Task Force Deploys IPv6 Pilot Network

The North American IPv6 Task Force (NAv6TF) announced Monday the launch of North America’s largest Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) pilot network. Known as Moonv6, it is being deployed to provide the North American market with strong validation for IPv6 through testing and demonstrating the technology’s effectiveness under real-world conditions.

The Moonv6 project is a collaborative effort between NAv6TF, the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), Internet2 (I2), and the Joint Interoperability Testing Command (JITC) along with other Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, including the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.

Taking place across the U.S. at multiple locations for the next six months, the Moonv6 project represents the most aggressive collaborative IPv6 interoperability and application demonstration event in the North American market to date.

The current version of the Internet’s operating system, IPv4, has been in use by DoD for almost 30 years. Its fundamental limitations, along with the world-wide explosion of Internet use, inhibit net-centric operations

IPv6 is designed to overcome the limitations of IPv4, such as the limited number of available IPv4 addresses and adds improvements to IPv4 such as routing and networking auto-configuration. After a period of co-existence, IPv6 is expected to replace IPv4 as the standard system for the Internet.

The IPv6 network, based at UNH, involves more than 30 organizations and reaches from Durham, N.H., to San Diego, Calif. The UNH-IOL has completed the Moonv6 project’s initial interoperability and test period, which ran Oct. 7-17. Moonv6 will continue to operate past this initial phase as a U.S.-wide proving ground for use by industry, universities, research labs, Internet providers, application providers, the DoD and other government agencies, and as a tool to assist in the evolution of IPv6 for early adoption and deployment within the North American geography.

The NAv6TF 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 Jim Bound, chair of the NAv6TF, chair of the IPv6 Forum Technical Directorate and HP fellow.

The NAv6TF, under the auspices of the IPv6 Forum, the U.S. Cybersecurity Office and the DoD defined the idea for Moonv6 during a meeting to discuss IPv6 technology deployment benefits. The DoD goal is to complete the transition to IPv6 for all inter and intra networking across the DoD by FY 2008.

“Moonv6 will prove to be a wealth of information and practical experience for all involved,” said Yurie Rich, NAv6TF business director and Native6 president. “One of the NAv6TF’s primary objectives is to increase the level of understanding and technical expertise of the next generation Internet protocol for our North American constituents. I can’t imagine a more productive way to accomplish that than Moonv6.”

Latif Ladid, president of the IPv6 Forum, added, “The IPv6 community and stakeholders applaud the U.S. Department of Defense for leadership in IPv6 and for taking the Internet where it should go. This massive call to action is unprecedented in the history of the Internet as IPv6 will restore the fundamental end-to-end model of the Internet, the prime enabling technology piece for growth and innovation for everyone and everything to be on the Net where it makes sense.”

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