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MSR's prototype implementation of IPv6 (IP version 6), the next-generation Internet Protocol.

This web page documents the old Microsoft Research IPv6 release. For Microsoft's main IPv6 site, please click here.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has defined a next generation Internet Protocol, known as Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). This has been designed to ultimately replace todays pervasive Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). Microsoft Research (MSR) contributed to the standardization effort from 1996 to 2002. To further networking research on the Windows NT/2000 platform, we elected to write an IPv6 implementation and make it available to the public in both source and binary forms. This effort proved to be a significant success in technology transfer, for today every copy of Windows XP contains an IPv6 stack thanks to this research, and IPv6 in Windows now has its own web page.

Here is the history of our IPv6 research and its transfer into Microsoft Windows:

MSRIPv6 - We released the first version of our implementation, MSRIPv6 1.0, early in 1998. We have continued to improve our implementation and have made several subsequent releases as we added new features. For more information, and to download the protocol stack, see the page describing our last release.

MSDN Tech Preview - Early in 2000, we began helping the Windows Networking product group in their effort to produce a production version of IPv6 for future versions of Microsoft Windows. The preliminary results of this project became available as a Technology Preview for Windows 2000 SP1 via the Microsoft Software Developers Network (MSDN) web site. Read the press release or access the download.

Windows XP - In October 2001, the latest desktop edition of Windows was released, bringing the reliability and performance of the Windows NT kernel to a much wider audience. Every copy of Windows XP, Home Edition and Professional, has an IPv6 stack based on the research that we started, released as a Developer Preview primarily for application porting. The stack is very easily manually installed from a command line just by typing ipv6 install. Click here for more information about IPv6 in Windows XP.

Windows Server 2003 - This version of Windows Server includes the first fully-supported release of the Microsoft IPv6 stack. This stack has been designed for full production use, suitable for live commercial deployments the culmination of MSRs research and collaboration with the Windows product teams. Purchasing information for Windows Server 2003 can be found here. Windows Server 2003 Evaluation Kit is also available. Click here for more information about IPv6 in Windows Server 2003.

Windows Vista - Includes a unified networking that fully supports both IPv4 and IPv6. The design of this stack derives from our MSRIPv6 stack, but the code is all new.

Not sure which release of the stack is right for you? Today, we highly recommend that all serious evaluations be done using Windows Vista. This is the most up-to-date and fully-featured product stack available from Microsoft. For research and education purposes only, the original Microsoft Research stack remains available -- see our explanation of the differences between the research versions.

For Microsoft's main external site on IPv6, please click here.

Application Availability - An ever-increasing number of Windows applications have been ported to run over IPv6. We list some of them below.

  • From Microsoft:
    • All of our releases include network utilities such as ping6, tracert6, and ttcp.
    • Internet Explorer (IE 4 support is included with MSRIPv6 1.4, IE 5 with the MSDN Tech Preview and IE 6 with the Windows XP Betas).
    • Telnet and FTP clients are included in the MSDN Tech Preview and the Windows XP Betas.
    • Applications that communicate via RPC can run over IPv6 in the Windows XP Betas.
  • From Third-Parties:
    • Jun-ya Kato has ported an amazing number of things, including a telnet/ssh client, multiple FTP clients, multiple versions of the Emacs text editor, the Apache web server, Active Perl, Ruby, etc. See his page for details.

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