- Routing is the process of forwarding packets between connected network segments. For IPv6-based networks, routing is the part of IPv6 that provides forwarding capabilities between hosts that are located on separate segments within a larger IPv6-based network.
- IPv6 is the mailroom in which IPv6 data sorting and delivery occur. Each incoming or outgoing packet is called an IPv6 packet. An IPv6 packet contains both the source address of the sending host and the destination address of the receiving host. Unlike link-layer addresses, IPv6 addresses in the IPv6 header typically remain the same as the packet travels across an IPv6 network.
- Routing is the primary function of IPv6. IPv6 packets are exchanged and processed on each host by using IPv6 at the Internet layer.
- Above the IPv6 layer, transport services on the source host pass data in the form of TCP segments or UDP messages down to the IPv6 layer. The IPv6 layer creates IPv6 packets with source and destination address information that is used to route the data through the network. The IPv6 layer then passes packets down to the link layer, where IPv6 packets are converted into frames for transmission over network-specific media on a physical network. This process occurs in reverse order on the destination host.
- IPv6 layer services on each sending host examine the destination address of each packet, compare this address to a locally maintained routing table, and then determine what additional forwarding is required. IPv6 routers are attached to two or more IPv6 network segments that are enabled to forward packets between them.