RealTime IT News

Pentagon to Outline IPv6 Progress

ARLINGTON, Va. -- John L. Osterholz, the Pentagon's director of architecture and interoperability, will discuss the Department of Defense's (DoD) transition to Internet Protocol Version 6 (Ipv6) this morning during his keynote at the U.S. IPv6 Summit 2003.

The current version of the Internet's operating system, IPv4, has been used for almost 30 years. Its fundamental limitations, along with the worldwide explosion of Internet use, inhibit Net-centric operations.

IPv6 is designed to overcome its IPv4's shortcomings, such as an insufficient number of available addresses, and makes improvements such as routing and networking auto-configuration. After a phase-in period, IPv6 will replace IPv4 as the standard.

According to the Pentagon, IPv6 will integrate elements of the DoD's global information grid, including its sensors, weapons, platforms, information and people. The Pentagon's goal is to complete the transition to IPv6 by fiscal year 2008.

"IPv6 provides operational benefits to the Department of Defense and private enterprise that are not available with the current Internet technology," said Jim Bound, chair of the North American IPv6 Task Force and the IPv6 Forum Technical Directorate.

In addition to speakers from the defense community, the four-day conference features executives from AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cisco, Juniper, NEC America, Oracle, Verio Network Services and NTT.

In June, DoD established a strategy to meet its timetable. A key element requires that, starting in October, all network capabilities purchased by DoD be both IPv6-capable and interoperable with IPv4.

"It's been six months since the Department of Defense announced that IPv6 would be mandated for projects related to the Global Information Grid, and this is the best place and time for the top people in the U.S. from industry and government to join forces and coordinate all their efforts so that we again have power to edge and push the end to end Internet farther and further than ever," said Alex Lightman, chairman of the U.S. IPv6 Summit 2003 and marketing director of the North American IPv6 Task Force.

To support the Pentagon's efforts, the North American IPv6 Task Force in October launched the IPv6 pilot network. Known as Moonv6, it is being deployed to provide demonstrate the technology's effectiveness under real-world conditions.

The project is a collaborative effort between the North American IPv6 Task Force, the University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Laboratory, Internet2, and the Joint Interoperability Testing Command along with other DoD agencies.

Taking place at multiple U.S. locations over the next six months, the Moonv6 project represents the most aggressive IPv6 interoperability and application demonstration event to date in North America. After testing, Moonv6 will continue to operate as a nationwide proving ground for industry, universities, research labs, Internet providers, application providers and other government agencies.

The North American IPv6 Task Force mission is to keep Moonv6 up and running permanently as the North American IPv6 backbone.

"Moonv6 was a critical milestone and success for the North American IPv6 Task Force in our effort to demonstrate that IPv6 supports a robust core networking infrastructure that can be used to now begin IPv6 network infrastructure deployment," said Bound.