Re6st (also called Re6stnet and pronounced resist) creates a resilient, scalable, ipv6 network on top of an existing ipv4 network, by creating tunnels on the fly, and then routing targeted traffic through these tunnels. Re6st is developed and maintained by Nexedi (see our full free software stack).
re6st can be used to:
- Guarantee connectedness between computers connected to the internet, for which there exists a working route (in case the direct route isn't available).
- Create large, scalable networks.
- Give ipv6 addresses to machines with only ipv4 available.
- Building an ipv4 network is also supported if one has software that does not support ipv6.
How It Works?
A re6stnet network consists of at least one server (re6st-registry) and many nodes (re6stnet). The server is only used to deliver certificates for secure authentication of peers, and to bootstrap new nodes. re6stnet can detect and take into account nodes present on the local network.
re6stnet guarantees that if there exists a route between two machines, traffic will be correctly routed between these two machines. Even if the registry node is down, the probability that the network is not connected is very low for big enough networks (more than a hundred nodes).
Since nodes don't need to know the whole graph of the network, re6stnet is easily scalable to tens of thousand of nodes.
You can get the source code in the following Git repository: https://lab.nexedi.com/nexedi/re6stnet/ (Github mirror) or browse it online.
It is also published on PyPI.
Packages (preferred method)
We are providing a re6st-node package for many distributions. In order to install it, go to
and find your distribution on the build result at the right of the page. Once you have your distribution name <DISTRIB_NAME>, the repository to add is:
For example (as root):
echo "deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/VIFIBnexedi/xUbuntu_16.04 ./" >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/re6stnet.list
wget -qO - https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/VIFIBnexedi/xUbuntu_16.04/Release.key |apt-key add -
echo "deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/VIFIBnexedi/Debian_9.0 ./" >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/re6stnet.list
wget -qO - https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/VIFIBnexedi/Debian_9.0/Release.key |apt-key add -
apt install re6st-node
The packaging is maintained at https://lab.nexedi.com/nexedi/slapos.package/tree/master/obs/re6st
re6stnet is also distributed as a Python egg: https://pypi.org/project/re6stnet/
- Python 2.6 or 2.7
- OpenSSL binary and development libraries
- OpenVPN >= 2.4
- Babel (with Nexedi patches)
- python-miniupnpc for UPnP support (optional)
- for the demo: miniupnpd, Graphviz, Screen, Nemu, MultiPing
See also setup.py for Python dependencies.
re6stnet runs a node of a re6st network. It establishes connections with other nodes by creating OpenVPN tunnels and uses Babel for routing.
re6stnet --registry registry-url --dh dh-path --ca ca-path --cert cert-path --key key-path [options...] [-- [openvpn-options...]]
Use re6stnet --help to get the complete list of options. If you already have IPv6 connectivity by autoconfiguration and still want to use it for communications that are unrelated to this network, then:
- your kernel must support source address based routing (because you can't use
- you must set
net.ipv6.conf.<iface>.accept_ra sysctl to value 2 and trigger SLAAC with
rdisc6 <iface> to restore the default route if the kernel removed while enabling forwarding.
Following environment variables are available for processes started with
- re6stnet_iface: value of
- re6stnet_ip: IPv6 set on main interface
- re6stnet_subnet: your subnet, written in CIDR notation
- re6stnet_network: the re6st network you belong to, written in CIDR notation
Starting Re6st Automatically
If the /etc/re6stnet/re6stnet.conf configuration file exists, re6stnet is automatically started as a daemon. This is done is 2 different ways, depending on whether it is bound or not to a specific interface, by using the main-interface option:
- If the option is not given (or if it is set to 'lo'), then it is automatically started/stopped by
systemd(1). Debian package also provides SysV init scripts.
- Otherwise, it is automatically started/stopped when the related network interface is enabled/disabled by
NetworkManager(8). Debian package also provides ifupdown scripts.
Important note about NetworkManager
It is required to configure properly every connection defined in NetworkManager because default settings are wrong and conflict with re6st:
Tips and Tricks
Joining An Existing Network
Once you know the registry URL of an existing network, use re6st-conf to get a certificate:
re6st-conf --registry http://re6st.example.com/
-r option to add public information to your certificate. A token will be sent to the email you specify, in order to confirm your subscription. Files will be created by default in current directory and they are all required for re6stnet:
re6stnet --dh dh2048.pem --ca ca.crt --cert cert.crt --key cert.key \
Setting A New Network
First you need to know the prefix of your network: let's suppose it is 2001:db8:42::/48. From it, you computes the serial number of the Certificate authority (CA) that will be used by the registry node to sign delivered certificates, as follows: translate the significant part to hexadecimal (ie. 20010db80042) add a 1 as the most significant digit:
openssl req -nodes -new -x509 -key ca.key -set_serial 0x120010db80042 \
-days 365 -out ca.crt
re6st-registry --help for examples to create key/dh files).
The CA email will be used as sender for mails containing tokens. The registry can now be started:
re6st-registry --ca ca.crt --key ca.key --mailhost smtp.example.com
The registry uses the builtin HTTP server of Python. For security, it should be behind a proxy like Apache. The first registered node should be always up because its presence is used by all other nodes to garantee they are connected to the network. The registry also emits UDP packets that are forwarded via a localhost re6st node, and it is recommended that this is the first one:
re6st-conf --registry http://localhost/
If re6st-conf is run in the directory containing CA files, ca.crt will be overridden without harm. See previous section for more information to create a node. For bootstrapping, you may have to explicitly set an IP in the configuration of the first node, via the
--ip option. Otherwise, additional nodes won't be able to connect to it.
Q: Why Is Bootstraping Taking So Long?
A: When many nodes are saturated or behind unconfigurated NAT, it may take some time to bootstrap. However, if you really think something goes wrong, you should first enable OpenVPN logs and increase verbosity: see commented directives in configuration generated by re6st-conf.
Q: What Are Potential Causes For Setup Failures?
A: A common failure is caused by a misconfigured firewall:
- re6st launches several OpenVPN processes. Those in client mode may connect to any TCP/UDP port in IPv4. Server processes only listen to ports specified by
- re6st nodes use UDP port 326 to communicate. It must be open on all re6st IPv6.
- OpenVPN always aborts due to inactivity timeout when Babel paquets are filtered. UDP port 6696 must be open on link-local IPv6 of all interfaces managed by Babel.
Other security components may also break re6st. For example, default SELinux configuration on Fedora prevents execution of OpenVPN server processes.
re6st is Free Software, licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL v3 (or later). For details, please see Nexedi licensing.