The need to migrate to IPv6 is long overdue and the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is not particularly happy that majority of networks in Nigeria are not Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) compatible.
According to Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON, networks’ snail-pace to adopting IPv6 poses a threat to Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development.
Teniola bared his mind at the commencement at a three-day international capacity building and enhancement workshop on IPv6 hosted by ATCON in collaboration with Africa Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), in Lagos, stressing that the Nigerian ICT sector can no longer afford to take the back seat in the global ICT development.
To leapfrog the adoption of IPv6, he said, the Association has taken a further step to involve the two key major stakeholders –the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) “and we are happy that these two important government establishment have bought into the future we are trying to create around the Nigerian ICT space”.
The National Executive Council of ATCON, under the leadership of Mr Teniola intends to enlarge the scope of the workshop to Nigerian IPv6 Conference by next year’s edition.
The Association’s President said that the direct implication of the proposed move by ATCON is to widen the market and accelerate the adoption and implementation of IPv6 for the good of the industry.
“The dividend pervasive broadband may be farfetched if as an industry or a country we are not working towards broadband meeting with technology. As we all know that when Internet of Things (IoTs) take their place in our country an individual may need more than ten IP addresses to enjoy the benefits that comes with IoTs.
engineers in the implementation and deployment of IPv6 for Nigerian ICT/telecoms development; the need to enhance the performance of our Network Engineers on network management with the ultimate goal of ensuring the sustainable growth of the Nigerian Telecom Industry is second to none globally. “Other reasons why ATCON has invested and is still investing heavily in the adoption of IPv6 are as follows: to increase the productivity and contribution level of our network
“We also want to provide Nigerian Network Engineers with the required knowledge to compete favourably with their counterparts in the global market; provision of quality training for those engineers that manage our networks which would help in tackling the problem of quality of service in the telecommunication industry; to provide impetus for Nigerian Network operators to migrate fromIPv4 to IPv6 with its attendant advantages.
“We encourage all our members to migrate to IPv6 so that the knowledge acquired in this four-day training could be put to use in their various organizations.
On his part, Mr. Abba Brice, AFRINIC representative said that apart from IPv6 addresses are based on 128 bits whereas IPv4 addresses are based on 32 bits, advantages of adopting IPV6 offers network administrators the visibility of each IP address based on preference.
This allows companies to keep IP addresses public, but still secure when transmitting between private networks.
According to him, AFRINIC understands the migration is capital intensive, but as more and more businesses are supporting VoIP, telework (i.e. videoconferences) and mobile work policies, removing dependency on network address translation (NAT) can dramatically increase network simplicity.
Deploying IPv6 infrastructure can also help businesses improve network performance and assure optimal performance within the network architecture, especially in ensuring secured network.
“IPv6 is the only technology currently available to directly connect large numbers of people and devices, as there are not enough unique addresses to give every mobile device a true end-to-end Internet presence. So, companies in Africa are encouraged to migrate to IPv6 as some devices in the market are already complaint”, Mr. Brice said.
By returning the Internet to an end-to-end model, IPv6 will unleash new opportunities and waves of innovation.
Supporting ATCON’s moves, Dr Isa Pantami, director general of NITDA, said that networks’ migration to IPv6 is another way to unleash knowledge economy in the country.
Dr. Pantami said that advanced countries have moved from a natural resource based economy to a knowledge based economy, and this was achieved through massive capacity development and implementation of IT.
“These countries have not only been able to develop IT, but have also utilized IT in the development of other socio-economic sectors of their country so that these sectors can generate wealth and recognition for the country”, he said.
The DG said, although IP version 4 is still very pervasive in the world today, however its usefulness will soon fade because of its limited address space, limited mobility, limited management, limited security, and the inability to support innovative and complex technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), cloud services, IP telephony, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“The IoT implementation for example will benefit from IPv6 abundance of IP address space of over a quadrillion addresses (3.4 x 1038). This address space can be assigned to every atom on earth and still have trillions of addresses left.
“This capacity for near infinite address space will drive these technologies which will in turn help with the advancement of every sector of the economy of Nigeria. Let me put it to you that the best time to start the implementation of IPv6 is now.
“The international registries like IANA, announced as long ago as 2011 that it had no more blocks of IPv4 left to distribute. Asia-Pacific registry APNIC reached IPv4 exhaustion in 2011, the same fate was experienced by European RIPE-NCC registry in 2012 and South American LACNIC in 2014. Even the North American registry. ARIN reached its final stages of IPv4 in 2014. These statistics show that IPv4 has outlived its usefulness and IPv6 is here to take over,” he said.
He further pledged NITDA’s resolve to collaborate with IPv6 council Nigeria, relevant government organizations and the academia to roll out standards/guidelines and roadmap on the implementation of IPv6 in the country.