6bone (IPv6 Testing Address Allocation) Phaseout
RFC 3701

Document Type RFC - Informational (March 2004; No errata)
Obsoletes RFC 2471
Authors Robert Fink  , Bob Hinden 
Last updated 2015-10-14
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IESG IESG state RFC 3701 (Informational)
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Responsible AD Bert Wijnen
IESG note Published as RFC 3701 in March 2004
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Network Working Group                                            R. Fink
Request for Comments: 3701                                     R. Hinden
Obsoletes: 2471                                               March 2004
Category: Informational

            6bone (IPv6 Testing Address Allocation) Phaseout

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.


   The 6bone was established in 1996 by the IETF as an IPv6 Testbed
   network to enable various IPv6 testing as well as to assist in the
   transitioning of IPv6 into the Internet.  It operates under the IPv6
   address allocation 3FFE::/16 from RFC 2471.  As IPv6 is beginning its
   production deployment it is appropriate to plan for the phaseout of
   the 6bone.  This document establishes a plan for a multi-year
   phaseout of the 6bone and its address allocation on the assumption
   that the IETF is the appropriate place to determine this.

   This document obsoletes RFC 2471, "IPv6 Testing Address Allocation",
   December, 1998.  RFC 2471 will become historic.

1.  Introduction

   The 6bone IPv6 Testbed network was established in March 1996,
   becoming operational during the summer of 1996 using an IPv6 testing
   address allocation of 5F00::/8 [TEST-OLD] that used the original (and
   now obsolete) provider based unicast address format.  In July 1998, a
   new IPv6 Addressing Architecture [ARCH] replaced the original
   provider based unicast address format with the now standardized
   Aggregatable Global Unicast Address Format [AGGR].

   To allow the 6bone to operate under the revised IPv6 address
   architecture with the new Aggregatable Global Unicast addressing
   format, [TEST-OLD] was replaced with a new IPv6 testing address

Fink & Hinden                Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 3701                  6bone Phaseout Plan                 March 2004

   allocation" of 3FFE::/16 in [TEST-NEW].  During the fall of 1998, in
   anticipation of [AGGR], the 6bone was re-addressed under the
   3FFE::/16 prefix with little problems.

   From the fall of 1998, until the issuance of this note, the 6bone has
   continued to successfully operate with Aggregatable Global Unicast
   Address prefixes from the 3FFE::/16 allocation, using a set of 6bone
   routing practice rules specified in [GUIDE], and later refined to
   6Bone backbone routing guidelines in [PRACTICE].

   During its lifetime the 6bone has provided:

      - a place for early standard developers and implementers to test
        out the IPv6 protocols and their implementations;

      - a place for early experimentation with routing and operational

      - a place to evolve practices useful for production IPv6 prefix

      - a place to provide bootstrap qualification for production IPv6
        address prefix allocation;

      - a place to develop IPv6 applications;

      - a place for early users to try using IPv6 in their hosts and

   As clearly stated in [TEST-NEW], the addresses for the 6bone are
   temporary and will be reclaimed in the future.  It further states
   that all users of these addresses (within the 3FFE::/16 prefix) will
   be required to renumber at some time in the future.

   Since 1999 planning for, and allocation of, IPv6 production address
   prefixes by the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) community has been
   underway.  During 2002 more production IPv6 address prefixes had been
   allocated than are allocated by the 6bone at the top level.  It is
   generally assumed that this is one reasonable indicator that planning
   for a 6bone phaseout should begin.

   It is generally assumed that there is still some remaining need for
   the 6bone, at least for current usage that will take time to evaluate
   and possibly move to production IPv6 networks when possible.

   It is generally viewed that the 6bone is an IETF activity as it was
   established by IETF participants to assist the IETF in developing
   IPv6 protocols, and also to assist in the IPv6 transition.  To this

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RFC 3701                  6bone Phaseout Plan                 March 2004

   end, the [TEST-NEW] RFC specified that the 6bone testing was to be
   under the auspices of the IETF IPng Transition (ngtrans) Working
   Group 6bone testbed activity.  However, during 2002 the ngtrans
   working group was terminated and replaced to a certain degree by the
   v6ops working group, which did not include oversight of the 6bone in
   its charter.  Therefore it is assumed that it is appropriate to use
   the IETF Informational RFC process to determine a 6bone phaseout
   plan, as well as an appropriate way to get community feedback on the
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