Navy will test IPv6 on nonclassified network

Navy will test IPv6 on nonclassified network

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

In the coming year, the Navy plans to test an IPv6 version of the Non-Classified IP Router Network.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, S.C., will run the tests at three or four military bases, Michael P. Brig said last month at the IP Version 6 conference in Washington.

Brig, SPAWAR-Charleston's Next Generation Internet program manager, said government organizations are conducting 'lots of IPv6 impact studies' in view of the rapidly declining availability of 32-bit IP Version 4 addresses [GCN, Aug. 21, Page 1].

Dual IPv4-IPv6 stacks will soon be in place on the Defense Information Systems Network Leading Edge Services network. Brig said the stacks will be tested in the Commander in Chief for the 21st Century Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstration. The demo presentation will test IPv6 security and the cost-effectiveness of migration from IPv4 addressing.

DISN-LES will be a joint effort by SPAWAR; the Army's Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J.; the U.S. Pacific Command; and the Advanced Information Technology Services Joint Program Office of the Defense Information Systems Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The test sites will route their traffic using Compaq AlphaServers, Microsoft Windows 2000, asynchronous transfer mode switches, LAN switches and Cisco 3660 routers from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

Besides address exhaustion, the rapidly growing use of peer-to-peer, mobile and always-on Internet applications is driving adoption of IPv6, Brig said at the conference.

A 128-bit IPv6 address is sufficient to connect to a peer without intermediate routing delays for address lookup.

13 bits for security

The Defense Department will use 13 of the 128 bits in each IPv6 address for security information, which he said is important to ensure military chain-of-command integrity and secrecy.

SPAWAR has hired Opnet Technologies Inc. of Washington to develop an IPv6 model library for use in military modeling and simulation. The model library is to be finished by next October.

Bob Fink, associate head of research for the Energy Sciences Network at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., said, 'It has not been hard to set up, manage and operate IPv6 nets. Overall, 6 acts and works like 4.'

Fink, co-chairman of the Internet Engineering Task Force's IPv6 working group, has led the 6bone global test bed effort and helped build the international research and education network, 6REN.

'The 6bone will continue as long as it's needed,' he said, but 'it's not the best way to make the transition to 6.'

Fink said ESnet and the Canadian Research Network have set up an IPv6 peering point at the National Science Foundation's Star Tap access point in Chicago. The peering point, which interconnects many of the early production IPv6 networks, is developing a peering policy for the Internet. More information is posted at


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