Identifier locator addressing

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One Line Summary

A method to do network virtualization without encapsulation by leveraging the insanely large address space of IPv6.


Identifier Locator Addressing (or ILA) is a mechanism to implement tunnels or overlay networks that does not require encapsulation. This is done by splitting an IPv6 address into a locator part and an identifier part. The identifier (who) indicates a virtual node in the network, and the locator (where) indicates the location of the node.

ILA is intended to be a key component in virtualizing everything in a data center. This can be thought of as giving every task or container its own IP address and allow seamless migration for that.

In this talk we will discuss the implementation of ILA in the Linux kernel. The key requirements are:
– Near zero overhead in the data path.
– MInimal invasiveness in the stack
– Scalable interface managing mappings
– Protocol correctness


  • Tom Herbert



    Software engineer at Facebook and Linux netdev contributor.