WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense is leading the way among U.S. federal agencies in moving to the latest version of the Internet.
While other Federal Government offices are just beginning the shift from the current IPv4 to IPv6, with its vastly increased number of Internet addresses, DOD has already made substantial progress toward meeting its goal of becoming IPv6-compliant by 2008, Military Information Geochronology reported in its online edition Tuesday.
The military's role as a model for the IPv6 transition was a major theme of an IPv6 Summit, held in Reston, VA., in early December, MIT said.
IPv6 replaces the 32-bit addresses of IPv4 with 128-bit addresses, creating a nearly limitless range of address combinations rather than the few billion permitted by IPv4.
IPv6, which also offers improved security and other benefits, is a vital element in network-centric warfare, Linton Wells II, the former acting assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration and DOD chief information officer, told the December conference according to the MIT report.
"Some of the mobile dynamic tactical networks we're moving to are going to demand an IP basis. They're going to be very mobile and ad hoc, and they obviously have to inter-operate and have features like quality of service, security and netops. We don't think that IPv4 is going to be able to support those requirements," Wells said.
"Some of the drivers will be the explosive proliferation of IP-addressed applications and devices, such as unattended ground sensors and radio frequency identification," he said. "So we're going to have an explosion of IP addresses in DOD. We need to have robust networking capabilities in this kind of environment, and to be able to form dynamic communities of interest."