Work on IPv6 integration and migration surges

The needs and benefits of moving to next-generation Internet technology, known as Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), was a highlight of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum conference and trade show last month in San Diego.

Apr 1st, 2008

By Courtney E. Howard

SAN DIEGO—The needs and benefits of moving to next-generation Internet technology, known as Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), was a highlight of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum conference and trade show last month in San Diego.

“I’m not here to advocate everyone run out and deploy IPv6 today,” said Rick Jones, director of Global Government Solutions Group, at Cisco Systems Inc. in San Jose, Calif., to conference attendees. He also notes the importance of IPv6 and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) mandate to move to it.

Among the global drivers of IPv6 are: the depletion of IP address space (which has resulted in a slow down of Internet growth and expansion); national IT strategy; Microsoft Vista and Server 2008; and infrastructures evolution (e.g., cable and mobile service providers are moving to IPv6, and Verizon’s management plans to have the company’s entire infrastructure IPv6-enabled and running in 2009), says Jones.

The Internet population, mobile networks, mobile Internet, and digital appliances and sensors, which now number in the billions, continue to surge, yet IPv4 provides 4.28 billion physical addresses. “We are running out of IP address space,” says Jones. “Between 2010 and 2011, all the allocated addresses will be consumed. These are signs that we are close to the edge with IPv4—this is the dynamics of the Internet continuing to grow.” IPv4 cannot support future networked force capabilities.

The DOD goal is to complete the transition to IPv6 for all inter and intra networking across the DOD this year. The defense environment continues to evolve. For example, collaboration is no longer optional; agility and flexibility are required.

The DOD needs to transition to IPv6 for several reasons, including: network ubiquity, proliferation of IP-based devices/applications, collaboration, and a move to everything over IP—all of which provides a robust feature set for network-centric warfare.

The transition to IPv6 will touch everything, says Jones: DOD applications, COTS applications, command and control, network management, and LAN and tactical LAN. It’s transition through technology refresh, he explains.

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