Tag: ndp

Solicited-node multicast address

Some time ago I was working on IPv6 implementation and in that period I wrote an article about NDP (you can read it here). After a while I received some comments that is not written very well so I reviewed a huge part of it. It looks my english was far worst two years ago that I was really aware of 🙂

In the reviewing process I realised that NDP usage of Solicited-Node multicast addresses was not clearly explained. This is the follow-up article which should explain how and why Solicited-Node multicast address are used in NDP. After all this kind of multicast addresses are there to enable IPv6 neighbor discovery function of NDP to work properly.

Let’s go!

Solicited-node multicast address is IPv6 multicast address used on the local L2 subnet by NDP Network Discovery Protocol. NDP uses that multicast address to be able to find out L2 link-local addresses of other nodes present on that subnet.

NDP replaces ARP

As we know, NDP in IPv6 networks replaced the ARP function from IPv4 networks. In IPv4 world ARP used broadcast to send this kind of discovery messages and find out about neighbours IPv4 addresses on the subnet. With IPv6 and NDP use of broadcast is not really a good solution so we use special type of multicast group addresses to which all nodes join to enable NDP communication.

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NDP – Neighbor Discovery Protocol

IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Protocol

In IPv6 we do not have ARP (address resolution protocol) anymore. ARP is replaced with ICMP based NDP protocol. NDP or ND protocol uses special IPv6 ICMP messages to find and resolve L2 neighbours IPv6 addresses.

It’s a simple way for hosts to learn IPv6 addresses of neighbours on L2 subnet around himself. That includes learning about other hosts and routers on local network. That is the biggest difference between IPv4 and IPv6, there’s no ARP but ICMP takes the function.

NDP is defined in RFC 2461 and this article will introduce you to NDP functions, main features’ lists, and the related ICMPv6 message types.

As the most precise description of NDP is that it belongs to the Link layer of the Internet Protocol suite in TCP/IP model. We can say that Link layer of TCP/IP model is basically a direct combination of the data link layer and the physical layer in the OSI Open Systems Interconnection protocol stack. As in this blog I always try to use OSI model this article was inserted both to Data-link and Physical layer category.

NDP function

In case of IPv6 networks, the NDP Protocol make use of ICMPv6 messages and solicited-node multicast addresses for operating its core function, which is tracking and discovering other IPv6 hosts that are present on the other side of connected interfaces. Another use of NDP is address autoconfiguration.

Let’s discuss some major roles of IPv6 NDP:

  • Stateless address autoconfiguration – SLAAC
  • Duplicate address detection DAD
  • Router discovery
  • Prefix discovery
  • Parameter discovery link MTU, hop limits 
  • Neighbor discovery
  • Neighbor address resolution – replaces ARP in IPv6
  • Neighbor and router reachability verification

In order to carry out work NDP uses five types of ICMPv6 messages. In the following list you can find the function as well as summary of their goals.

NDP message types:

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