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US defence dept starts IPv6 interoperability tests

The US Department of Defense is to run a two-week test programme, called Moon, which will examine interoperability of Internet Protocol version 6 with equipment, software and services.

One of the major factors driving the move from the IPv4, to IPv6 is a perceived scarcity of IP addresses for new devices such as internet-enabled mobile phones.

IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long, enough for around four billion unique addresses, although inefficiencies in the division and allocation of the address space means that many of these are not available for use. IPv6 extends the address length to 128 bits, or around 340 billion billion billion billion unique addresses.

While governments and network operators in Europe and Asia have been conducting large-scale tests of IPv6 for the past three years, the US response to IPv6 has been "lacklustre", according to the Moon organisers' website. They said the US is still playing catch-up: the DoD's tests were due to begin on 3 October and finish on 17 October, but have not yet begun.

Participants in the Moon tests include the DoD, the Interoperability Laboratory of the University of New Hampshire, the North American IPv6 Task Force, networking software and equipment companies including IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, Sun Microsystems and Nokia, as well as the Japanese network operator Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.

Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service

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