EUI-64 (Extended Unique Identifier) is a method we can use to automatically configure IPv6 host addresses. An IPv6 device will use the MAC address of its interface to generate a unique 64-bit interface ID. However, a MAC address is 48 bit and the interface ID is 64 bit. What are we going to do with the missing bits?
Here’s what we will do to fill the missing bits:
- We take the MAC address and split it into two pieces.
- We insert “FFFE” in between the two pieces so that we have a 64 bit value.
- We invert the 7th bit of the interface ID.
So if my MAC address would be 1234.5678.ABCD then this is what the interface ID will become:
Above you see how we split the MAC address and put FFFE in the middle. It doesn’t include the final step which is “inverting the 7th” bit. To do this you have to convert the first two hexadecimal characters of the first byte to binary, lookup the 7th bit and invert it. This means that if it’s a 0 you need to make it a 1, and if it’s a 1 it has to become a 0.
The 7th bit represents the universal unique bit. A “built in” MAC address will always have this bit set to 0. When you change the MAC address this bit has to be set to 1. Normally people don’t change the MAC addresses of their interfaces which means that EUI-64 will change the 7th bit from 0 to 1 most of the time. Here’s what it looks like: