Agencies see signs that IPv4 is running out of room

Agencies see signs that IPv4 is running out of room

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

AUG. 15'Evidence of IPv4 address exhaustion is showing up on government networks, said Michael P. Brig, the Next Generation Internet program manager at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in Charleston, S.C.

SPAWAR-Charleston's technical network can no longer get new addresses, Brig said. "We asked for two IPv4 subnets, and there are no more addresses," he said. "To a greater or lesser extent, that's true throughout the government."

Predictions of an address crisis in the current, 32-bit Internet Protocol Version 4 date back to the early 1990s, but global transition to the more capacious 128-bit Version 6 has not begun, except experimentally [see story at www.gcn.com/vol18_no36/news/948-1.html].

SPAWAR-Charleston and other DOD organizations are sponsoring a departmentwide IPv6 intranet pilot, starting with about five sites. Brig said the sites will provide "only power and space. We will deliver the equipment'standard commercial routers, servers and clients running Windows 2000, and a Compaq AlphaServer for Domain Name System lookup."

He said the pilot intranet, scheduled to go up by year's end, will run as a mixed, dual-stack network that carries both types of protocol traffic. It will test their relative security levels and other issues. The experimental sites will get their blocks of IPv6 addresses from the American Registry for Internet Numbers Ltd., at www.arin.net.

The last time an IP transition occurred was in 1983, involving about 1,000 computers that constituted the Advanced Research Projects Agency's Arpanet, the Internet's precursor. This time, about 90 million computers will have to be brought up to date to make traffic protocol-compatible, Brig said.

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