Apple's Oh-so Quiet Implementation of IPv6
by , 3:35 PM EDT, August 20th, 2008
The modern Internet has always used the IPv4 schema for IP addresses. However, Apple is quietly using the IPv6 protocol to improve the operation and security of Back to My Mac, according to Dan Dilger at Roughly Drafted on Tuesday. More uses could be coming.
Using the pseudonym, Prince Mclean, the author looked that the use of IPv4 and NAT to solve the problem of limited addresses with IPv4 -- the Internet is running out of them.
Even so, despite government initiatives and the huge advantage of moving to IPv6, momentum on the Internet has made for slow adoption of this superior protocol, one that can provide literally billions of IP addresses fore every person on Earth.
While Apple alone cannot drive the widespread adoption of IPv6, it can utilized the advantages of IPv6 for its own products, especially since IPv6 has been built into Mac OS X since 10.3 Panther.
In Apple's Back to My Mac, Apple uses IPv6 tunneled in IPv4 using IPSec. That allows Leopard users to securely connect directly between two Macs anywhere on the Internet. One catch is that for this to work, the user's router has to support NAT-PMP, NAT "Port Mapping Protocol," a technology Apple developed and has released as an open standard, according to Mr. Dilger.
In this very illuminating article, Mr Dilger explained how Apple could invoke IPv6 for yet other products, giving Apple a chance to exercise leadership as well as silence critics that Apple is indifferent about security.
TMO notes that once Apple's competitors see that Apple is using IPv6 to its competitive advantage, the overall movement to IPv6 on the Internet will speed up dramatically -- to the benefit of all.