The next version of the Internet Protocol, which provides a 128-bit standard to transmit data, is getting a jump-start for adoption with its endorsement by the Department of Defense.

The DOD is requiring all contractors involved in its Global Information Grid program to support the new Internet Protocol version 6 as of October 1, 2003. IPv6 is expected to replace the current 32-bit IP version 4 (IPv4) for nearly all Internet traffic by 2008. The replacement is necessary because the number of available of IP addresses is dwindling, say the standard's developers.

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