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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Lower-Layer (Interface, Internet and Transport) Protocols (OSI Layers 2, 3 and 4)
      9  TCP/IP Internet Layer (OSI Network Layer) Protocols
           9  Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP/ICMPv4 and ICMPv6)
                9  ICMP Message Types and Formats

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ICMPv4 Traceroute Messages
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ICMPv6 Destination Unreachable Messages
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ICMP Version 6 (ICMPv6) Error Message Types and Formats

The original ICMP defines for version 4 of the Internet Protocol (IPv4) a number of error messages to allow communication of problems on an internetwork. When IP version 6 (IPv6) was developed, the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 were significant enough that a new version of ICMP was also required: the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6) for the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), currently specified in RFC 2463. Like ICMPv4, ICMPv6 defines several error messages that let a source be informed when something goes wrong.

In this section I describe the four ICMPv6 error messages defined in RFC 2463. I first discuss ICMPv6 Destination Unreachable messages, used to tell a device a datagram it sent could not be delivered for a variety of reasons. I describe Packet Too Big error messages, which are sent when a datagram can't be sent due to being too large for an underlying network it needs to traverse. I explain the use of Time Exceeded messages, which indicate that too much time was taken to accomplish a transmission. I conclude with a look at messages, which provide a generalized way of reporting errors not described by any of the preceding ICMPv6 error message types.

Note: Three of the four ICMPv6 error messages (all except Packet Too Big) are equivalent to the ICMPv4 error messages that have the same names. However, to allow this section to stand on its own, I describe each one fully, in addition to pointing out any significant differences between the ICMPv4 and ICMPv6 version of the message.


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