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Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) resolves IPv4 limitations on address space in addition to providing increased support for mobility, auto-configuration, security, and Quality of Service.

Technology Description
Benefit to NASA Enterprises
NREN Project Activities

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) was developed within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) community to resolve shortcomings with the current IPv4 protocol. Perhaps the most compelling justification for transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 is IPv4's limitation on address space. There is growing concern that IPv4 will soon run out of addresses due to an upsurge in new mobile wireless devices being added to the Internet. Additional advantages of IPv6 over IPv4 include enhanced support for mobility, auto-configuration, increased security, and increased support for Quality of Service. Even though IPv6 became an IETF Draft Standard in 1998 and it has been tested extensively, it has not yet been widely deployed on the Internet.

There is increasing interest in IPv6 within the networking community. Several high-performance networks have already implemented IPv6. For example, the Defense Department is realizing the need for more IP addresses to support proliferation of mobile devices in the battlefield, and specified a deadline in 2008 for all Defense Department networks to be fully compatible with all IPv6 networks. Since NASA will soon have similar requirements for more IP addresses as Internet capabilities are extended into space, the agency's experimentation with IPv6 is critical for future NASA missions.

During 2003, NREN implemented an IPv6 network testbed between NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Glenn Research Center, and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The current focus is peering with other high-performance networks and implementing multicast over IPv6.

Links

IETF v6 Working Group

IPv6 Forum

IPv6 Portal

IPv6 Day Site

IPv6 to Standard Organization

Internet2 IPv6 Working Group

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