DISA exec is upbeat about IPv6 and VOIP

The Defense Information Systems Agency is moving to a converged voice, video and data network, and spearheading the migration to the latest Internet protocol.

But while the agency is embracing voice over IP and Internet Protocol Version 6, Diann McCoy, DISA's component acquisition executive, expects the transitions to the new technologies to take time.

'Nothing happens in a single moment, or a single day, in a single week. That's why ' we always operate in a hybrid environment. Many things are always going on,' McCoy said in an interview at a program management conference in Washington sponsored by the E-Gov Institute.

'We're looking at various different ways to implement VOIP, and we have some folks who are doing planning to determine what the best approach is,' she said. 'It's being used in experimental cases in different places.'

In March, DISA awarded Nortel Networks of Brampton, Ontario, a $20 million contract for IP-based voice switches. The high-capacity gear is expected to pave the way for next-generation VOIP phone service through DISA's global networks.

The agency is equally optimistic about plans to convert to the next-generation IP. The Defense Department is leading the migration efforts across the federal government to transition to the new protocol by 2008. McCoy said DISA is on track to meet the deadline.

'We have a really good IPv6 master plan. We'll be getting to see products that are being built toward that standard. And we've laid out some time-gates as to when certain capabilities will be available and be employed,' McCoy said. 'And all our programs and projects for which IPv6 is relevant have gone though a process to make sure they're doing the proper planning.'

In September, DISA awarded a $3.8 million task order to SI International Inc. of Reston, Va., to provide technical and personnel support to the IPv6 Transition Office, including technology transfer coordination and the development of network transition software products.

Networking analysts say some clients could remain indefinitely at the current IPv4 standard. This, though, is all part of 'the challenge of transitioning,' McCoy said.

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