ESnet supports Sandia and APNIC IPv6 Background Radiation research

ESnet is currently supporting the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) and Sandia National Laboratories in their continuing research into IPv6 Background Radiation traffic.  Previously, APNIC had published research characterizing IPv6 traffic with destination addresses in un-allocated space.  APNIC is currently allocating IPv6 space from 2400::/12, and research is continuing under the auspices of APNIC Research into how much IPv6 traffic is flowing toward the un-allocated portion of this netblock.

In order to conduct this research, Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA has agreed to host the data collector, or “network telescope” on behalf of APNIC.  Sandia is announcing, or will announce, a route of 2400::/12 into the global IPv6 routing table via ESnet.  This is being done at the request of APNIC, who has authority over this address space.  Because of the way that Internet routing works, only traffic for destinations within 2400::/12 which are not currently being routed in the Internet will reach the network telescope for analysis.  Such traffic is typically only the result of random scanning, backscatter from traffic with forged (or “spoofed”) source IPv6 addresses, or misconfigurations.  Normal Internet traffic will not be routed to the network telescope.

Any entity that has an IPv6 allocation or assignment within 2400::/12 and that is properly announcing the route for that allocation or assignment, or having it properly announced by a provider, will not be affected by the network telescope route announcements.  Traffic for networks that are properly announcing their routes into the Internet routing tables will proceed directly to those networks and will not be routed through Sandia or ESnet.  The network telescope will only capture traffic toward IPv6 addresses that are currently not allocated by APNIC, but fall within APNIC’s IPv6 allocation.

Although it seems counterintuitive, such traffic destined for unrouted network space can be quite interesting.  For more information as to what the previous research has uncovered, please see the following:

To see the letter authorizing Sandia to announce the 2400::/12 prefix, please see: