Department of Defense
High Performance Computing Modernization Program

Linux systems built with a Linux kernel 2.6 or later will have IPv6 enabled by default, including Red Hat (Desktop or WS 3.0 or later and Enterprise 5.2 or later), Mandrake 8 or later, Fedora 9 or later, and CentOS 7 or later systems.

The following guide explains the steps involved with enabling IPv6 in earlier versions of Red Hat Linux. These instructions also work for the Mandrake, Fedora, and CentOS Linux distributions.

Considerations: If you depend on iptables for securing the system make sure to appropriately apply ip6tables rules. See link at end of this article

Quick Start Instructions:

1) Test to see that the ipv6 kernel module is loaded: lsmod |grep ipv6
If it’s not loaded, load immediately as follows:

modprobe ipv6

To have the module loaded when the system starts, edit /etc/modules.conf and add the following line:

alias net-pf-10 ipv6

2) Edit: /etc/sysconfig/network, add:


3) For each of the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ethX files, add:


to enable StateLess Address AutoConfiguration (SLAAC) addressing, or, if you want to manually configure things, instead add:


(remembering to use square brackets and colons in the IPv6 addresses).

4) Privacy extensions are not enabled by default. For each configured interface ethX where privacy extensions are being enabled, add the line:


to the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-interface ethX file for that interface. Then create the file /etc/sysctl.d/ipv6_privacy_extensions (if it does not already exist), containing the lines


5) The Essential IPv6 for the Linux Systems Administrator presentation discusses additional aspects of enabling IPv6, such as routing and DNS.

6) Then issue a "service network restart" command. (This may disconnect you temporarily as networking reloads)

7) Then try pinging:

# ping6 -n

The output should be similar to this:

Pinging [2001:470:1:18::119] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 2001:470:1:18::119: time=687ms
Reply from 2001:470:1:18::119: time=719ms
Reply from 2001:470:1:18::119: time=702ms
Reply from 2001:470:1:18::119: time=700ms

Also, checkout Linux IPv6 HOWTO.

ip6tables info can be found in the Enabling IPv6 in ip6tables and other Linux-based Firewalls article in the Security section.