Lockheed to begin IPv6 transition as 'pathfinder' for government clients

Lockheed Martin today announced a program to implement Version 6 of the Internet Protocols on segments of its Global Vision Network to help develop a road map for government customers' IPv6 transition.

Lockheed Martin is a major government contractor providing not only advanced weapons systems but also information technology services and support. Its government customers are very concerned about the move to IPv6 and are looking for expertise from their vendors to help them avoid pitfalls, said Frank Cuccias, director at the company's IPv6 Center of Excellence.

'The first thing they're going to ask is, 'Have you done it yourself?' ' Cuccias said.

So during the next few months, the company will be doing just that at 10 sites in California, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and the United Kingdom.

IPv6 is the next generation of the Internet Protocols that define how IT systems communicate and interoperate. The new protocols were developed to replace IPv4 and provide greater functionality, security and a vastly expanded address space than is available today on IP networks, particularly the Internet.

Deployment of IPv6 is in its early stages, but the Office of Management and Budget mandated in 2005 that agencies enable their core networks for IPv6 by June 2008. Although actual use of the new protocols could be limited for several years, agencies are bringing the technology to their network backbones now.

Cuccias said Lockheed Martin has been preparing for this transition for years.

'Back in 2000, we saw IPv6 on the radar for the government space' and developed the Center of Excellence, a collection of subject matter experts and laboratories to bring the technology in-house and begin studying it, Cuccias said. Government customers will bring their own applications and equipment onto the network for testing. 'These guys don't want to spend millions of dollars and duplicate seven years of research,' he said. 'This is going to save them an awful lot of time.'

Cuccias said much of the groundwork for the transition already has been done, and the 10 selected sites are expected to be IPv6 enabled by October. Eventually, the entire Global Vision Network will be transitioned, but there is not yet a timetable for that. The pilot program will contain dual-stack segments running both IPv4 and IPv6in addition to native IPv6 segments. It will test IPv6-enabled applications such as e-mail, voice and video over IP, and collaboration tools in addition to legacy mainframe applications.

'We want to see how it works,' he said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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