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Service Provider IPv4 to IPv6 Network Migration


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Vol. 6, No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2079-8407
Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences
©2009-2015 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.

Service Provider IPv4 to IPv6 Network Migration Strategies

Babu Ram Dawadi#1, Shashidhar Ram Joshi#2, Ananda Raj Khanal*3
Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Central Campus Pulchowk, Nepal
*Department of Engineering, Nepal Telecommunications Authority, Kathmandu, Nepal
{1baburd, 2srjoshi},

With the increase of Internet of Things (IoT) smart devices and the trend of world moving to converged network
environment into the mode of packet based communication network, internet protocol address becomes the major logical
infrastructure for all kinds of voice and data communications, led to the exhaustion of 32 bits IPv4 address space. Several
issues like security, quality of service, addressing, routing management along with the depletion of addresses have been
sought with the IPv4 addressing infrastructure. This forced the world required to migrate into IPv6 as a new addressing
paradigm. Currently, the term 'migration' refers to different research dimensions in the world of science and engineering.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) service providers are in the rush of not only the migration to IPv6
but also towards the migration into cloud computing and software defined networking, where "migration in togetherness"
is coined to enter into the new era of IT based businesses and services. IPv4 and IPv6 are not interoperable. Hence moving
into IPv6 operable network is a gradual process. The concerned organizations throughout the world are in different stages
of network migration to IPv6. Service Providers and organizations of the developing countries are lacking behind the
migration due to the lack of awareness, training, and cost of transition. This paper proposed the network transition steps
after highlighting the migration strategies for Service Providers(SP) with different transition technologies.

Keywords: IPv4, IPv6, Service Providers, Transition, Strategies, Migration Approach, Tunneling, Dual Stack, Translation.

1. INTRODUCTION Table 1: Projected RIR Address Pool Exhaustion

Different addresses are required for complete RIR Projected Exhaustion Date
communication defined in the computer network[1]. The APNIC 19-Apr-2011
addresses are generally categorized as physical address RIPE NCC 14-Sep-2012
(e.g.: MAC address), logical address (IPv4/IPv6 address), LACNIC 10-jun-2014
Port address (e.g.: SMTP: 25, TELNET:23) and domain ARIN 24-sep-2015
address (e.g.: The logical address AFRINIC 23-Apr-2019
should be scalable due to its WAN scope. Hence, the
concept of 128 bits IPv6 address is conceptualized against Taking the reference of Nepal as a developing
the limitations of IPv4. country, the mobile penetration rate has crossed 100% but
the internet penetration is not that much expected.
The Internet user growth has rapidly increased However the internet users are also rapidly increasing
throughout the world for almost a decade, and 32-bits IPv4 likely to cross the penetration rate by 50% in the year
address space limitations have become severe. IPv4 2015[5]. Almost developed countries worldwide have
address space is allocated by IANA, the central registry developed their national roadmap with projected timeline
for RIRs and from RIRs to NIRs or LIRs according to the for network migration to IPv6[6]. It is necessary for all
hierarchical structure of the registry, and then assigned to service providers of the developing countries to plan for
end users. The exhaustion point is the point in time when the timely migration to IPv6 network as well as the
the IANA has allocated all the IPv4 address space in the infrastructure for cloud computing and the software
pools it retains, when the RIRs have allocated all the IPv4 defined networking.
address space retained in its pool to the LIRs, when the
IPv4 address space in the pool retained by the LIRs is 2. IPV4 AND IPV6 COMPARISON
completely assigned to end users[2]. At this stage, all IPv4 The exhaustion of IPv4 address had already been
address space managed by registries is distributed and the predicted in 1990s to be depleted within next 20 years
registries can no longer assign new IPv4 address space [2]. when the World Wide Web became popular around the
There are still in some address spaces in the RIR pools and globe. However the IPv4 network infrastructure is well
their exhausted timeline have also been projected[3]. stable in its service, it has several issues which are briefly
highlighted with the improvement in IPv6 in this section.
Looking into the exhaustion status in Table 1, Africa
is safe for next 2/3 years. Africa has opportunity to define IPv4 provides approximately 4.3 billion addresses,
policies and plan for migration to IPv6, however the which is already depleted as announced by IANA. This is
continent should create global competent environment to the main cause of birth of IPv6 having 128 bits address
be synchronized with the latest network infrastructure length. It has 2128 = 3.4X1038 addresses where 80 bits is
under rapid deployment by other continents due to lack of already an astronomical. It is expected that there will be
ipv4 address[4]. Several countries worldwide have already living beings on other planets as well in the future and
developed roadmap, plan and policies for the network they shall be able to communicate as an inter planet
migration to IPv6. communication due to the sufficiency of IPv6 addresses.

Vol. 6, No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2079-8407
Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences
©2009-2015 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.
NAT (Network Address Translation) is the technology enhance security in the network and support for better
which maps one public IPv4 address to many private quality of service, improve efficiency and optimization of
addresses in the hidden zone. But unfortunately, NAT is the network, create better environment to move into
not suitable to several applications which require end to converged network and the next generation networking
end communication like FTP, NFS and group infrastructure.
conferencing[7]. NAT is not require in IPv6 due to the
sufficiency of addresses in which every device shall have From business and economic perspectives, the latest
more than one IPv6 addresses. Address assignment is an network infrastructure with IPv6 helps to develop perfect
another issue in IPv4 network. Either Static (i.e. the e-Commerce implementation, secure online transactions,
network administrator manually set IPv4 address on every reliable and quality email-internet service to the
machine, which is a headache to set address for hundreds customers, gain or increase customers by the service
of machine in the LAN) or provide address dynamically providers, catch growth opportunities, encouraged for the
via DHCP server, which raise machine renumbering network and service expansion, prevent increased cost and
problem making difficulties for network administrator to disruption of service. Businesses that do not commit to
take control over the devices remotely. IPv6 has IPv6 transition, and do not start to take the proper steps to
additionally unique approach called SLAAC (Stateless initiate this process, will risk accessibility problems of
Address Auto-Configuration)[8] in which every machine their websites and other internet-connected locations and
in the LAN calculates its interface identification number services.
by using the technique like EUI-64 (SUFFIX) and receive
always unique PREFIX via router advertisement. Similarly, from government and authority point of
view, it is require to move to IPv6 to have better policy for
The main task of router is optimal path finding to country wide digital infrastructure, better public service
route the packet to proper destination. But sometimes IPv4 delivery, efficient regulation over converged licensing
router is overloaded due to fragmentation of oversized framework, develop international trends and standards,
packets by itself. Hence IPv4 has special header fields create global competitive and regulatory environment.
(identification, flag & fragmentation offset) to handle
fragmented packets. But IPv6 router never fragments the 4. SERVICE PROVIDER NETWORK
packet. Instead it generates the ICMPv6[9] packet too big
message to the source so that source itself is liable to
Service providers throughout the world are in
fragment the packets below MTU size[10]. The packet
different stages of migrating to IPv6 network. Exhaustion
size in IPv4 is variable changing form 20-60 bytes where
of IPv4 address increased pressure to service providers to
the 8 bytes (source and destination address) are not
follow effective and smooth migration despite the risk of
required by the router to be processed. Every time the
service interruption in their businesses. To successfully
router requires to view the header size due to variability
migrate to IPv6, service providers must be able to design
nature of IPv4 packet header length. The packet header is
and manage data centers, network infrastructure, and
efficiently modified in IPv6 and it is fixed 40 bytes in
security systems that simultaneously support both IPv4
which 32 bytes (source and destination address) are not
and IPv6[13]. Several strategic approaches have been
required for the router to be processed. IPv6 header has
proposed with integrated solution commercially available
special header field called flow level in addition with
like BIG-IP[14] for IPv4 and IPv6 network inter-
modified header field 'traffic class' to handle the traffic
communication, applications and network security and
which requires special handling for better quality of
traffic load balancing. Service providers shall follow the
service. IPv6 header with its extension headers are
different strategies mentioned by Smith[25] have been
managed into daisy chained fashions that ensure
reviewed in this paper below for the business interest and
extensibility features of IPv6. The built in ESP
service provisioning.
(Encapsulating Security Payload) and AH (Authentication)
extension headers and protocols defined under IPSec
framework ensures better security in IPv6 capable 4.1 Do Nothing
Migration to IPv6 network is inevitable. However no
Networks[11]. IPv4 has unicast, multicast and broadcast
activities and position of don't care condition for service
addressing types where anycast is experimental. The
providers ultimately push their business into dead end.
concept of broadcast is easily incorporated into multicast
This strategy is a short term business plan for the service
address in IPv6. Hence IPv6 has unicast, multicast and
providers who just want to sustain with their existing
anycast address format[12].
infrastructure until they have customer in their business.
But definitely they will be unable to retain their valued
3. CAUSE OF MIGRATION TO IPv6 customers in the long run and can't compete with the
NETWORK market due to hurdle in network expansion.
Moving into IPv6 is not an individual or
organization's interest. It is becoming compulsion due to 4.2 Extend life of IPv4
the fact that there is no more IPv4 address available. Doing something is better than nothing. Service
Comparative studies have already shown that IPv6 is far providers shall use Network Address Translation (NAT)
improved from different perspectives. From technical so called Large Scale NAT (LSN)/NAT444 in their
perspectives, IPv6 helps to avoid address inadequacy, networks to expand service with IPv4 until all the outside

Vol. 6, No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2079-8407
Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences
©2009-2015 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.
interconnecting network become IPv6 operable. However IPv4 only hosts in the another network. We need a
this is not a long term solution. Alternatively, the IPv4 translator router in the boarder. The main task of translator
address trading business shall help to acquire limited router performs the network address and protocol
public IPv4 addresses. ISPs may force customers to use translation from IPv6 to IPv4 and vice versa.
NAT by moving to either RFC6598 and/or RFC1918
address space whichever is feasible. Ultimately service
providers should have to follow some alternate transition
approaches like tunneling, dual stack or protocol
translation[15][16] after its customers have demand on
IPv6 based services.

4.3 Deploy IPv6

There are several deployment techniques available
where service providers can strategically apply based on
the status of their current network infrastructure and
customer demands. Deploying IPv6 means to follow
progressive steps towards native IPv6 services. However
gradual migration process should be followed. The most Figure 2 Translation Mechanism[19]
popular approaches in the migration process are broadly
categorized as Tunneling, Dual Stack and Translation then
The boarder router is a dual stack router contains pool
finally to native IPv6 services. of IPv4 addresses and map with the corresponding IPv6
address of the host machine in IPv6 network. DNS-ALG
If the intermediate network or public network in [20] generates the destination IPv6 address (fake IPv6
between the communicating points does not understand address) for the source IPv6 host. Hence all the IP and
the corresponding IP packet, then the tunneling approach ICMP packets will be translated at the boarder router. The
is used to encapsulate one packet into another packet concept of NAT-PT[21] is deprecated due to the cause
which is understandable and routable in the network. The mentioned in [22] and likely replaced by NAT64[23], an
intermediate network shall be IPv4 only or IPv6 only. address family translation. It is also recognized as Career
IPv6 over IP4 or IPv4 over IPv6 tunneling shall be Grade-NAT (CGNAT) or network operator version of
applied. Broadly the tunneling is divided into automatic subscriber NAT, which performs translation of large
and configured tunneling. Automatic tunneling volume traffic at a time from IPv6 clients to IPv4 servers
dynamically tunnel the packets and send to the tunnel end and vice versa.
points by using IPv4 compatible IPv6 address. Tunneling
is applied based on the communication between the tunnel
end points like Host-to-Host, Router-to-Router, Host-to- 5. SERVICE PROVIDER NETWORK
Router or vice versa. MIGRATION APPROACHES
The most important part that any service provider
should take care while the network transitioning to IPv6 is
to assess the readiness of its network resources whether
the existing software, hardware (routers, switches) and
operating systems are capable to operate IPv6 or not.
Service providers worldwide are in different stages of
migration. Looking into the Nepalese service providers,
the survey shows that they have not planned yet for the
transitioning however the core networks of major service
Figure 1 Router to Router Tunneling providers are almost dual stack capable. Steps for smooth
transition with different scenarios are being discussed in
Different tunneling approaches[17] like 6to4, 6RD, this paper for those service providers who are at the
Teredo, ISATAP, tunnel broker services are available to different stages of their network migration.
establish the communication between corresponding IPv4
and IPv6 end networks. 5.1 First Scenario
If the service provider network is IPv4 only and
Those networking devices which can process both immediate replacement of Customer Premise Equipment
IPv4 and IPv6 packets independently at a time are called (CPE) for IPv6 operability is not possible and there is
Dual Stack [18] devices. We can enable one stack like customer demand for IPv6 services, service provider may
IPv4 or IPv6 only stack at a time or both stacks. It helps to provide Tunnel Broker service (Figure 3) where direct
smooth transition to IPv6 only network because if the tunneling of IPv6 over IPv4 shall be possible from
network is fully IPv6 ready then just disable the IPv4 stack customer end device to the tunnel broker/server. Detail of
in the dual stack network. tunnel broker and server is mentioned in [24]. This is just
a very short term solution which does not encourage for
A method of translation is required if your hosts migration. Tunneling the traffic increase the additional
within the IPv6 only network wants to communicate with load for encapsulation and decapsulation of traffic at the

Vol. 6, No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2079-8407
Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences
©2009-2015 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.
end points, where the tunnel server load balancing is interconnection, transit services and increasing volume of
required. IPv6 incoming traffic as well as decreasing IPv4 traffic at
the network access point (NAP), switching to Dual Stack
Lite approach is preferable.

Figure 3 SP Network with Tunnel Broker Service

5.2 Second Scenario Figure 5 Dual Stack Lite

Even if the service provider network is IPv4 only,
service providers shall replace the customer premise In DS lite, Service provider provides native IPv6
devices with dual stack capable and follow 6 Rapid services to its consumers. Additionally to those customers
Deployment (6RD) approach which tunnel the customer who still require IPv4 based services are provided with
IPv6 traffic from CPE to edge router to connect to IPv6 tunneling IPv4 packet over IPv6 to the IPv4 internet via
internet. SP NAT device[25]. At this stage, the SP network is fully
IPv6 capable. It simply avoids the problem of IPv4
depletion as well as expand the service network without
any IPv4 dependencies.

5.4 Fourth Scenario

During the moment when all the networks are IPv6
operable and there still exists some IPv4 servers which are
required to be connected from the IPv6 only network, the
concept of Address Family Translation (NAT64) can be
used to translate the IPv6 header to IPv4 and vice versa.
DNS64 server is required for domain name resolution
Figure 4 6RD Scenario with Service Provider NAT together with NAT64 for large family of address
translation. DNS64 server provides the answer of native
Basically 6RD helps service providers relatively quick IPv6 DNS queries while it forwards the query to the IPv4
way to provide IPv6 service to their customer without DNS outside of its network to extract IPv4 address of the
deploying IPv6 across their infrastructure [25]. Similarly domain.
subscriber can readily get access to IPv6 service.
However it is not a long term solution. CPEs are required
to migrate to get IPv6 service via 6RD.

5.3 Third Scenario

Next step for service provider is to enable its network
infrastructure into dual stack mode by either migrating the
software or replacing the hardware equipments. The
drawback of dual stack network is that every dual stack
device processes v4 and v6 packet separately, consumes
big resources and also the separate firewalls for v4 and v6
should be maintained. However this approach in the Figure 6 Stateful AFT (NAT64)
transition runs longer period because service provider may
not take risk of immediate migration to IPv6 with the fear More about NAT64 can be found in [23]. Similarly
of service interruption to their customers. It also provides for IPv4 only clients to access IPv6 servers, the concept of
the chances to verify the operability of hardware, software, NAT46 proposed in draft-liu-behave-nat46-02 [26]
OS and network stability with IPv6 during the dual stack together with DNS46 to support domain name resolution.
5.5. Fifth Scenario
Based on the IPv4 and IPv6 traffic volume status If the limited IPv4 (private) consumers want to access
incoming and outgoing from the network, service provider public IPv4 resources which are limitedly available across
shall decide to move from dual stack to dual stack lite the IPv6 network, then the IPv4 traffic has to pass across
approach. With the increased demand on IPv6 network the public IPv6 network. We need translator at two edges

Vol. 6, No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2079-8407
Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences
©2009-2015 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.
of the IPv6 network: customer end (core) and public IPv4 network, interconnection with other service provider
internet end (edge). Hence a combination of stateless network and choice of transition approaches. The strategic
protocol translation at the core and stateful protocol plan drives the smooth migration to IPv6 only network as
translation at the edge so far known as 464XLAT is a business continuity plan. Hence service providers should
proposed by RFC6877[27]. It is a simple and scalable be well clever throughout the migration to understand the
technique which combines the NAT46 (stateless IP/ICMP other networks and international migration scenarios so
translation) and NAT64 across the IPv6 network. that they can review their migration plan as per the


Network inventory up
No Update Inventory
to date ?


Figure7 464XLAT
Develop Strategic
Strategic Plan Ready? No
This approach is commercially available in the market migration plan
and fairly easy as well as less expensive to deploy[14].
However translation at the both ends, requires massive
processing. Looking into the different scenarios of yes
transition strategies, the transition matrix is summarized in
Table 2. Human Resource
Train the staffs for
No IPv6 network
Table 2: Transition Matrix
Home Service Destinatio Approach yes
Network Network n Network
IPv4 IPv4 IPv4 LSN/NAT444 - Reserve IPv6 address block from RIR
- Create Pilot test-bed network
internet - Implement test-bed network
IPv6 IPv4 IPv6 Tunnel - Identify Customer Requirements
- Prepare the time line for migration
Internet Broker, 6RD - Benchmark the network equipment to
IPv4/v6 IPv4/6 IPv4/6 Dual Stack verify upgradability or replacement
Internet - Allocate budget for phase-wise migration

IPv4 IPv6 IPv4 Dual Stack

Internet Lite
IPv6 IPv6 IPv4 NAT64 Identify Tunneling
Internet (AFT) Network equipment ready
Approach, Replace/
to operate both protocols? Upgrade Network
Private IPv6 IPv4 464XLAT equipments/server
IPv4 Internet
IPv6 IPv6 IPv6 Native IPv6
Switch network into
Service Providers have to plan from the beginning so dual stack mode
as for smooth migration and continue their business No
without interruption of the services. The overall guideline
for service provider is proposed by the flowchart Figure 8.
Is most of the outside
network IPv6 only?
Network inventory maintains the list of network End
equipments including both hardware and software which
are required to be migrated for IPv6 operation. Planning is
the most important for any critical project. Migration is a
project which include phase wise activities. The - Turn off IPv4 stack,
- Identify approach for IPv4 - IPv6 security audit
development of strategic planning[28] shall cover only network/server access - Maintain and expand the
identification of customer requirements, IPv6 address (dual stack lite, AFT, network
XLAT464) - Further business continuity
reservation, human resource development, IPv6 only test- -Seek the international transit plan
bed network for pilot test, hardware/software service
upgrade/replacement, budgeting for the migration, risk Figure 8 Transition Steps
management, network and server security audit over IPv6

Vol. 6, No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2079-8407
Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences
©2009-2015 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.

5. CONCLUSION [9] Conta, A., & Gupta, M. (2006). Internet control

With an increasing demand on smart devices, the message protocol (icmpv6) for the internet protocol
growth of internet users is rapid and global ICT market is version 6 (ipv6) specification. RFC4443
highly competitive. From different perspectives, IPv6
infrastructure is comparatively better than IP4. However it [10] McCann J., Deering S., (1996). Path MTU
still has several challenges in the implementation due to Discovery for IP Version 6. RFC1981
interoperability problem between IPv4 and IPv6. So both
the networks co-exists for longer period of time as a [11] (2012) Forbes website. [online]. Available:
transition period. This paper has mostly reviewed the /sites/ciocentral/2012/06/01
different transition technologies and discuss the migration /6-reasons-why-businesses-should-deploy-ipv6-
strategies from IPv4 to IPv6 network. A strategic plan for now/
migration to next generation Internet Protocol version 6
for service providers is recommended. It elaborates the [12] Hinden R., Deering S., (2006). IP Version 6
business continuity plan with smooth transitioning Addressing Architecture. RFC4291
approach to IPv6 operable network by giving broad idea to
those voice and data service providers who are in the [13] F5 Network Incl. 2015, Managing the Migration to
beginning stage of their network migration to IPv6. IPv6 Throughout the Service Provider Network ,
Basically service providers of the developing countries are [online]. Available:
at the early stage of migration. Hence timely migration of
the network is inevitable to continue and expand the [14] Kumar, M. P., & Tech, B. (April 2014). Migration
business for better sustainability. of Applications from IPv4 to IPv6. International
Journal of Computer Networks and Wireless
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Communications (IJCNWC), ISSN: 2250-3501
This research study was partially funded by Nepal Vol. 4, No.2
Telecommunications Authority under the research grant
"IPv6 Network Migration Roadmap of Nepal" carried out [15] Junaid Latief Shah, January 2015, Next Generation
from February to August 2015. Internet Protocol: A Survey on Current Issues and
Migration, International Journal of Computer
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[24] Durand A., Fasano P., Lento D., (2001). IPv6 Ananda Raj Khanal has Bachelor of
Tunnel Broker. RFC3053 Engineering degree in Electronics and
Communications and Master of
[25] Smith, P. (2014, 9). IPv6 Transition Strategies. Science in Communication
[online]. Available: Engineering. He is a gold medalist in
/APNIC38-IPv6-Transition-Strategies.pdf Bachelors of Law ( LLB). He is
currently Director at Nepal
[26] Draft-liu-behave-nat46-02, [online] Available: Telecommunications Authority (NTA). Before joining NTA in April 2006, he was with the Kathmandu
University in Nepal in the capacity of Assistant
[27] Mawatari M., Kawasima M., Byrne C., (2013). Professor. He continues to be a visiting faculty at
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Translation. RFC6877 Telecommunications and ICT.

[28] Mohammad Y., M., (July 2015). Toward Ipv4 To

Ipv6 Migration Within A Campus Network, Journal
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Technology, Vol.77. No.2, ISSN: 1992-8645

Babu Ram Dawadi Received His
B.Sc. in Computer Engineering and
M.Sc. in Information System
Engineering in 2008 from Tribhuvan
University, central campus
Pulchowk, Nepal. He worked as
system/network engineer and lecturer at Pulchowk
Campus, TU for 5 years, Assistant Director for 3 years
at Nepal Telecommunications Authority. Currently, he
is working as an Asst. Professor at department of
electronics and computer engineering, IOE Pulchowk
Campus. His area of interest is Networking, Distributed
Computing and Data Mining.

Shashidhar Ram Joshi completed his

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering
from Sardar Ball avbhai Regional
College of Engineering, South Gujarat
University, Surat, India in 1984 and
passed with first class first with
distinction. He passed his Master’s of Science in
Electrical Engineering from University of Calgary,
Canada in 1992. He did his Ph. D. from Tribhuvan
University in 2007. He was research fellow in Osaka
Sangyo University, Japan for one year from 1997 to
1998 and published four papers in the peer reviewed
international journals. He has joined Institute of
Engineering in 1985 and presently he is a full professor
in the Department of Electronics and Computer
Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Central Campus
Pulchowk, Nepal. His area of research is Image
Processing, Networking and Artificial Intelligence.

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