Test network for IPv6 is running around-the-clock

The Defense Department 'wants IPv6 for all the services,' Maj. Roswell Dixon of the Joint Interoperability Test Command told the Moonv6 Phase II wrap-up conference today. 'Multiple sites in the services are going to stay up, 24 by 7.'

The Phase II test network drew participants from around the world, routing packets by the Internet Protocol Version 6 instead of its more cramped predecessor, IPv4. DOD sites began connecting to Moon v6 last fall and now apparently will continue without a break, some of them running both stacks on the same network.

The reason, Dixon said, is that 'warfighters need to move, shoot and communicate in a seamless fashion. You can't keep them in a box.' At the same time, 'you can't turn v4 off tonight and v6 on tomorrow morning,' Dixon said. 'It has to be well thought out. In operation Iraqi Freedom, we need more IP addresses. It affects not only the infantry guy but the supply and logistics lines. They have to continue moving.'

Outgoing DOD CIO John Stenbit became the driving force in the military community, Dixon said, by mandating a DOD transition to the new protocol by 2008.

The Defense Information Systems Agency has the job of developing a transition plan, with 'mobility and security at the head of the list,' he said. JITC, at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., is to explore routing technologies for legacy Defense databases and configurations.

Besides DOD, Moonv6 Phase II participants included the North American IPv6 Task Force, the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Laboratory, the Internet2 Consortium, and carriers AT&T VPN Services, France Telecom R&D and NTT DoCoMo of Japan.

Jim Bound, chairman of the IPv6 Task Force, said emerging mobile devices especially need the stateless, end-to-end features of IPv6 to 're-create the network at any point in time.'

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