4 address a.b.c.d. The source address is the fixed IPv4 unicast
   address used for all resent packets.

6. Issues

   The gateway should work well for most multicast protocols and
   applications. Since addresses are rewritten, there might, as with
   [NAT-PT], be problems with application protocols carrying IP
   addresses though.  There might also be issues with using the same IP
   source address when resending packets from different sources, see
   appendix A.

7. Acknowledgments

   The author wishes to thank Michal Przybylski and Pekka Savola for
   valuable comments, and also people from the M6Bone community for
   testing a prototype implementation.

8. Security Considerations

   The gateway as specified in this document does not take scoping into
   account. Hence there is a danger that multicast content that is
   supposed to be available only in a small scope on one side of the
   gateway, becomes available in a larger scope on the other side. The
   gateway could possibly try to translate IPv6 scopes into IPv4 ttl
   values and vice versa. In order to support multiple scopes one would
   then use multiple /96 multicast prefixes.

   One may wish to limit who can access the gateway. If for instance one
   wishes to restrict it to a site, one can use a /96 prefix of site-
   local scope, and then filter at the site border, just like one would
   for multicast in general. A gateway implementation could also offer a
   way of restricting which groups and sources should be accepted.

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9. References

9.1. Normative References

   [ADDRARCH]  Hinden, R., Deering, S., "IP Version 6 Addressing
               Architecture", RFC 2373, July 1998.

   [UNIPRFXM]  Haberman, B., Thaler, D., "Unicast-Prefix-based IPv6
               Multicast Addresses", RFC 3306, August 2002.

   [PIM-SM]    Estrin, D., Farinacci, D., Helmy, A., Thaler, D.,
               Deering, S., Handley, M., Jacobson, V., Liu, C.,
               Sharma, P. and L. Wei, "Protocol Independent
               Multicast-Sparse Mode (PIM-SM): Protocol Specification",
               RFC 2362, June 1998.

9.2. Informative References

   [MTP]       Tsuchiya, K., Higuchi, H., Sawada, S., Nozaki, S.,
               "An IPv6/IPv4 Multicast Translator based on IGMP/MLD
               Proxying (mtp)", work-in-progress,
               draft-ietf-ngtrans-mtp-03.txt, October 2002.

   [NAT-PT]    Tsirtsis, G., Srisuresh, P., "Network Address
               Translation - Protocol Translation (NAT-PT)", RFC 2766,
               February 2000.

Author's Address

   Stig Venaas
   Trondheim, Norway
   Email: venaas@uninett.no

Appendix A: Source addressing issues

   As specified above, we use one fixed IPv4 unicast address and one
   fixed IPv6 unicast address for all multicast packets resent by the
   gateway. This works fine for common mbone tools like vic and rat. It
   may cause problems for some applications though. If there are
   multiple sources sending to the same group on one side of the
   gateway, an application running on a host on the other side may be
   unable to know which packets come from which source.

   The idea is that for packets with different source addresses on one
   side of the gateway, there should also be different source addresses
   on the other side. This can be done by rewriting these unicast
   address like one would do for [NAT-PT].  Rewriting IPv4 into IPv6 is

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   simple, we can use the same trick as for multicast and use a /96
   prefix. Note that this must be different from the prefix used for
   multicast since the first bits are different in unicast and multicast
   addresses. Going from IPv6 to IPv4 we have a much bigger problem. We
   suggest using a pool of IPv4 addresses being dynamically allocated to
   the different IPv6 sources. If the total amount of IPv6 sources is
   larger than the number of addresses in the pool, one might reuse
   addresses between groups, so that the size of the pool would only
   need to be as large as the largest number of sources in each group.
   Note that these unicast addresses are only used by the gateway as
   source addresses, but they must still have valid routes for PIM with
   its RPF checks to work.

Appendix B: Possible enhancements

   The main draft documents what we see as a complete working gateway
   solution.  There are however several enhancements possible.

   As specified, the gateway operates as an IPv4 host using IGMP. One
   could possibly let the gateway be an IPv4 PIM router. It could then
   stop sending IPv4 packets if it receives register stop messages from
   the RP.  When it receives register stop messages, it could itself
   send register stop messages for IPv6 sources.

   One could possibly add SSM support. One might consider using SSM to
   reach the gateway, and not necessarily let it be an RP. One could
   also allow IPv6 hosts to join specific IPv4 sources, by using some
   /96 IPv6 unicast prefix to embed IPv4 addresses into IPv6. In the
   first case we go from IPv6 SSM to IPv4 ASM. In the second we go from
   IPv6 SSM to IPv4 SSM.

Appendix C: Comparison with MTP

   The gateway solution described in this draft has some resemblance to
   [MTP]. They both try to offer multicast connectivity between
   IPv4-only and IPv6-only hosts with some sort of translation device
   placed at the border between the IPv4 and IPv6 domains.

   The main difference between the two is perhaps that MTP only operates
   at the IGMP and MLD level. This solution uses standard PIM and MLD
   mechanisms to know which groups to resend, while MTP as specified,
   requires an administrator to configure which groups to resend. This
   might limit the number of groups that can be resent, and there is a
   risk that one keeps resending data when there are no receivers
   present. MTP might be used together with some out-of-band mechanism
   for the user or application to signal interest, this will however
   make the solution less transparent to the users, or require software

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