IPv6 PROTOCOL

1. Introduction.

The internet is a means of sending and storing information thanks to the level of communication and access to information. When we use the Internet to interact with applications, send or receive files, make purchases, etc., communication is established between our device and the various elements of the network; this is possible thanks to the Internet Protocol (IP).
The IP protocol is responsible for controlling the sending of packets using IP datagrams (transfer unit in IP networks). This protocol must be implemented at both the source and destination, as well as at intermediate nodes. It is at the source that the datagrams are sent based on the best-effort type of service, which ensures that the datagrams are received, without guaranteeing reliability. The reliability of sending and receiving these datagrams will be provided by the transport layer protocols, such as TCP. The currently existing versions of this protocol are IPv6 and IPv4. 7
The IP protocol was initially designed to perform communications between computers interconnected in a network. It is a set of rules that helps to route data packets so that they can move across networks and reach the correct destination.
When a computer tries to send information, it is broken down into smaller pieces, called packets. To ensure that all packets reach the right destination, each packet includes IP information. The other part of the puzzle is that each device or Internet domain is assigned an IP address that uniquely identifies it from other devices. The IP address you are most familiar with probably looks something like this: 32.253.431.175. By assigning each device an IP address, networks are able to efficiently route all these data packets and make sure they get to the right place. In other words and simply put, it is a protocol that helps computers/devices communicate with each other over a network. 3.
When the Internet was created, it relied on the IPv4 protocol, with a capacity of 4.29 billion IP addresses 8, but in less than 10 years the demand for addresses exceeded the expectations of growth, the exhaustion of these and to solve the lack of addresses the IPv6 protocol was created. Previously the Internet Protocol version 5 (IPv5) was developed, but it was an experimental protocol, since this protocol was oriented to improve the processing of audio, voice and video flow.
The Internet Protocol version 6 was designed to replace its predecessor IPv4, to date the protocol continues to add new features and is considered a sufficiently stable protocol to support the operation of the Internet.
For a better explanation of IPv6, it is important to explain what IPv4 consists of. IPv4 is the first version of IP to be used, it was launched in 1983, and is still the best known version for identifying devices on a network. It uses a 32-bit address that allows to store 2 ^ 32 addresses, which provides almost 4.3 billion unique addresses, although some blocks are reserved for special uses.
As mentioned above, IPv4 addresses are based on 32 bits, corresponding to 12 decimal digits. These IP addresses are composed of 4 sections of 8 bits each represented by 3 decimal digits and each section separated by a dot (.). Therefore, IPv4 addresses can only address a maximum of 4, 294, 967,296 host addresses. This is shown in the following image:

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Image 1. Structure of an IPv4 address. 10


The increase in the number of end users connected to the Internet has caused IPv4 addresses to run out. That is why the new Internet addressing system, IPv6, is being deployed to meet the need for more Internet addresses.
IPv6 was implemented in 1999 in response to the demand for IP addresses, this version allows communication and data transfer over the network. IPv6 is a 128-bit IP address that supports 2^128 Internet addresses in total. The use of IPv6 not only solves the problem of limited address resources, but also solves the barriers for multiple access devices to connect. An IPv6 address is written like this: 3ffe:1900:fe21:4545:0000:0000:0000:0000. Below is the image with the IPv6 address format 4:

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Image 2. IPv6 address format 10.


Some of the aspects of improvement of IPv6 over IPv4 are 7:
  • Increased number of addresses
  • Simplification of the header format in favor of reducing the cost of packet processing and to limit the bandwidth cost of the IPv6 header.
  • Improved support for extensions and options in number of headers.
  • Labels in datagrams to improve flow.
  • Authenticity and privacy.

Characteristics of IPv6

The IPv6 Internet Protocol Version 6 was developed by Steve Deering and Craig Mudge in 1994, and was subsequently adopted by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), additionally IPv6 is also known as IPng (IP Next Generation). The new protocol has the purpose of progressively replacing the IPv4 protocol currently in use by the Internet community, due to the limited number of IP addresses that does not make possible its growth in networks and services; the general characteristics of the new protocol are 6:

  • Packet size 128 bits.
  • Simplified base header and extension
  • Data flow identification, improved quality of service (QoS).
  • Anycast, Multicast and Unicast addressing.
  • Incorporates IPSec (IP Security) mechanisms into the protocol, whose security is at the protocol core level; therefore, packet loading is encrypted with IPSec.
  • Packet assembly source and destination fragmentation
  • End-to-end connectivity.
  • IPv6 offers improved authentication and privacy capabilities for the data it transmits because the packets that come from an origin are those indicated in the authentication header, whereas in IPv4, packets can come from origins other than those indicated in the header.
  • Interaction with neighboring nodes through ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol for IPv6).
  • Advanced security mechanisms on transmitted data.
  • High addressing space of approximately 340 Sextillion, 340 trillion addresses per square inch, 670 thousand trillion addresses per square meter.

IPv4 is currently the most widely used Internet protocol, although the popularity of IPv6 is increasing its adoption. IPv6 undoubtedly represents perhaps the most important change in the history of the Internet, as it is necessary for the network to continue developing in a secure and stable manner.

IPv6 Security Guidelines

The general guidelines recommended for IPv6 security are as follows:

  • The implementation phase of the IPv6 protocol must be structured based on the information security schemes, on which the Entities' confidentiality, integrity and availability policies are contemplated.
  • A back-up plan (Contingency Plan) must be defined in the event of service unavailability problems that may threaten the security of the Entities' information and communications when implementing the IPv6 protocol.
  • As with IPv4, in IPv6 it is recommended not to use literal IPv6 addresses in the development of software and in the use of libraries.
  • Generate the necessary documentation that takes into account the security aspects of the environment in communications systems, information systems and storage systems that arise from the development of IPv6 implementation.
  • To have several logical zones configured in the firewall for the IT infrastructure that are segmented for each of the services available in the organization, in order to guarantee maximum protection once the communications network begins to generate IPv6 traffic.
  • To have the appropriate human resources to verify and monitor the information security problems that may arise during the implementation and functionality testing phases.

These requirements apply at all levels and services but, as mentioned above, IPv6 has gradually gained ground over its predecessor, including cloud environments; for this purpose, it has certain guidelines that apply to the different cloud communications providers and the following aspects must be considered 6:

  • Preparation of a risk map and its implications (With the support of service providers).
  • Establishment of user identity control.
  • Adoption of information protection standards.
  • Review of virtualization schemes (if any).
  • Review of the type of cloud infrastructure that needs to be implemented to adapt it to IPv6 (hybrid, federated, private, public cloud, among others).
  • Adoption of data retention.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLA) with the service provider.
  • Connection through Virtual Private Networks - VPNs.
  • Use of complex keys.
  • Encrypted storage of information.
  • Evaluation of service standards.
  • Verification of service testing, i.e. guarantee that the channels and services in the cloud are working correctly.
  • The contracted service provider must offer a high reputation, since the information in the cloud can be in many parts of the world.
  • Establish information confidentiality agreements.

This is important to mention because there are currently 4.3 billion IP addresses serving 99.7% of the Web. At one time that number seemed sufficient to meet global demand. But with the growth of "Cloud Computing", the global proliferation of PCs and Smartphones, and the emergence of the "Internet of Things" which now has devices ranging from refrigerators to Internet-connected cars, most of these store information in the cloud or manage it.
The following section discusses the topic of implementation in Cloud Computing environments for a better understanding of the topic.

2. Cloud Computing

We can define cloud computing as a consumer-oriented distributed computing system, consisting of a collection of virtualized and interconnected computers that are dynamically provisioned and presented as one or more unified computational resources, according to agreements between the service provider and the consumer. 1.
Basically cloud computing consists of services offered through the network such as email, storage, application usage, etc., which are usually accessible through a web browser. When using these services, the information used and stored, as well as most of the required applications, are process and executed by a server on the Internet 2.
The development of cloud computing began through large Internet service companies such as Google and Amazon, which built their own infrastructure. From there, an architecture emerged: a system of horizontally distributed resources, introduced as massively scaled virtual information technology (IT) services and managed as pooled and continuously configured resources. The model of this architecture is based on "server farms", which were similar in their architecture to the "server farms". However, while grids are used for technical processing applications with a rather weak coupling (consisting of a system composed of subsystems with certain autonomy of action that maintain a continuous interrelationship between them forming a "virtual supercomputer" to perform large tasks), the cloud oriented its applications to Internet services. 2.

Characteristics.

For the cloud service it is not necessary to have a powerful computer, simply an internet connection, this thanks to the fact that there is no complex process and the files are stored in the cloud, since the servers are in charge of the complicated tasks that were previously performed locally.
Among the characteristics that we can find of Cloud Computing are 2:

  • Self-repairing: In case of failure, the last backup is automatically converted into a primary copy and a new one is generated.
  • Scalable: Its entire system and architecture is predictable and efficient.
  • Virtualization: applications are independent of the hardware on which they run, even several applications can run on the same machine or an application can use several machines at the same time.
  • It has a high level of security: The system is created in such a way that it allows different clients to share the infrastructure without worrying about it and without compromising their security and privacy; this is taken care of by the provider system that is in charge of encrypting the data.
  • Availability of the information: It is not necessary to save the documents edited by the user in his computer or in his own physical media since the information resides in the Internet allowing its access from any device connected to the network (with required authorization).

Cloud services and architecture.

The services and architecture offered through the cloud computing approach can be differentiated into three classes, forming a three-layer model, in which each one can be implemented using the services of the lower layer. In a second layer, the development platform can be offered as a service and finally in the third layer, applications can be offered as services, each of them are explained below 1:

  • Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS): Corresponds to the lowest layer, at this level resources such as servers, storage and communication are offered in the form of services. The user manages the resources by installing software, virtual disks -, permissions, etc. Amazon Web Services EC2 is an example of this type of service.
  • Platform As a Service (PaaS): This is the next layer, at this level cloud providers offer a development environment for the user to create and host their own applications and distribute them as a service without the infrastructure concerns. Microsoft's Windows Azure is an example of this type of service.
  • Software As a Service (SaaS): It is at the highest layer and consists of the delivery of complete applications distributed as a service and accessed on demand. Users do not need to maintain their own infrastructure or install software, since the application and its associated data are accessed via the Internet, through browsers running a thin client. Google Apps is an example of this type of service.

This is shown in the following image:

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Image 3. Cloud services. 2

Virtualization in the cloud.

Virtualization is a fundamental element in the optimal development of cloud computing, and is mainly focused on the platform. Virtualization allows one server to be treated as many servers. Another method used is clustering, which consists of treating many servers as one. This allows many improvements such as 2 :

  • Reduction of space and consumption costs.
  • Rapid incorporation of new resources for virtualized servers.
  • Centralized and simplified global administration.
  • Easy creation of test environments that allow new applications to be launched without stopping development, speeding up the testing process.
  • Isolation, a failure in the virtual machine does not affect the others.

Cloud implementation or deployment models.

With the independence of the service model used (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) there are four main ways in which cloud services are deployed and characterized with additional deployment models, which are 5:

  • Public cloud: is made available or available to the general public or an industry group and is owned by an organization that sells the cloud services.
  • Private cloud: infrastructure is managed solely for one organization or a third party and can exist either on-premises or off-premises.
  • Nube Comunitaria: the infrastructure is shared by a number of organizations and supports a specific community that has similar concerns, e.g. security requirements, policies, etc. It can be managed by the organizations or a third party and can exist on- or off-premises.
  • Hybrid cloud: infrastructure is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that are maintained as separate entities but are linked by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability.

The above is simplified in the following image:

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Image 4. Cloud operation. 10

Cloud computing is becoming more solid and stable every day, providing solutions that are increasing in such a way that every day more and more users are using it and integrating it into their work environment.
The use of the IPv6 protocol in support of the cloud is explained below, and two management projects that implement these two services are mentioned.

3. IPv6-based wireless sensor network for remote crop monitoring at the La Pradera farm of the Universidad Técnica del Norte.

The implementation of a wireless sensor network (WSN) through Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), allows remote and real-time monitoring of environmental factors of short-cycle crops at the La Pradera farm of the Universidad Técnica del Norte. Having real-time monitoring of environmental factors allows the crop manager to have reliable information as a basis for decision making, possibly to schedule controlled irrigation; the benefit grows even more if you take advantage of the existence of platforms as a cloud service (PaaS) that allow viewing this data from any smart device with Internet access through a web browser. The features of the new protocol in its version 6 are extended addressing capability, header format simplification and improved support for extensions and options 9
Before addressing this work proposal in depth, it is briefly explained what the wireless sensor network or WSN consists of, this is a wireless network of census devices. WSNs are distributed systems made up of low power consumption devices, with census and communication capabilities. The devices that make up these networks are called sensor nodes or motes and are limited in their computational and communication capacity. However, they work collaboratively to carry information from one point to another in the network by transmitting messages 9
Having explained the above, we proceed to explain in detail what the project consists of.
The architecture of the proposed system is divided into two main stages:

  1. The WSN, comprises a meshed network topology, the sensor nodes, server node and the embedded operating system Contiki, a routing protocol RPL and data transmission via the IEEE 802.15.4 standard.
  2. Te cloud: comprises the Gateway and the PaaS platform, specifically an Openshift platform that has an integrated Apache web server, MySQL database and phpMyAdmin database manager, with PHP-HTML programming languag

Image 5 shows the system architecture consisting of 3 sensor nodes, a server node, Gateway and power supply by means of solar panels:

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Image 5. System architecture. 9

The power connection scheme is shown in image 6, The hardware devices implemented are: ARDUINO UNO operating with a voltage of 12V (being able to operate with voltages between 6V and 20V), and through a USB SHIELD HOST attached to the Arduino, TelosB sensor nodes operating with voltages between 2.1 V and 3.6 V are connected and powered.

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Image 6. Schematic diagram of the connection of the DC power supply to the sensor node. 9

The sensor nodes allow the collection and transmission of environmental parameters through the use of internal and external sensors, working together with an Arduino UNO, its USB shield and the solar energy source (solar panel + voltage regulator + rechargeable battery). All these devices are located at a height of 1.5m and at an average distance between nodes of 50 meters, with the objective of maintaining an optimal level of communication between nodes, in a monitoring area of 4700 square meters; in addition, the sensor nodes have been installed inside a protection box with their respective adaptations so that they are not damaged when placed outdoors, as shown in image 7. 9

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Image 7. Installed sensor nodes (left) and Components of a connected sensor node (right) 9

Figure 8 shows the hardware of a node where the temperature sensor and the solar radiation sensors are located.

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Image 8. Identification of the temperature and solar radiation sensor in an installed sensor node. 9

The server node will be located inside a protected physical space and interacting directly with the Gateway to deliver the data received from its sensor nodes. The Gateway will also be located in a covered space attached to the monitor and functioning as the communication interface between the WSN/6LoWAPAN and the system servers. The monitor system is mounted on the Gateway for local monitoring and replicated on a PAAS platform for remote monitoring 9
In the system architecture, a software is developed that allows the monitoring of crop environmental variables, which consists of a web server and database hosted on a PaaS platform, which users access under authentication requests to visualize sensor measurements and alarm generation. Image 9 shows the interaction between the user and the architecture.

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Image 9. Monitoring system architecture. 9

To access the monitoring system either locally or remotely the following is required:

  • To have a Smart device (Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop, PC, etc.) that has any type of web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.), if you want a local monitoring you must be connected to the internal network of the farm and for a remote monitoring you must have internet connection.
  • Have updated adobe flash player plug-ins for the web browser to be used and any other graphic plug-ins to be able to visualize the graphic interface of the software without any inconvenience.
  • Enter through a web browser to the following web address http://6lowpan.donweb-homeip.net:8080/6lowpan/.

Once authenticated, the sensor node monitoring interface opens, displaying representative graphs (developed with plugins) of the different values monitored by each node and extracted from the system database, as shown in image 10.

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Image 10. Monitoring interface. 9

Cost-benefit analysis.

The cost is the amount of investment required for the project, in terms of equipment, infrastructure and engineering. Regarding equipment, all the hardware involved in the WSN/6LoWPAN and the gateway are taken into account, referencing real costs at the end-consumer level, which are shown in image 11.

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Image 11. Equipment cost table. 9

Infrastructure costs include electricity consumption for the gateway, sensor node cases and supports, and the cost of internet service, which are shown in Figure 12. Engineering costs include the fees of the person in charge of the system design and the field study, which is assessed according to the difficulty of access and climatic conditions where the project will be executed (Image 13).

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Image 12. Reference cost of infrastructure. 9

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Image 13. Engineering cost benchmark. 9

The benefit in economic terms would be understood as direct monetary income produced by the project as such, but in this case the benefits will be interpreted in relational terms between economic, social, educational and environmental, since the project will influence the optimization of production and care of short-cycle crops, making timely decisions based on monitoring data. Image 14 shows the estimated benefits that will be obtained with the IPv6-based Wireless Sensor Network for remote crop monitoring at the La Pradera farm of the Universidad Técnica del Norte.

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Image 14. Estimated benefits. 9

Finally and in conclusion, the use of wireless sensor networks in terms of monitoring not only have an impact on agriculture, but also in industrial, medical, environmental, etc. and taking advantage of its features such as low power consumption, scalability, high durability, power supply by solar panels, make these networks an ecological alternative, with almost no environmental impact and affordable cost when choosing them as a solution to a particular problem 9.

Bibliografía
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4. FS Comunidad. (18 de julio de 2018). FS Comunidad. Obtenido de ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre IPv4 y IPv6?: https://community.fs.com/es/blog/ipv4-vs-ipv6-whats-the-difference.html
5. Hernandez Quintero, N., & Florez Fuente, A. S. (diciembre de 2014). Computacion en la nube. Mundo Fesc, 4(8), 46-51. Obtenido de https://www.fesc.edu.co/Revistas/OJS/index.php/mundofesc/article/view/48
6. MinTic. (2017). Guía de aseguramiento del Protocolo IPv6. MicTic, 50. Recuperado el 28 de marzo de 2021, de https://www.mintic.gov.co/gestionti/615/articles-5482_G19_Aseguramiento_protocolo.pdf
7. Muñoz Flores, E. (2018). Exploración de Dominios que ofrecen Servicios Web mediante IPV6 en España. [Trabajo de Fin de Grado ]. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, España. Obtenido de https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/handle/10016/28864
8. Olvera Cuellar, M. (06 de junio de 2019). MILENIO. Obtenido de Historia y transición del protocolo IPv4 a IPv6: https://www.milenio.com/opinion/varios-autores/universidad-politecnica-de-tulancingo/historia-y-transicion-del-protocolo-ipv4-a-ipv6.
9. Tambaco Suarez, E., Maya Olalla, E., Peluffo Ordoñez, D., Dominguez Limaico, H., & Michilena Calderon, J. (diciembre de 2016). Red Inalámbrica de sensores basados en IPv6 para el monitoreo remoto de cultivos en la granja de la Pradera de la Universidad Técnica del Norte. Recuperado el marzo de 2021, de https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311921960_Red_Inalambrica_de_Sensores_basados_en_IPv6_para_el_monitoreo_remoto_de_cultivos_en_la_granja_La_Pradera_de_la_Universidad_Tecnica_del_Norte.
10. Own elaboration, 2021.
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