:: RFCs…whatever

…seems to be a sentiment shared by some of my students.

I taught a 3-day IPv6 class last week for faculty of 2- and 4-year schools in the Baltimore/D.C./Virginia area. In preparing for the class, I had a hard time finding current information on the subject. Sure, I found these (here and here and here), and others that had bits and pieces I was able to cobble together, but often times the material I found needed updating.

So I changed my preparation tactics. I needed resources that I knew were correct.  I wanted information that reflected the IPv6 design considerations, how the IPv6 address space is allocated to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the formats of the various addresses (e.g., global, link-local), etc., etc. That’s where the RFCs came in.

As Douglas Comer states in his landmark text, Internetworking with TCP/IP: Principles, Protocols, and Architecture (5th Edition): “Despite the inconsistencies in RFCs that sometimes make them difficult for beginners to understand, the RFC mechanism has evolved and now works extremely well. Because RFCs are available electronically, information is propagated to the community quickly. Because they span a broad range of interests, practitioners as well as designers contribute. Because they record informal conversations, RFCs capture discussions and not merely final conclusions. Even the disagreements and contradictory proposals are useful in showing what the designers considered before settling on a given protocol (and readers interested in the history of a particular idea or protocol can use RFCs to follow it from its inception to its current state).”

It’s this latter statement (in parentheses) that led my preparation. Let the RFCs inform yours.

:: CO

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