IPv6: Are we ready for it?

Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6 is our main topic today. We will discuss its main purpose, structure, and why it is so important.

Internet Protocol – definition

The Internet protocol, or IP, is a set of rules for online communication. It determines the format of data packets, which is the most efficient framework for transporting data across networks. It’s also in charge of employing IP addresses to route and address data packets delivered to their destination.

What is the purpose of IPv6?

IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) is a network layer protocol that enables communication and data transfer across the web. Internet Protocol Version 6 was created in 1998 with the primary intention of eventually replacing the IPv4 protocol. Despite this, the majority of organizations continue to use the earlier IPv4 standard. Since 2017, it has been an Internet Standard (IETF) to anticipate an increase in IPv6 usage in the near future.

What does it look like?

IPv6 addresses are made up of eight four-digit hexadecimal sequences. Colons are used to divide them altogether. In addition, each sequence represents 16 bits. The hexadecimal system includes sixteen characters, including the digits 0 through 9, as well as the letters “a,” “b,” “c,” “d,” “e,” and “f.”The following is an example for IPv6 address: 2008:5fe:7a5b:4025:1001:2013:5d6e:1a4f

Types of IPv6

IPv6 addresses come in various shapes and sizes, but it’s important to note that there are no broadcast addresses in Internet Protocol Version 6. Some of the most popular are as follows:

  • Unicast addresses – we use them to identify a single interface or individual node.
  • Anycast addresses – they define a group of interfaces, with a packet sent to an anycast address being routed to one of the group’s members.
  • Multicast – we use multicasts to send a single packet to multiple destinations simultaneously. As a result, all of the group’s interfaces receive a packet delivered to a multicast address.

Advantages of using IPv6

There are considerable benefits to implementing IPv6. The following are a few of them:

  • IP addresses are essential for domain name resolution if you own a network or a website. Perhaps you’re still using IPv4 and A DNS records to accomplish this. You will, however, sooner rather than later switch to IPv6 and AAAA.
  • To provide a variety of Internet services, such as web hosting, application hosting, etc.
  • For configuring network routing at work or at home. Older devices may not support the new Internet Protocol version 6. This may be the sole disadvantage.
  • IPv6 is compatible with the 5G Internet of the future. Now is the time to start planning for a smooth transition.

Conclusion

We’ll all be using IPv6 at some moment. So the sooner you realize the importance of Internet Protocol Version 6 and how to deploy it in your own networks, the better.

Anycast DNS and Unicast DNS: Contrasts & Comparison

Let’s examine the differences between Anycast DNS and Unicast DNS!

Anycast DNS

Anycast DNS involves multiple name servers that are positioned in different locations all over the world. All of them store and are able to provide the same IP address. Anycast DNS routes the users’ DNS requests to the nearest and available server. 

Unicast DNS

Unicast DNS includes just one name server holding the IP address and all of the DNS data (DNS records) of your domain name. That means all of the DNS requests are routed to this specific name server. Additionally, the location of the user does not matter because only this single server can provide the needed DNS information.

Contrasts

Anycast DNS and Unicast DNS have one major contrast.

Anycast DNS: The DNS resolver responsible for obtaining the DNS data for the requested hostname is configurated with one Anycast IP address for a particular group of name servers. That reduces the latency, and there are no delays because of non-responsive name servers. In addition, thanks to Anycast DNS, Points of Presence (PoPs) that are unreachable are automatically excluded, and the DNS resolver is directed to the closest best performing DNS server.

Unicast DNS: The DNS resolver could request the needed DNS data from a lot of different DNS name servers. It usually asks one of them and waits for its response, or there is a timeout. Only then the resolver proceeds and asks the second server. Therefore, that has the potential to create high latency. 

Anycast DNS and Unicast DNS: Comparison

Let’s compare Anycast DNS and Unicast DNS based on several criteria and factors. That way, you can easily understand which one is the preferred choice for you, and it is going to fit your needs.

Simple to implement: Using and installing Unicast could be easier due to the fact it involves one machine and one IP address. Yet, the incorporation of Anycast DNS is also not so difficult. In addition, with Unicast DNS, you are required to maintain an individual server. On the other hand, configuring several servers with Anycast DNS means a little bit more effort.

Safety and Security: It tends to be a little bit more risky to hold just one server with all of the DNS data (DNS records). If it crashes or it is under attack, you could experience losses. All of your clients are not going to be able to reach your website, which affects in a negative way your reputation and finances. When you implement Anycast DNS, you have multiple servers that can answer users’ requests. That means even if one of them crashes, the others will still be able to handle the incoming traffic.

Response time: If your visitors are waiting too much for a response, it won’t be a surprise if they leave your website. Even without exploring your website content! On the other hand, Anycast DNS acts quickly and significantly improves the response time.

Target market: Unicast DNS is a great choice, and it is going to fit perfectly anyone that offers services and products in a local market. Yet, if you want your business to grow, or you are operating already on a multinational level, then you should choose Anycast DNS.

DNS record types: Popular examples

In the Domain Name System, there are different DNS record types. Their primary function is to supply information about the domain and its IP address. So, if you want to learn more about them, you are in the right place. In this article, we will consider one of the most popular record types.

DNS record – what does it mean?

But before we see the different types, let’s explain what a DNS record is. They are text instructions kept in zone files that allow domain names to be resolved to IP addresses. They’re lightweight and straightforward to update, and their size varies based on the query type. However, because PCs aren’t human, they have to rely on records to understand and decode text. That is, they convert the text file into numbers that machines can read.

DNS record types

We mentioned above that there are many different types of DNS records. Each of them is strictly individual and has its specific characteristics and purpose. And here are the most fundamental and necessary DNS records you need to know:

SOA record

Every DNS zone requires a Start of Authority record or SOA record for short. Its purpose is to display the authoritative DNS zone’s principal source. So, the SOA album is an absolute must-have. Your DNS network will not be able to function correctly without it. It specifies which DNS server is the primary (master). It contains contact information for the DNS administrator. In addition, the SOA record contains important DNS zone characteristics such as the domain’s serial number and refresh rate. It’s also worth noting that each DNS zone should only have one SOA record.

A record

The A (Address) record is probably the most common of all DNS record types. The explanation for this is simple: it serves an exact and vital role. The A record connects the domain name to the IP address it corresponds to (IPv4). Therefore, people will only remember domain names instead of IP addresses in this case.

AAAA record

The AAAA record does the same task as the A record, except for connecting a domain name to an IPv6 address. The sixth version adds a slew of new IP addresses and a slew of other improvements. The AAAA records collaborate with the A records and are saved in the same zone.

PTR record

The PTR record, often known as a Pointer record, is another crucial DNS record. We use it for backchecks and perform the reverse of the A record. In addition, it connects a hostname to an IP address (IPv4 or IPv6). It’s essential because the rest of the servers in the globe may require proof that an IP address corresponds to a hostname before accepting a service, communicating, or taking any other action. As a result, we frequently use it in the host’s authentication.

MX record

The following essential DNS record type is the Mail Exchanger record. The primary purpose of MX record is to point the email server to receive emails for a specific domain name in the right direction. It contains the domain name that means the hostname of the incoming mail server. This type of record must point to a hostname rather than an IP address is extremely crucial.

CNAME record

And we come to the last necessary type of record. A CNAME record, also known as a Canonical record, is a means to make subdomain management easier. For example, you point a subdomain like www.example.org to example.org (without the www. portion), and you won’t have to add any additional records for that subdomain. So when a user wants to access your website, he types in the address bar only example.org. Instead, all subdomain queries will be directed to the main domain.

Conclusion

Congratulations, you are already familiar with the fundamental DNS record types. This is one small step towards successful and easy management of your Domain Name System. 

List of DNS Terms You Need to Know

Here is a list of some DNS terms that are essential for you to know and understand. They are going to help you manage your network more easily and be familiar with the terminology. So, let’s explain a little bit more about each one of the DNS terms!

DNS

The Domain Name System, or DNS for short, is a worldwide naming database. It translates domain names to IP addresses (IPv4 and IPv6). DNS is created with several levels in hierarchical order, and it is entirely decentralized. Thanks to it, we are not required to remember long and complex numbers (IP addresses) for each website. Instead, we use the domain names. 

DNS server

DNS servers are two different types – authoritative name servers and recursive name servers.

  • Authoritative name servers – They store DNS zones with zone files for the domains and answer DNS queries. Examples: TLD (Top Level Domain) servers and Root servers.
  • Recursive name servers – They travel and ask different servers for an answer to the DNS queries.

DNS zone

The DNS zone is a small segment of the DNS namespace. Every zone could be maintained by a separate DNS administrator. That is why the Domain Name System is decentralized. Domain and zone are not the same things. A domain could hold a single DNS zone, or it also can have several. 

DNS record

A DNS record is a simple text file that indicates an instruction for a domain. There are various DNS record types that have different purposes.

For instance, one shows the IP address (A or AAAA record), another shows a service, such as an email server that receives emails (MX record), and so on. 

DNS query

The DNS query is the behind-the-scenes process of obtaining different DNS records of a domain, such as searching for the IP address (A or AAAA record). Users generate DNS queries when they want to visit a particular website.

Anycast DNS 

Anycast DNS is a routing mechanism that speeds the DNS resolution process. It performs by setting an identical IP address in multiple name servers placed in diverse geographical locations. As a result, when a user makes a DNS query, it is going to receive an answer from the closest and available name server. 

Dynamic DNS 

Dynamic DNS is implemented for automatically updating your IP address every time it changes. In the most common scenario, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) switches your IP address to a different one. The reason for that is simple. They hold extensive networks, and such action helps them for easy management. It is a great idea to implement Dynamic DNS in case you have CCTV cameras for surveillance. 

DNS cache

DNS cache is a useful mechanism for storing DNS data (DNS records) of domain names that are previously queried. A lot of different devices use such cache memory mechanisms, for instance, mobiles, computers, tablets, and DNS recursive servers. The main goal of DNS cache is to reduce the needed time for resolving a domain name. Due to the implementation of such a mechanism, DNS recursive servers do not perform the entire DNS lookup process each time a specific domain name is requested. 

DNS propagation

DNS propagation refers to the amount of time that is needed for your new DNS changes to spread through the entire global network – the Internet. For instance, if you modify a DNS record (A or AAAA record) and change the IP address for a particular hostname. Usually, the DNS propagation process takes a couple of hours up to 72 hours to spread the new information in each server all around the world.