Michael C. McKay

Exploring the Ins and Outs of IPv6 Neighbor Discovery: A Comprehensive Guide

Address Resolution Protocol, IPv6 networks, neighbor cache, neighbor discovery, Resolution Protocol

Understanding Ipv6 neighbor discovery: Everything you need to know

The Internet Protocol version 6 (Ipv6) has been developed to overcome the limitations of its predecessor, Ipv4, and ensure the continued growth of the internet. One of the key components of Ipv6 is the neighbor discovery protocol (NDP), which plays a crucial role in facilitating communication and maintaining connectivity within Ipv6 networks.

Neighbor discovery is responsible for several important functions, including address resolution, duplicate address detection, router discovery, and parameter discovery. These functions are essential for devices on an Ipv6 network to correctly identify and communicate with each other.

Unlike the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) used in Ipv4 networks, Ipv6 neighbor discovery uses a combination of multicast and unicast messages to perform address resolution. When a device wants to communicate with a neighbor on the same network, it sends an NDP message to the all-nodes multicast address, and the intended neighbor responds with its link-layer address (MAC address). This process eliminates the need for ARP tables and reduces the chances of packet loss due to ARP timeouts.

Neighbor discovery also plays a crucial role in ensuring the security of Ipv6 networks. By verifying the authenticity of the neighbor’s messages and the integrity of the communication, Ipv6 neighbor discovery enables secure routing and protects against various attacks, such as neighbor spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks.

What is Ipv6 neighbor discovery?

IPv6 neighbor discovery is a protocol used in IPv6 networks to facilitate communication between devices and ensure proper addressing and connectivity. It replaces the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) used in IPv4 networks.

Neighbor discovery allows devices in an IPv6 network to discover and learn the link-layer (MAC) addresses of their neighbors. It is responsible for resolving network layer addresses to link layer addresses, enabling devices to efficiently communicate with each other.

The process of neighbor discovery involves the exchange of packets between neighboring devices. These packets carry information about the devices’ network layer addresses and their corresponding link layer addresses. This information is stored in a neighbor cache, which is maintained by each device in the network.

One of the key benefits of IPv6 neighbor discovery is improved security. It includes mechanisms for securing the neighbor discovery process, mitigating potential security threats such as address spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks. It also provides monitoring capabilities to detect and prevent unauthorized network access.

Neighbor discovery is essential for routing and forwarding packets in an IPv6 network. It enables routers to learn the link-layer addresses of devices on different network segments and build routing tables based on this information. This, in turn, ensures efficient packet delivery and minimizes packet loss.

In summary, IPv6 neighbor discovery plays a crucial role in facilitating communication, ensuring proper addressing and connectivity, enhancing security, and enabling efficient routing in IPv6 networks.

Importance of Ipv6 neighbor discovery

Ipv6 neighbor discovery is a crucial aspect of networking and plays a significant role in the functioning of Ipv6 protocol. It is responsible for the identification and communication between devices in an Ipv6 network, ensuring smooth routing, addressing, and connectivity.

One of the primary functions of neighbor discovery is the determination of link-layer addresses for devices on the same network segment. This eliminates the need for traditional protocols like ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) used in Ipv4. The neighbor discovery protocol allows devices to discover the layer 2 (MAC) addresses of their neighboring devices, enabling efficient communication and reducing overhead.

Neighbor discovery also facilitates the auto-configuration of Ipv6 addresses, eliminating the need for manual configuration. It allows devices to assign unique Ipv6 addresses to themselves automatically, improving network management and scalability. This dynamic address assignment ensures efficient utilization of address space.

Another crucial aspect of neighbor discovery is its role in maintaining network security. It provides mechanisms for detecting and preventing unauthorized devices from joining the network. Through neighbor solicitation and advertisement messages, devices can discover and validate the presence of trusted neighbors, ensuring secure communication and protecting against potential threats.

The neighbor discovery protocol is also essential for troubleshooting and diagnosing network issues. By exchanging neighbor solicitation and advertisement messages, devices can verify connectivity, detect faulty links, and identify packet loss. This information helps network administrators in identifying and resolving network problems, improving overall network performance.

In summary, Ipv6 neighbor discovery is critical for efficient communication, network management, security, and troubleshooting in Ipv6 networks. Its functions, such as link-layer address resolution, auto-configuration, security validation, and network diagnostics, contribute significantly to the smooth operation of Ipv6 networks.

How does Ipv6 neighbor discovery work?

Ipv6 neighbor discovery is a protocol that enables devices on an IPv6 network to communicate with each other and discover each other’s presence. It is a fundamental part of IPv6 networking and plays a crucial role in maintaining network connectivity and addressing.

The neighbor discovery protocol operates at the link layer of the TCP/IP protocol stack and uses Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) messages to perform various functions. It replaces the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) used in IPv4 networks.

The main functions of IPv6 neighbor discovery include:

  • Neighbor Unreachability Detection: It helps in detecting if a neighbor is still reachable or if the link to the neighbor has failed. This helps in maintaining routing and packet loss prevention.
  • Address Autoconfiguration: Devices can automatically configure their IPv6 addresses without the need for manual configuration or DHCP.
  • Router Discovery: Devices can discover routers on the network and obtain information about default routers and routing prefixes.
  • Address Resolution: Similar to ARP in IPv4, it helps in mapping IPv6 addresses to MAC addresses for communication on the local link.
  • Duplicate Address Detection: It ensures that duplicate IPv6 addresses are not assigned to multiple devices on the network, preventing address conflicts.
  • Redirect Messages: Routers can inform devices about better routes to a particular destination, improving network efficiency.

During the neighbor discovery process, devices exchange ICMPv6 messages to discover and learn about each other. This enables them to establish connectivity, update routing tables, and ensure efficient communication between devices in an IPv6 network.

Solicitation and advertisement

Solicitation and advertisement are two important concepts in the context of the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery protocol. They are used for communication and address resolution between devices in IPv6 networks.

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Solicitation

In the context of IPv6 neighbor discovery, solicitation refers to the process of a device sending a request for information to its neighbors. This request is sent as an ICMPv6 Neighbor Solicitation packet. The solicitation packet contains the IPv6 address of the target device for which the requesting device is seeking information. It also includes the MAC address of the requesting device, allowing the target device to respond directly to the requesting device.

Solicitation is used in a variety of scenarios, such as when a device wants to resolve the IPv6 address to MAC address mapping of a specific neighbor, or when a device wants to discover the presence of a specific neighbor in its local network.

Advertisement, on the other hand, refers to the process of a device broadcasting information about its own presence and services to its neighbors. This is done using ICMPv6 Neighbor Advertisement packets. The advertisement packet contains the IPv6 address and MAC address of the advertising device, allowing other devices to update their neighbor tables and establish communication with the advertising device.

Advertisement is used when a device wants to inform its neighbors about its existence, availability of services, or changes in its network configuration. This allows for efficient routing and communication within the network, reducing packet loss and ensuring proper addressing and routing of packets.

In summary, solicitation and advertisement are essential mechanisms in the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery protocol for devices to communicate, resolve addressing, establish neighbor relationships, and maintain efficient routing within IPv6 networks. These processes contribute to the security and stability of communication in IPv6 networks.

Address resolution and ICMPv6 messages

Address resolution is a key process in ensuring communication and connectivity between devices in IPv6 networks. It involves the mapping of IP addresses to MAC addresses, similar to the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) used in IPv4.

In IPv6, address resolution is performed through the use of ICMPv6 messages. ICMPv6 defines a set of messages that allow devices to discover and communicate with their neighbors on the network. These messages are crucial for establishing and maintaining connectivity in IPv6 networks.

When a device needs to communicate with a neighbor, it sends an ICMPv6 Neighbor Solicitation message to the specific IPv6 address. This message includes the neighbor’s IPv6 address and the sender’s MAC address. The neighbor will respond with an ICMPv6 Neighbor Advertisement message, which includes its IPv6 address and MAC address. This exchange allows the sender to learn the MAC address of its neighbor and establish a connection.

ICMPv6 messages are important for addressing and routing packets in IPv6 networks. They enable devices to discover and communicate with their neighbors, ensuring efficient and accurate packet routing. Without proper address resolution, packets may be lost or routed incorrectly, resulting in communication issues and potential packet loss.

Address resolution and ICMPv6 messages play a crucial role in the functioning of IPv6 networks. By enabling devices to discover and communicate with their neighbors, they ensure the proper addressing and routing of packets, leading to efficient and reliable communication between devices.

Router discovery and neighbor unreachability detection

In an IPv6 network, devices use the Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) to discover routers and maintain connectivity with their neighbors. Router discovery is an essential process that allows devices to learn about the availability of routers on the network, which is crucial for efficient routing of packets.

ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) is not used in IPv6 for neighbor discovery. Instead, the IPv6 protocol uses ICMPv6 (Internet Control Message Protocol version 6) for this purpose. When a device wants to find a router on the network, it sends a Neighbor Solicitation message to the multicast address. This message contains the device’s IPv6 address and MAC address.

The router, upon receiving the Neighbor Solicitation message, responds with a Neighbor Advertisement message. This message includes the router’s MAC address, allowing the device to update its neighbor cache with the router’s information. This process enables the device to send packets to the router using the correct MAC address.

Neighbor unreachability detection is another important aspect of neighbor discovery in IPv6. It ensures that devices can detect if a neighbor is no longer reachable. This detection is essential for maintaining connectivity and avoiding packet loss.

Neighbor unreachability detection works by periodically sending Neighbor Solicitation messages to the router’s IPv6 multicast address. If the device doesn’t receive a Neighbor Advertisement in response, it considers the neighbor as unreachable. This triggers further actions, such as updating the neighbor cache and potentially selecting an alternative router for routing packets.

Router discovery and neighbor unreachability detection are crucial for the proper functioning of IPv6 networks. They ensure the availability of routers for efficient routing and maintain the connectivity and communication between devices. Additionally, they contribute to the security of the network by allowing devices to detect unreachable neighbors and prevent potential routing issues.

Ipv6 neighbor discovery vs Ipv4 ARP

IPv6 Neighbor Discovery

Neighbor discovery is a protocol used in IPv6 networks to determine the link-layer addresses of neighboring nodes on the same network segment. It replaces the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) used in IPv4 networks. The neighbor discovery protocol allows IPv6 devices to discover and maintain information about their neighboring devices without relying on manual configuration or static entries.

IPv6 neighbor discovery uses a combination of multicast and unicast messages to perform tasks such as address resolution, duplicate address detection, and router discovery. It enables devices to dynamically learn and update the link-layer addresses of neighboring devices, ensuring efficient and secure communication.

The protocol operates on the network layer, allowing devices to discover neighbors and communicate seamlessly without the need for additional circuits or infrastructure.

IPv4 ARP

IPv4 ARP

Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is used in IPv4 networks to map an IP address to a MAC address. When a device wants to communicate with another device on the same network, it uses ARP to determine the MAC address of the destination device.

ARP works by broadcasting a request message to all devices on the network, asking the device that has the requested IP address to respond with its MAC address. Once the MAC address is obtained, the sender can build an Ethernet frame and send the packets to the correct destination device.

Unlike IPv6 neighbor discovery, ARP does not have built-in security mechanisms. It relies on the assumption that devices will not falsify their MAC addresses. This lack of security opens up the possibility of ARP spoofing attacks, where malicious devices can manipulate the ARP process to intercept or redirect network traffic.

In summary, IPv6 neighbor discovery provides a more efficient and secure solution for neighbor and router discovery in IPv6 networks compared to the traditional IPv4 ARP protocol. It allows devices to dynamically discover and maintain information about their neighbors, ensuring seamless communication and reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities such as ARP spoofing.

Differences in addressing

In IPv6, devices are assigned unique addresses based on a 128-bit hexadecimal representation. Unlike IPv4, which uses a 32-bit addressing scheme, IPv6 provides a much larger address space, allowing for a virtually unlimited number of devices to be connected to the network.

The addressing format in IPv6 is represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons. It allows for a total of 2^128 possible addresses, providing ample room for the growth of networks and devices.

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In addition to the expanded address space, IPv6 also introduces changes to the way devices discover and communicate with their neighbors. In IPv4, the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is used to map IPv4 addresses to their corresponding MAC addresses. This process is essential for devices to establish connectivity and communicate with each other.

However, in IPv6, a new protocol called Neighbor Discovery is used for the same purpose. Neighbor Discovery allows devices to discover and maintain a list of neighbor IPv6 addresses and their corresponding MAC addresses. This protocol is more efficient and secure than ARP, as it reduces packet loss and provides enhanced security features.

With the use of Neighbor Discovery, routers are able to discover other routers on the network and exchange routing information. This enables efficient routing of IPv6 packets and ensures optimal connectivity between devices and networks.

In summary, the addressing in IPv6 is different from IPv4, as it provides a larger address space and introduces the use of Neighbor Discovery protocol for neighbor communication and addressing resolution. These changes in addressing and neighbor discovery enhance the scalability, security, and overall efficiency of IPv6 networks.

Improved functionality and efficiency

The neighbor discovery protocol in IPv6 has significantly improved the functionality and efficiency of routing and connectivity in networks. Unlike the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) used in IPv4, which relies on broadcast packets to map IP addresses to MAC addresses, IPv6 uses neighbor discovery to efficiently locate and communicate with neighboring devices on the same network.

Neighbor discovery in IPv6 allows devices to automatically discover and maintain a cache of neighboring nodes’ IP and MAC addresses. This eliminates the need for constant broadcast and reduces network traffic, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced packet loss.

In addition to its efficiency improvements, neighbor discovery also provides enhanced security features. It includes mechanisms for address resolution, duplicate address detection, and neighbor unreachability detection. These security features help prevent unauthorized access to the network and ensure the integrity of communication.

With neighbor discovery, routers can efficiently determine the neighboring devices on their directly connected networks. This enables routers to make informed routing decisions, resulting in optimized packet forwarding and reduced latency.

Neighbor discovery also simplifies the addressing process in IPv6 networks. It allows devices to automatically assign link-local addresses to themselves, facilitating communication within the local subnet without the need for manual configuration. This automatic addressing eliminates potential human errors and reduces the administrative overhead of managing IP addresses.

Furthermore, neighbor discovery allows for efficient communication between devices on the same network by utilizing routing and neighbor advertisement messages. These messages provide information about the available services, capabilities, and addresses of neighboring devices. This information enables efficient communication between devices, reducing the need for manual configuration.

In summary, neighbor discovery in IPv6 has significantly improved the functionality and efficiency of routing, connectivity, and communication in networks. It offers enhanced security features, simplifies the addressing process, and enables optimized packet forwarding. By reducing network traffic and eliminating the reliance on broadcast packets, neighbor discovery enhances the overall performance and reliability of IPv6 networks.

Common issues and troubleshooting

1. Neighbor discovery failures

1. Neighbor discovery failures

One of the most common issues related to IPv6 neighbor discovery is failures in the discovery process. This can lead to a lack of connectivity between devices on the network. One possible cause for this is security settings that block neighbor discovery messages or packets.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can check the security settings on routers and devices to ensure that neighbor discovery packets are allowed. Additionally, you can verify that the neighbor discovery protocol is properly configured and enabled on all relevant devices.

2. MAC and ARP mismatches

Another issue that can affect IPv6 neighbor discovery is MAC and ARP mismatches. This can occur when the MAC address and ARP table entries for a particular neighbor do not match. This can result in communication problems, such as packet loss or routing issues.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can check the MAC address and ARP table entries on devices to ensure they are consistent. If there are mismatches, you can try clearing the ARP cache and updating the MAC address information to resolve the issue.

3. Network connectivity problems

Issues with network connectivity can also be related to IPv6 neighbor discovery. If devices are unable to connect to the network, it may be due to neighbor discovery problems. This can result in a lack of communication between devices and an inability to send or receive packets.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can check the neighbor table on routers to verify that the proper neighbor entries are present. You can also check the routing tables to ensure that routes are properly configured for IPv6 connectivity. Additionally, you can test connectivity between devices using tools like ping or traceroute to identify any network connectivity issues.

4. Neighbor cache overflow

Another common issue that can arise with IPv6 neighbor discovery is neighbor cache overflow. This occurs when the neighbor cache on a router or device cannot accommodate all the neighbor entries for a particular network. This can lead to problems with routing and connectivity.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can check the neighbor cache size and adjust it if necessary to accommodate more neighbor entries. Additionally, you can configure aging timers for the neighbor cache to remove stale entries and free up space for new ones.

5. Protocol compatibility issues

Finally, compatibility issues between different IPv6 neighbor discovery protocols can also lead to connectivity problems. If devices are using different versions or implementations of the protocol, they may not be able to properly communicate and discover neighbors on the network.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can check the versions and implementations of the neighbor discovery protocol used by different devices. If there are compatibility issues, you may need to update or configure the devices to use compatible versions or implementations to ensure proper communication.

In conclusion, understanding common issues and troubleshooting methods related to IPv6 neighbor discovery is essential for maintaining efficient and reliable network communication. By addressing these issues promptly and effectively, you can ensure smooth and uninterrupted connectivity between devices on IPv6 networks.

Neighbor cache overflow

Neighbor cache overflow is a common issue in IPv6 networks that can lead to disruption in communication and affect the overall connectivity of devices on the network. The neighbor cache is an essential component of the Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) in IPv6, responsible for storing and managing neighbor information such as IPv6 addresses and associated link-layer addresses (MAC addresses).

When the neighbor cache becomes full, either due to the excessive number of neighbor entries or due to limited cache size, it can result in various problems. One of the main consequences is the potential loss of packets as the router or device is unable to store new neighbor entries. This packet loss can disrupt communication between devices and may lead to degraded performance or even connectivity issues.

In addition to packet loss, a neighbor cache overflow can also impact the security of the network. The NDP relies on the neighbor cache to validate and verify address bindings between IPv6 addresses and MAC addresses. When the cache is full, the ability to authenticate neighbor information becomes compromised, potentially allowing unauthorized devices to gain access to the network.

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To mitigate neighbor cache overflow, network administrators can take several steps. Increasing the size of the neighbor cache can help accommodate a larger number of neighbor entries. Monitoring the cache utilization and clearing stale or unnecessary entries can also improve its efficiency. Additionally, implementing rate-limiting mechanisms can prevent excessive neighbor solicitations and advertisements, which may contribute to cache overflow.

In conclusion, neighbor cache overflow can have significant implications for the performance and security of IPv6 networks. By understanding the causes and taking appropriate measures to prevent or address this issue, network administrators can ensure smoother routing and reliable communication between devices.

Router advertisement problems

Router advertisement is a vital part of the IPv6 neighbor discovery process, allowing devices on a network to automatically discover and communicate with neighboring routers. However, there can be various problems that can arise with router advertisement, affecting the connectivity and communication within a network.

Packet loss and connectivity issues

One common problem is packet loss during the router advertisement process. If the router advertisement packets are not successfully transmitted or received, devices may not be able to discover the neighboring routers, leading to connectivity problems. This can result in devices being unable to communicate with other devices or access resources on the network.

ARP cache issues

ARP cache issues

The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache, which maps IP addresses to MAC addresses, can also be affected by router advertisement problems. If the router advertisement process is not functioning correctly, devices may not be able to update their ARP cache with the correct MAC addresses of the neighboring routers. This can lead to communication issues and potentially disrupt the routing of packets within the network.

Security concerns

Router advertisement problems can also pose security risks for a network. If the router advertisement process is compromised or not secure, malicious actors may be able to intercept or manipulate the router advertisement packets. This can lead to unauthorized access to the network, packet spoofing, and other potential security breaches.

Routing table inconsistencies

If the router advertisement process is not functioning correctly, it can result in inconsistencies in the routing tables of devices on the network. Devices may receive conflicting or incorrect routing information from neighboring routers, leading to routing loops or suboptimal routing decisions. This can impact the overall performance and efficiency of the network.

Interoperability issues

Router advertisement problems can also arise when there are interoperability issues between different devices or networks using different versions of the routing protocols. This can result in devices not being able to properly interpret or respond to the router advertisement packets, leading to communication failures and difficulties in establishing network connectivity.

In conclusion, router advertisement problems can significantly impact the functioning of IPv6 neighbor discovery and the overall communication and connectivity within a network. It is essential for network administrators to diagnose and resolve these issues promptly to ensure the smooth operation of their networks and maintain security and efficiency in addressing and routing within the network.

Firewall and security concerns

Addressing and communication

Firewalls play a crucial role in securing communication between devices in an IPv6 network. With the increase in the number of devices and the complexity of IPv6 addressing, firewalls need to be configured to understand and inspect IPv6 packets. This is particularly important to ensure that packets are properly routed and that any potential security vulnerabilities are detected and prevented.

Protocol and neighbor discovery

Protocol and neighbor discovery

Firewalls need to be aware of the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP), which is responsible for discovering other devices on the network and maintaining neighbor relationships. The firewall needs to allow the necessary NDP messages to pass through to ensure proper connectivity and routing. However, it should also be configured to prevent any unauthorized neighbor discovery attempts, as this could potentially lead to security breaches.

Security and packet filtering

Firewalls can be used to enforce security policies by filtering incoming and outgoing packets. This is crucial in protecting against unauthorized access and preventing potential attacks. Firewalls should be configured to inspect IPv6 packets and apply appropriate filtering rules based on the security requirements of the network. This can help prevent malicious traffic from reaching devices and ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data.

MAC-based filtering and device security

Firewalls can also provide MAC-based filtering, allowing or denying access to devices based on their MAC addresses. This can help prevent unauthorized devices from joining the network and ensure that only trusted devices are allowed to communicate. Additionally, firewalls can implement other security measures such as intrusion detection and prevention systems to detect and block any suspicious activities.

Packet loss and performance

Packet loss and performance

While firewalls are essential for securing IPv6 networks, it’s important to consider the impact on performance. Improperly configured firewalls or overly strict filtering rules can lead to packet loss and decreased connectivity. It is crucial to strike a balance between security and network performance to ensure that the firewall does not become a bottleneck in the network.

Conclusion

Firewalls play a critical role in securing IPv6 networks by providing protection against unauthorized access and potential attacks. They need to be properly configured to understand IPv6 addressing, allow necessary neighbor discovery messages, and enforce filtering rules based on the network’s security requirements. By implementing these security measures, organizations can ensure the integrity and confidentiality of their data and maintain a secure and reliable IPv6 network.

FAQ about topic “Exploring the Ins and Outs of IPv6 Neighbor Discovery: A Comprehensive Guide”

What is IPv6 neighbor discovery?

IPv6 neighbor discovery is a protocol used in IPv6 networks to determine the link-layer addresses of neighbors on the same network segment. It helps to discover available routers, resolve IP addresses to MAC addresses, and maintain a neighbor cache.

How does IPv6 neighbor discovery work?

IPv6 neighbor discovery works by using ICMPv6 messages to perform various functions. When a node wants to discover its neighbors, it sends Neighbor Solicitation messages to a specific IP address or the all-nodes multicast address. The neighbor responds with a Neighbor Advertisement message containing its link-layer address.

Why is IPv6 neighbor discovery important?

IPv6 neighbor discovery is important because it enables efficient communication on IPv6 networks. By discovering and resolving neighbor addresses, nodes can send packets to the correct destination, avoid unnecessary traffic, and ensure the overall network reliability.

Can IPv6 neighbor discovery be disabled?

Yes, IPv6 neighbor discovery can be disabled, but it is generally not recommended. Disabling neighbor discovery can result in communication issues, especially in dynamic network environments where neighbor addresses frequently change. It is better to configure and optimize neighbor discovery settings rather than disabling it entirely.

What are the security considerations of IPv6 neighbor discovery?

IPv6 neighbor discovery introduces some security considerations. For example, Neighbor Advertisement messages can be used to redirect traffic to malicious routers. To mitigate these risks, network administrators can implement various security measures such as using secure neighbor discovery (SEND) or implementing ingress filtering to prevent spoofed neighbor discovery messages.

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