Practical Technology

for practical people.

Use IPv6 in Windows 7 Today


As people debate how serious the coming Internet IPv4 shortage really is going to be and when they should migrate to IPv6, some of them may already be using IPv6 every day, and not know it. Seriously.

You see Windows 7 doesn’t just come with IPv6 already installed, it actually uses it for two very different network applications: DirectAccess and HomeGroup.


The first one, DirectAccess is for enterprise users. DirectAccess, which you get with Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate, when used with Server 2008 R2 combines IPv6 with Internet Protocol security (IPSec) to provide a high-speed, Virtual Private Network (VPN). DirectAccess’ built-in VPN is great for stopping network snoopers using Firesheep.

In addition, DirectAccess can be integrated with Network Access Protection (NAP). NAP automatically checks that a remote PC has up-to-date software and the proper policy-set security settings. If need be, the network administrator can set NAP to update the computer and reset its security. So, for example, with DirectAccess and NAP, you can not just block a non-compliant PC from your intranet; you can automatically patch it, add the corporate standard anti-virus client, set it to your desired security settings, and then let it on the network.

I love this combination of features. Once set up properly, it makes managing and securing remote PC so much easier.

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