Lockheed Martin begins to deploy IPv6

Lockheed Martin begins an IPv6 conversion project

U.S. government contractor Lockheed Martin has begun to move part of its network to IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) as a way of showing customers how to make the transition, the company said.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget in 2005 mandated that all government agencies upgrade their network backbones to IPv6 by 2008, and Lockheed Martin's project is meant as an example, said Frank Cuccias, director of the company's IPv6 Center of Excellence.

"We're doing this to show customers that it can be done, and how to do it the right way," Cuccias said late Wednesday. "We're continually looking to bleeding-edge technologies to see if they can be leveraged for our customers."

Lockheed Martin's transition to IPv6 started earlier this year, Cuccias said. The first phase of the transition will convert 10 nodes on the company's Global Vision Network (GVNet), between California and the U.K. The first phase, which will convert a small piece of GVNet, should be finished by late this year, a Lockheed Martin spokesman said.

The U.S. Department of Defense has led the push toward IPv6, and Lockheed Martin's conversion can help with the DOD's focus on net-centric warfare, Lockheed Martin said. "We see the enterprise as more than routers, switches, servers, etcetera," Cuccias said. "We see satellites, aircraft, missiles, and sensors as part of the enterprise."

Several customers have approached Lockheed Martin about testing their applications and network designs on its IPv6 network, he said.

Lockheed Martin is a long-time defense contractor that also focuses on electronic and information systems. The company, based in Bethesda, Maryland, reported sales of US$39.6 billion in 2006.

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