Wednesday, April 22, 2009
... As another digital divide looms
Another digital divide may be looming in Africa with Nigeria, the most populous nation on the continent, missing in action with regards to adoption of the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in the country.
Presently, only four African countries have existing national chapters on the new internet protocol introduced over 18 years ago in 1991, its specification was completed in 1997 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
IPv6 as backward compatible platform was designed to fix the shortcomings of IPv4, such as data security and maximum number of user addresses.
Whereas IPv6 is said to have virtually unlimited address it is expected to increase the address space from 32 to 128 bits, thus providing for all intents and purposes the number of networks and systems, that is four times larger than IPv4 address space.
Also, it supports quality of service (QoS) parameters for real-time audio and video, even as it was originally classified as “IP Next Generation” (IPng). IPv6 is anticipated to slowly replace IPv4, in less than 783 days to its exhaustion with the plans for the two to co-exist side by side for some years to come, according to the Japanese Intec Netcore Incorporated.
IPv6 was officially deployed in July 2004 when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) added IPv6 records to its Domain Name System (DNS) root server for the .jp (Japan) and .kr (Korea) country codes.
However, the IPv5 was an experimental streaming audio cum video protocol, which had nothing to do with the fundamental structure of IP addressing, according to ICANN.
But investigations by ITRealms Online at the weekend revealed that Nigeria is
notably missing as a member of the IPV6 forum at all level, especially since it has no national chapter, but could relate to the forum through the nearest national chapter, obviously in Ghana.
Also, our investigations showed that out of the 52 regional and national chapters currently alive within the IPV6 entities fashioning the future of new internet address, only four African countries seem to be active. These countries apart from Ghana include Senegal, Morocco and Egypt.
Presently active members of the IPv6 include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bretagne, California, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, Europe, Finland and France.
So, also, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latin America,Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, MidAtlantic IPv6 TF, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, and North America.
Others are Pacific Islands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, UK, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke to ITRealms Online anonymously said that Nigeria’s inability to join now to start the campaign on the need to migrate to IPv6, may constitute another wave of digital divide, which the country is already battling to cash-up with the availability and penetration of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) spurred by liberalization of the telecom market.
They also warned that it may be shocking to note that there is no Internet user in the country that is IPv6 compliant, because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are yet to migrate their networks, hence drawing the vital attention to this platform.
The IPv6 Forum is a consortium of worldwide leading Internet vendors, industry subject matter experts, research & education networks, with a clear mission to advocate IPv6 by dramatically improving technology, market, and deployment, user and industry awareness of IPv6, creating a quality and secure new generation Internet and allowing world-wide equitable access to knowledge and technology, embracing a moral responsibility to the world.
To this end, the IPv6 forum has established an open, international forum of IPv6 expertise comprising shared IPv6 knowledge and experience among members, promoted new IPv6-based applications and global solutions, promoted interoperable implementations of Ipv6 standards, co-operated to achieve end-to-end quality of service and resolved issues that create barriers to IPv6 deployment.
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