IPv6, the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), is now more than ever a critical part of the networking world. As the global pool of IPv4 addresses dwindles, the transition to IPv6 addresses becomes inevitable. With IPv6, the number of available IP addresses expands enormously, offering a solution to the IPv4 exhaustion problem and enabling a plethora of new devices to connect to the internet.
In the networking field, one of the fundamental tools for diagnosing connectivity issues and network performance is the ping command. This tool, which began its existence in IPv4 networking, is fully available and functional for IPv6 addresses.
This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to ping IPv6 addresses using CMD or PowerShell in Windows 11 or 10. We’ll discuss how to interpret the results, provide examples of IPv6 addresses that you can ping for testing, and offer solutions to common issues such as “Network Is Unreachable” or “Transmit failed general failure” error you might encounter during the process.
Also see: How to Check IP Address in Windows 11
Using the “ping” command for IPv6 in Windows
Windows offers full support for IPv6, and this includes the ability to use the ping command for IPv6 addresses. The process is almost identical to the one used for IPv4 addresses, with the addition of the “-6” switch to ensure that the system uses IPv6.
To get started, you’ll first need to open the Command Prompt. You can do this by pressing the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialogue box, typing cmd into the field, and pressing Enter. This will open the Command Prompt.
To ping an IPv6 address, you’ll type ping -6 into the command line, followed by the IPv6 address you want to ping.
For instance, if you wanted to ping the Google Public DNS IPv6 address, your command would look something like this:
ping -6 2001:4860:4860::8888
After pressing Enter, the Command Prompt will send a series of packets to the specified IPv6 address and then display the responses.
Pinging Google’s IPv6 addresses
Google provides several IPv6 addresses for its public DNS service, which you can use to test your IPv6 connectivity. These addresses are:
You can ping these addresses just as you would any other IPv6 address.
For instance, if you were using Windows and wanted to ping the first Google Public DNS IPv6 address, you would type the following command into the Command Prompt:
ping -6 2001:4860:4860::8888
This command sends a ping request to the first Google Public DNS IPv6 address. If your system and network are correctly configured for IPv6, you should receive a response from this address. If not, there may be an issue with your IPv6 configuration, or your ISP may not support IPv6.
Related resource: How to Use Netsh Interface IP Set Address or DNS in CMD
In addition to these public DNS IPv6 addresses, Google also offers a special domain: ipv6.google.com. This domain is only accessible over IPv6, so you can use it to confirm whether your system has IPv6 connectivity. If you can access ipv6.google.com in a web browser, then your system has IPv6 connectivity.
Another useful resource provided by Google for testing your IPv6 connectivity is the ipv6test.google.com. This site performs a more detailed test of your IPv6 connectivity, and can be a valuable tool for troubleshooting if you’re having difficulty establishing an IPv6 connection.
Relevant guide: How to Add a Static DNS Entry in Windows 11
Example IPv6 addresses for ping testing
For your convenience, we’ve provided a selection of IPv6 addresses that you can use to test your ability to ping IPv6 addresses. These are:
- Cloudflare DNS IPv6 Addresses:
In Windows, you can ping Cloudflare’s DNS using the following command:
ping -6 2606:4700:4700::1111
- Quad9 DNS IPv6 Address:
To ping this address in Windows, use:
ping -6 2620:fe::fe
- OpenDNS IPv6 Addresses:
The command to ping these addresses in Windows is:
ping -6 2620:119:35::35
Remember, your ability to ping these addresses depends on your local network’s IPv6 configuration and the support for IPv6 from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you can’t ping these addresses, you might need to troubleshoot your network or contact your ISP.
Pinging IPv6 in Windows PowerShell
For users who prefer to use PowerShell, you can also use this tool to ping an IPv6 address.
To start, open PowerShell. Then, type Test-NetConnection -ComputerName followed by the IPv6 address you want to ping, and then add the -InformationLevel Detailed parameter.
Here’s an example of how you might use PowerShell to ping the Google Public DNS IPv6 address:
Test-NetConnection -ComputerName 2001:4860:4860::8888 -InformationLevel Detailed
After pressing Enter, PowerShell will send a ping request to the provided IPv6 address and provide a detailed response.
Pinging IPv6 addresses with Cisco devices
If you’re working with a Cisco device, you can also ping IPv6 addresses directly from the device’s command-line interface (CLI). Cisco’s operating systems, including IOS, IOS XE, and NX-OS, all support the IPv6 protocol.
First, you’ll need to access the command-line interface on your Cisco device. After successfully logging in, you can execute the ping command for IPv6 addresses using the ping ipv6 keyword followed by the IPv6 address you want to test.
For example, if you wanted to ping the Google Public DNS IPv6 address from your Cisco device, your command would look like this:
ping ipv6 2001:4860:4860::8888
Press Enter, and the Cisco device will send a series of ICMPv6 echo requests to the provided IPv6 address. The CLI will then display the responses, allowing you to assess the connectivity.
Utilizing online IPv6 ping tools
In some cases, you might want to use an online tool to ping an IPv6 address. This could be especially helpful if you’re experiencing trouble with your local setup or if you want to check the connectivity to a remote server without using the command line.
There are numerous online tools that can ping IPv6 addresses. To find one, simply search for “online IPv6 ping tool” in your preferred search engine, and choose a tool that suits your needs.
These online ping tools are typically straightforward to use. Simply enter the IPv6 address you want to ping into the designated field, and then click the button to start the ping process. The tool will handle the rest, sending a series of pings to the provided IPv6 address and displaying the responses.
Troubleshooting: “Network Is Unreachable” or “Transmit failed general failure”
While pinging IPv6 addresses, you may encounter a “Network is unreachable” or “PING: transmit failed. General failure.” error. These errors typically indicate that your system doesn’t have a route to the destination address, or there are issues with your network configuration.
Here are some potential causes and solutions:
- IPv6 is not enabled on your network adapter: If your network adapter does not have IPv6 enabled, it will not be able to communicate with other IPv6 addresses. To check this, navigate to your network settings, access your network adapter properties, and ensure that the checkbox next to “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)” is checked.
- Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) doesn’t support IPv6: Not all ISPs support IPv6. In some cases, you may need to enable it, or it may not be available at all. You might need to contact your ISP to confirm if they support IPv6 and if any additional setup is required.
- Firewall or Security Software is blocking ICMPv6: ICMPv6 is the protocol used by the ping command. If your firewall or security software is blocking ICMPv6, you may need to adjust your settings to allow ICMPv6 traffic.
- Incorrect IPv6 configuration: If your IPv6 settings are incorrectly configured, this could lead to errors when trying to ping an IPv6 address. Check your IPv6 settings to make sure they are correctly configured.
- Local Network issues: Occasionally, local network issues or temporary glitches can lead to these errors. Try resetting your network or restarting your router/modem to see if this resolves the issue.
If you’ve checked all these potential issues and are still unable to ping an IPv6 address, it would be best to reach out to your network administrator or your ISP for further assistance.
Linked issue: Windows 11 Ethernet “Unidentified Network” (How to Fix)
Understanding IPv4 and IPv6 interoperability
IPv4 and IPv6 are two different versions of the Internet Protocol, each with its own unique characteristics and features. One important distinction to understand is that these two protocols are not directly interoperable. This means that a system using IPv4 cannot directly communicate with a system using IPv6, and vice versa. This is due to the fundamental differences in how these two protocols structure and handle IP addresses.
Why can’t you ping an IPv6 address on a system using IPv4?
The Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a newer network layer protocol designed to replace Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). While both protocols are used for the same purpose – sending data over a network – they’re not directly compatible with each other. This means that a system configured to use only IPv4 cannot directly communicate with a system using IPv6, and vice versa.
IPv4 and IPv6 use different addressing schemes. IPv4 addresses are 32-bit numbers usually represented in dot-decimal notation (e.g., 192.0.2.0), while IPv6 addresses are 128-bit numbers typically represented in hexadecimal notation (e.g., 2001:db8::8a2e:370:7334).
Because of these differences, IPv4-only systems cannot understand or route IPv6 traffic. Consequently, if you try to ping an IPv6 address from an IPv4-only system, the command will fail. The same is true in reverse: you cannot ping an IPv4 address from an IPv6-only system.
This is why it’s important to ensure that your system and network are properly configured for IPv6 if you want to communicate with IPv6 addresses. It’s also why the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is a complex process that involves significant changes to the Internet’s underlying infrastructure.
Can you ping an IPv6 address when your computer is using IPv4?
Yes, it’s possible to ping an IPv6 address even if your computer is currently using an IPv4 address, but this requires your network to support “dual-stack” or “tunneling” technologies.
In a dual-stack network, devices are configured with both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address, and can communicate over both protocols. This allows your IPv4-configured device to reach out to IPv6 addresses using the IPv6 stack, as long as your network infrastructure and internet service provider (ISP) support IPv6.
Tunneling, on the other hand, is a method used to transport an IPv6 packet over an IPv4 network. It works by encapsulating the IPv6 packet in an IPv4 packet, effectively allowing an IPv4-configured device to communicate with an IPv6 address. There are several tunneling techniques, including 6to4, Teredo, and ISATAP.
However, if your network is strictly IPv4 and does not support dual-stack or tunneling technologies, you will not be able to ping an IPv6 address. In this case, you would need to upgrade your network infrastructure to support IPv6.
In summary, while it’s technically possible for an IPv4-configured device to ping an IPv6 address, the capability largely depends on the support for IPv6 from your network infrastructure and ISP.
The implementation and adoption of IPv6 is not just about the expansion of address space. It’s also about enabling the continued growth and innovation of the internet. With the Internet of Things (IoT) bringing billions of new devices online and new technologies demanding more from our networks, IPv6 is no longer a futuristic concept but a present necessity.
As users, network administrators, or developers, understanding how to interact with and troubleshoot IPv6 is becoming increasingly important. The simple act of pinging an IPv6 address, as we’ve discussed in this guide, could be your first step towards familiarizing yourself with this new protocol.
Learning how to ping an IPv6 address from different systems, recognizing common problems and their solutions, and knowing where to find test addresses are all practical skills that you’ll find useful as IPv6 becomes more widespread. While this guide covered the basics of pinging IPv6 addresses, it’s only a small part of the broader IPv6 landscape. We encourage you to continue exploring and learning about IPv6.