Deploy360 18 April 2012

Where Are The IPv6-Only Wi-Fi Routers And Access Points?

By Dan YorkDirector, Internet Technology

Question ?In trying to set up an IPv6-only Wi-Fi network for a test environment in my home office, I ran across an interesting stumbling block:

You can’t turn IPv4 OFF on typical Wi-Fi access points or routers!

Now, this does make a certain degree of sense for consumer-grade equipment.  Providing such a setting is simply one more thing for someone to mess up – and generate support calls into the router manufacturer about how they can’t get on the network, can’t access email, etc., etc.  So I get it… the consumer equipment manufacturers are operating on commodity margins and need to minimize support inquiries.

It may also be quite honestly that… no one has asked for it!  We’ve been living in a world where IPv4 was the only option for so long that equipment product managers may not even be thinking about the desire for an IPv6-only Wi-Fi network.  “Why would you ever want to do that?”

But I do want to do that – and I imagine I’m not alone among those of us working on deploying IPv6. I want a Wi-Fi test network that is IPv6-only. No IPv4 at all.  Just IPv6… which then lets me connect to an IPv6 server and experiment with various different transition technologies.  Plus I get to see which apps work in an IPv6-only environment and which don’t.  I want a Wi-Fi network to experiment and play in the land of pure IPv6.

However, in searching online and looking through documentation of various Wi-Fi routers and access points, I’ve yet to find any off-the-shelf routers/APs that allow IPv4 to be disabled on an interface.

Yes, multiple people have suggested that I could hack the OpenWRT or DD-WRT code to roll my own AP without IPv4… and yes, I certainly could, and maybe that winds up being my only choice, but I’d personally rather hack on other projects than my Wi-Fi infrastructure.  However, that may be what I do.

Have any of you seen Wi-Fi routers or access points where you could disable IPv4 on the Wi-Fi network and only use IPv6?  Even better, an AP that lets me create multiple networks and have one of them be IPv6-only?

Or have any of you already hacked OpenWRT or similar code to be IPv6-only?

I’d love to hear what options folks have found (and would love to publicize them here).

Image credit: a_ninjamonkey on Flickr

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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