IPv6 Mobility


When a host is connected to one link or network, it acquires an IP address and all communication happens using that IP address on that link. As soon as, the same host changes its physical location, that is, moves into some different area / subnet / network / link, its IP address changes accordingly and all communication happening on the host using old IP address, goes down.

IPv6 mobility provides a mechanism which equips a host with an ability to roam around among different links without losing any communication/connection and its IP address.

Multiple entities are involved in this technology:

  • Mobile Node: The device which needs IPv6 mobility.

  • Home Link: This link is configured with the home subnet prefix and this is where the Mobile IPv6 device gets its Home Address.

  • Home Address: This is the address which Mobile Node acquires from Home Link. This is permanent address of Mobile Node. If the Mobile Node remains in the same Home Link, the communication among various entities happens as usual.

  • Home Agent: This is a router which acts as registrar for Mobile Nodes. Home Agent is connected to Home Link and maintains information about all Mobile Nodes, their Home Addresses and their present IP addresses.

  • Foreign Link: Any other Link which is not Mobile Node’s Home Link.

  • Care-of Address: When a Mobile Node attaches to a Foreign Link, it acquires a new IP address of that Foreign Link’s subnet. Home Agent maintains the information of both Home Address and Care-of Address. Multiple Care-of addresses can be assigned to Mobile Node, but at any instance only one Care-of Address has binding with Home Address.

  • Correspondent Node: Any IPv6 enable device which intends to have communication with Mobile Node.

Mobility Operation

When Mobile Node stays in its Home Link, all communications happen on its Home Address. As shown below:

[Image: Mobile Node connected to Home Link]

When Mobile Node leaves its Home Link and is connected to some Foreign Link, the Mobility feature of IPv6 comes into play. After connecting to Foreign Link, Mobile Node acquires an IPv6 address from Foreign Link. This address is called Care-of Address. Mobile Node sends binding request to its Home Agent with the new Care-of Address. Home Agent binds Mobile Node’s Home Address with Care-of Address, establishing a Tunnel between both.

Whenever a Correspondent Node tries to establish connection with Mobile Node (on its Home Address), the Home Agent intercepts the packet and forwards to Mobile Node’s Care-of Address over the Tunnel which was already established.

[Image: Mobile Node connected to Foreign Link]

Route Optimization

When a Correspondent Node initiate communication by sending packets to Mobile Node on Home Address, these packets are tunneled to Mobile Node by Home Agent. In Route Optimization mode, when the Mobile Node receives packet from Correspondent Node, it does not forward replies to Home Agent. Rather it sends its packet directly to Correspondent Node using Home Address as Source Address. This mode is optional and not used by default.