Defense Department teams with UNH-IOL to build Moonv6 testing bed for IPv6 technology

Oct. 20, 2003
20 October 2003 Durham, NH Lightwave--The U.S. military and major networking companies have joined forces to launch the most aggressive test bed yet of next-generation Internet technology, known in the industry as IPv6, the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) has announced.

20 October 2003 Durham, NH Lightwave--The U.S. military and major networking companies have joined forces to launch the most aggressive test bed yet of next-generation Internet technology, known in the industry as IPv6, the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL)has announced.

For the next six months, the Moonv6 project, a collaboration between industry, engineers, and several U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) organizations, will operate the largest multi-vendor IPv6 network to date. The network will provide the North American market with strong validation for IPv6 by testing and demonstrating the technology's effectiveness under real-world conditions. The UNH-IOL has completed the Moonv6 project's initial interoperability and test period, which ran Oct. 7 - Oct. 17. The network will continue to serve as a U.S.-wide proving ground for use by industry, universities, research labs, Internet providers, the DoD and other government agencies, assisting in the evolution of the next generation Internet protocol for full, wide-scale adoption and deployment throughout North America.

The IPv6 network, based at the University of New Hampshire, involves more than 30 organizations and reaches from Durham, NH to San Diego, CA. The Moonv6 project is a collaborative effort between the UNH-IOL, the North American IPv6 Task Force (NAv6TF), Internet2 (I2), and the Joint Interoperability Testing Command (JITC) along with other DoD agencies, including the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. The DoD began phasing out IPv4 this autumn, mandating that all networking devices sold to the military must be IPv6 compatible by 2008.

"Future combat and defense systems need network ubiquity, mobility and security that the current Internet protocol, IPv4, cannot provide," said Major Roswell V. Dixon, JITC tactical data systems and IPv6 test director. "The lack of security and flexibility in the current protocol has hampered efforts to build next-generation secure communications. The joint effort of the Moonv6 project has established a large-scale IP-distributed test and demonstration network with realistic implementation and architecture that addresses interoperability and reinforces the viability of IPv6."

IPv6 was designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to replace the current Internet protocol. Today's Internet has run on IPv4 for nearly 20 years, resulting in a growing shortage of the IP network addresses needed by all new machines added to the Internet. IPv6 solves this problem and improves network routing and configuration processes. IPv6 is expected to gradually replace IPv4, with the two coexisting for a number of years during a transition period. Moonv6 was formed to advance the new protocol and promote it throughout the industry.

While the majority of the interoperability testing has taken place at the UNH-IOL and the JITC base at Fort Huachuca, AZ, the network includes application servers running at Fort Monmouth, NJ; the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Centers in Charleston, NC and San Diego, CA; the Air Force Communications Command (AFCC) headquarters in Scott AFB, IL; and the Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command (MCNOSC) center in Quantico, VA.

The Moonv6 organization's primary IPv6 test event involved approximately 80 servers, switches and routers configured in dual stack mode, with IPv4 and IPv6 running in tandem. Network applications were run end-to-end over a professionally designed local topology and to other sites to determine how routers and servers would interact on both local and wide area networks. The test results, which as a matter of general
policy are only made publicly available in a generic format, proved that the protocol is indeed robust and stable enough for large-scale implementation.

"North America has plenty of network addresses, but Asia and Europe are running out of them, leaving North America in danger of becoming an island of IPv4 in an IPv6 world," said Ben Schultz, managing engineer at UNH-IOL. "The success of this event should effectively clear the way for wide industry adoption of IPv6 throughout the North American market."

The full list of participating communications service providers, equipment vendors and test equipment companies is as follows:

Service providers and laboratories. Chunghwa Telecom, France Telecom, NTT R&D, Root Server Test Bed, Sprint, UNH-IOL, U.S. Department of Defense, Agilent Technologies, Ixia, Navtel Communications, and Spirent Communications.

Networking equipment vendors. 6Wind, Checkpoint Communications, Cisco Systems, Elmic Systems, EMC, Extreme Networks, Foundry Networks, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, Hexago, IBM, IP Infusion, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia, Procket
Networks, Microsoft, S-Net Systems, SUN Microsystems, and Windriver.

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