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Time: November 23rd, 2023

What is SRV6 and how does it stack against the famous IPV6 protocol? this article states all of that in detail. 


In today's tech world where AI and quantum computing are revamping the computing world, effective and adaptable networks are needed to match such incredible processing powers. Global searches are rocked with the question "What is SRv6" and this is because of a reason. Let us dig deep into this new network tech and the reasons why it was introduced. 

What is SRv6?

The developing pressure of SDN competition led to the design of SR whose main goal is to provide efficiency in network routing and simplify the routing process. In layman's words, it is a new IP bearer protocol designed to transform network design and management by fusing the already implemented IPv6 with Segment Routing (SR). SDN architecture is the foundation of SRv6, which connects networks and further applications with it. This is made possible with the help of the SRv6 protocol. So the question here is how it works and how these two technologies are fused. Let us find out.  

How SRv6 works?

First, off, the packet forwarding process in an SRv6 network works just like a computer-coded program i.e. network services in such a network are designed to receive a sequence of forwarding instructions that are sent to network devices along a path, much like computer programming. Second, these instructions for this program are described as a list in 128-bit segments (termed as segment ID or SID). This list of instructions resembles an IPv6 address and can be more than one in one "program" in an SR network.  

Every packet in an SR network possesses these "Segments" which are essentially lists of instructions that a node in the network receives with each packet. But here is the difference, these instructions (segments) are designed to represent different functions that are combined to implement path programming, meeting the performance requirements of different services in a typical network. 

For forwarding these instructions, both Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLs) and IPv6 protocols can be used. If MPLs are used then an MPLS-based SR is referred to as Segment Routing MPLS (SR-MPLS), and corresponding SIDs are defined by MPLS labels. Similarly, if IPv6 is used, then IPv6-based SR is referred to as SRv6, and the corresponding SIDs are represented by IPv6 addresses in the network.

This method of segmenting a packet allows forwarding of packets into distinct parts and appending segment information to a packet. The packet only needs to be sent by a transit node based on the segment information it contains. That 128-bit identifier SID which we stated before is used to identify this type of path segment belonging to a packet. 

Any instruction, whether topological or service-based, can be represented by a segment. Within an SR domain, a segment's semantic might be global or local to an SR node. With the help of SR, a flow may be limited to a certain topological path, and its per-flow state is only preserved at the nodes that enter the SR domain. In this way, the routing is made more efficient and simplified while delivering certain advantages.

Advantages of SRv6:

1. The most significant advantage of this protocol is a three-dimensional programming space for service-driven networks that match the upcoming AI processing powers in the background. 

2. Enables network routing for advanced services including a super intelligent and efficient network path, more reliable service provided by a network, and a secure forwarding behavior.

3. It also gives the flexibility to apply network functionalities across many domains. With this protocol, routers don't have to disseminate extra routing information to apply service termination, or TE (Traffic Engineering), across routing domains. 

4. Previously used protocols like LDP, RSVP-TE, and MPLS labels are no longer necessary with SRv6. This makes the entire protocol scheme and its management much simpler. 

5. SRv6 replaces several other protocols which significantly streamlines IP bearers in the networks.

6. We also get better cloud service integration by extending the L2/L3VPN to the end node. This enables direct execution of network services in the cloud databases and also eliminates the need for sophisticated hardware resulting in being economical as well.

Wrapping Up:

This article stated the theoretical overview of the question "What is SRv6" and how does it bring improvements to the increasing demand in network technology? This new protocol offers better native support for network services and improved cloud service integration. It is more straightforward, simple, and scalable. 

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