Concerns over slow IPV6 migration plan in Nigeria
THE lack of commitment by Nigeria and other African countries to migrate from Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which is the latest IP address system, has become a source of worry among stakeholders in the region.
According to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the body responsible for the global coordination of the Domain Name System (DNS) Root, IP addressing, and other Internet protocol resources, the IPv4 resources have been exhausted and gradually going into extinction, now makes the migration to IPV6 a must for countries. The IPv6 is the latest version of the IP.
It is the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet.
Globally, major efforts are going on in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Europe, USA, among others to deploy the IPv6 across their networks and services.
European commission is perusing the R & D activities in the IPv6 area, as well, focusing on projects, networks, trials and applications developed and demonstrated under the Information Society Technologies (IST) Program.
But despite the efforts so far, report has it that the IPv6 adoption rate is slow, with only 2.7 per cent of the top one million websites ready for it. This challenge appeared to be highest in the African region.
As such, at the organized Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) forum in Lagos, recently, it urged the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to set guidelines for the transition from IPv4 transition to IPv6 to ensure Nigerians enjoy the improvements to addressing, configuration and maintenance, and security of the internet.
Speaking during the network engineers’ training session, hosted by the Association in partnership with VDT Communications and African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), the President of ATCON, Lanre Ajayi, said though there is no deadline to IPv6 transition, but that the NCC can opt to set the tune to help bring the issue to the front burner.
Ajayi, who is bitter about Nigeria’s slow process towards the transition, stressed that the country could be left behind in the Internet world.
He cited Nigeria’s failure to meet the International Telecommunications Union (ITU’s) 2015 digital broadcasting transition and warned that it might be repeated with the IP version transition. “NCC as a national commission should cautiously rollout IPv6 transition policy.
When they implement policies in that regards, it may set a deadline, particularly in the area of type approval. Therefore, they should begin to monitor the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to ensure that technology equipment and devices imported into the Country are IPV6 complaint”, he stated.
According to Ajayi, an engineer, not transiting is very dangerous. He observed that Nigeria and most African nations, with consumerism posture, stand to lose their places in the Internet community, “hence the OEMs after transiting will simply stop manufacturing them and we will be completely left out.”
To ensure the message of IPv6 goes beyond the IT industry, he said that more advocacies on the importance of transiting are needed. However, Ajayi argued, although the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) relevance in the push for migration cannot be voided, however, the onus does not lie squarely on the Association.
“NiRA is not an IP organisation, rather associated with domain name. NiRA is to name, AFRINIC number. So, AFRINIC is responsible for issuing number to devices/individuals/organizations in the African region. It’s not within the purview of NiRA, but there is a relationship between domain names and IP numbers.
IP number is compulsory for every device connected to the Internet, but domain names are easier to remember. “NITDA also has a responsibility. Last year they supported in training engineers in readiness to the transition. As an IT development agency, it has responsibility in anything that is IT related.”
Also speaking at the forum, the Training Manager, AFRINIC, Mukon Tamon, said that Nigeria and Africa had to make IPV6 migration a reality.
Tamon urged Nigeria to lead the step towards the transition by creating a technical community that would fast track the effort.
In one his interviews with The Guardian, the Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Gbenga Adebayo said transiting from IPv4 to IPv6 requires making the software routers smooth on switching and transmission sides.
According to him, for the implementation of IPv6, “operators are ready but for some peculiar challenges such as multiple taxation, insecurity of their equipment, high cost of operation in Nigeria they find it difficult to switch on IPv6, even after receiving licence to operate.” If these are not addressed, he said that the pace of migration might be slowed down than expected.