IT execs ask: What can IPv6 do for me?

Preparations to install IPv6 on government backbone networks are in full swing, but who's asking, "How can IPv6 improve government services?"

The first bullet point on many Defense Department briefing slides about IPv6 is a warning that DOD soon will run out of addresses for the current protocol, IPv4, and therefore it must bring the military's networks over to the new standard. But are IPv4 addresses truly becoming a scarce commodity at DOD?

'The answer to that is no,' said Kris Strance, senior information technology analyst in DOD's Chief Information Officer's Office.

Other countries, such as China and Japan, are faced with a shortage of IPv4 addresses, but not DOD,  he said.

IPv6's new capabilities, not its larger pool of addresses, make a compelling case for the transition to IPv6, Strance said.

'We could continue to operate with the address space that we have, but then we would not be able to take advantage of some of the advanced features that IPv6 offers,' he said.

Those features include automatic configuration of ad-hoc networks on the battlefield and the use of IPv6 networks for communications on the move.

' Sebastian Sprenger

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