Enabling IPv6 on existing VPCs and subnets

AWS announced in December 2016 IPv6 Support for EC2 Instances in Virtual Private Clouds  in the US East (Ohio) Region only. At the end of January they finally extended the support in every AWS region, as for the post AWS IPv6 Update – Global Support Spanning 15 Regions & Multiple AWS Services.


How do you benefit from the new feature? Before creating IPv6 Application Load Balancers or EC2 instances in your VPCs, you need enable IPv6 support for the VPC and the subnet(s). Yes, you do not need to recreate the subnets. In case you have many VPCs to enable, it’s easier to rely on the AWS Command Line Interface.

Enable IPv6 using the CLI

Let’s say you have a VPC with subnets called staging, if you accept the default AWS range and distribute the subnets in a simple way, you just need a few lines in bash to enabled IPv6 for the VPC and all the associated subnets


vpcid=$(aws ec2 describe-vpcs --filters Name=tag-value,Values=$vpc_name 
| jq .Vpcs[].VpcId |  sed 's/"//g')

echo "Enabling IPv6 for VPC $vpcid"

aws ec2 associate-vpc-cidr-block --amazon-provided-ipv6-cidr-block --vpc-id $vpcid

ipv6range=$(aws ec2 describe-vpcs --filters Name=tag-value,Values=$vpc_name | 
jq .Vpcs[].Ipv6CidrBlockAssociationSet[].Ipv6CidrBlock | sed 's/"//g')


echo "IPv6 VPC range is $ipv6range"

subnets=$(aws ec2 describe-subnets--filters Name=vpc-id,Values=$vpcid 
| jq .Subnets[].State | wc -l)
while [  $COUNTER -lt $subnets ]; do
     subnetid=$(aws ec2 describe-subnets --filters Name=tag-value,Values=$vpc_name* 
| jq .Subnets[$COUNTER].SubnetId | sed 's/"//g')
     echo "IPv6 subnet $subnetid range $ipv6rangeprefix"
     aws ec2 associate-subnet-cidr-block --subnet-id $subnetid --ipv6-cidr-block $ipv6rangeprefix

You can perform manually all the steps above on the AWS console but as usual it is easier to handle multiple AWS accounts or deployments using the AWS Command Line Interface. You can as well loop and update all your VPCs in a single script.