By Ian Graham
Defense Media Activity
Reports have been circulating of an upcoming “Internet crunch,” a phenomenon web experts expect will occur when Internet protocol version four (IPv4) runs out of space for IP addresses, the identification numbers assigned to computers and other devices connected to a network.
To delay effects of the possible crunch on the Defense Department (DoD) and increase tactical communications capabilities, the Department is going to adopt a combination of existing IPv4 infrastructure and newer IPv6 equipment, said Kris Strance, the DoD chief of IP policy. He will discuss the Internet crunch in more detail on DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable on Thursday, June 24, at 1100 EDT.
Strance says the DoD has nothing to worry about, at least internally. He said due to DoD’s early involvement in the creation of the Internet (a product of DARPA), it has more address space at its disposal than most other organizations worldwide.
“What we have to be concerned about it our outward-facing websites that connect with folks that might only have IPv6, so we’ll need to make sure those are both v6 and v4 compatible,” he said.
Defense’s upgrade has much more to do with increasing communications capability on the move, for example on a ship moving through various areas of responsibility or an aircraft flying long distances to strike a target.
Those other organizations, whether government or commercial, will have something to worry about, he said. A spike in network users, especially in the form of smartphones, netbooks, and other portable network devices, has increased the likelihood of network problems.
“Your cell phone, your smart phone, your iPad, your laptop, your refrigerator, whatever device you can possibly manage that can be connected for whatever reason to receive information – all of that is going to take up address space,” Strance said.
Strance said the best way to prepare for the shift is to pay attention to computer equipment’s IP capability when making purchases. Generally all new computer models are equipped for IPv6 (and can handle IPv4), but some hardware and network software isn’t compatible yet. By purchasing IPv6-capable materials, commanders can avoid extra expense for replacements.
He said he doesn’t anticipate the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 to cause any network problems.
For more information, tune in to this week’s DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Mr. Kris Strance on, June 24, at 1100 EDT.