AWS EC2 Instances – Now In the Of Glory of IPv6

  • December 15th, 2016
  • By Amal S
  • Blog
  • We can’t consider the change IPv6 simply as a version change. It revolutionizes the world of the internet itself. Through the introduction of the new version, the concern for the lack of space for more IP address diminishes; in fact, it avoids a possible future technological disaster. IPv4 were providing 32 bits for IP addresses and now through the latest version, it has extended to 128bits.

    The rapid technological advancements in the areas of connected devices, mobile applications, and IoT, along with the continued growth of the Internet made industry-wide inclination towards latest protocol update. In accordance with the mandate which dates back to 2010, more Government agencies in the USA are working to move their public-facing servers and services to the new version as quickly as possible.

    Like any other industry which is routed on the internet, the cloud industry is also shifting from IPv4 to later. The change has already been reflected on the leading cloud service provider AWS. The blog reveals everything you should know regarding the AWS shift towards IPv6.

    IPv6 for EC2

    After launching new version support for S3, AWS is taking the big step forward with the incorporation of IPv6 support for Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and EC2 instances running in a VPC. For the time being, the support will be available for US East (Ohio) region and they are planning to launch the same for other regions very soon.
    For the new and existing VPCs, the new version support works and by checking a box on the console which has the API and CLI support, VPC could be opted.

    The VPC creation

    The isolated portion of the AWS which is populated by objects such as Amazon EC2 instances is known as a VPC. It is required to specify the IPv4 address range for your VPC. You can indicate the IPv4 address as a block of Classless Inter – Domain Routing (CIDR), for instance: It is not allowed to specify a block which is larger than /16 but the user can associate the VPC with Amazon provided IPV6 CIDR block (optional feature).

    Subnet Creation

    For specifying the address block, use the CIDR format (Eg: Between /16 netmask and /28 netmask, the block sizes need to be specified. The VPC and the subnet can be of the same size. Specify the IPv6 block as a /64 CIDR block and you can’t skip this as the process is mandatory.

    Creation of Virtual Interfaces

    The virtual interfaces (VIFs) of the user choice for IPv4 or IPv6 addresses can be created using the direct connect console. You can either create a private VIF or a public one based on your requirement. The private virtual interface can be used to access an Amazon VPC using private IP addresses. Whereas the public interface is capable of accessing all AWS public services such as EC2, S3, and DynamoDB using public IP addresses. If you are creating a virtual interface for another account, provide that AWS account ID for completing the procedures or else enter the name of your virtual interface.


    The specialty of the latest version is that every address in it is internet-routable and able to connect to the internet by default. The address associated with the instance is public in a VPC which is IPV6 enabled. Even though you have to use a mechanism for creating private subnets, the direct association diminishes a host of networking challenges. Through the launch of the new protocol version for EC2, Amazon is introducing a new Egress-Only Internet Gateway (EGW) which helps you to implement private subnets for your VPCs. The benefit of EGW is that it is easier to set up, and to use, compared to NAT instances and available to users at free of cost. It allows outbound traffic and blocks the incoming traffic which can be used to impose restrictions on inbound IPv6 traffic. Still, the users can continue the use of NAT instances or NAT Gateways for IPv4 traffic. The new version works well with all current- generation EC2 instance types with an exception of M3 and G2, and in future will be supporting all the upcoming instance types. The new protocol version is truly a revolution in the realm of internet and is embracing every wing of technology. The launch of the latest protocol version for AWS instance indicates that the change is already reflecting in the cloud industry as well.

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