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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Experts give reasons for IPv4 decline

Cover of the week:

EXPERTS in the nation’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector have adduced some reasons why the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) has been on the decline.

Some of the expects who spoke to Champion Infotel on the depletion of IPv4 usage globally included the Presidents, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi and his counterpart in the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mr. Ndukwe Kalu.

In the view of Mr. Ajayi who also is the chief executive, PiNet Informatics is that the depletion was mainly because it was not anticipated at the creation of the Internet.

“The tremendous uptake of the Internet by the global community was perhaps not anticipated at the creation of the Internet, hence the adoption of a numbering system that is appearing to be inadequate just few decades to the commencement of the Internet,” he said.

He stressed that given that the IPv4 was reportedly running out, a solution for this was found in creation of another numbering plan known as Internet Protocol version Six (IPV6).

“The IPV6 is expected to address the limitations posed by the IPV4, considering the huge numbers available in IPV6,” he noted.

Mr. Ajayi observed that the adoption of IPV6 in Nigeria has been quite slow and Internet network operators have not been helpful in deploying IPv6.

He counselled Internet users in the country to ensure that new request for IP numbers should be on IPV6, which is now readily obtainable through the African registry, AFRINIC.

And for his NiRA counterpart, Mr. Kalu who also is the chief executive, Amsco Telecom, why IPv4 declined was due to absence of networks and lots of cybercafes have closed shops because the most telecom operators in a developing country like Nigeria are now offering this along their primary voice services.

“Most people are now going for private IP, which is now being offered by most telcos,” he pointed out.

Mr. Kalu maintained that most people who should use it have folded up.

IPv6, he said, is clearly a most for Nigeria Internet community, therefore, “we must move on to IPv6.”

NiRA, he said, is very much concerned about the depletion and adoption of IPv6, stressing that the association is strategising on how to remedy the situation of declined IPv4 usage and keeping a tap on IPv6.

Internet Protocol version 4 is the current common version of the Internet Protocol, the “IP” portion of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ((TCP/IP), which assumes the position of dominant protocol suite in the worldwide Internet. TCP is Layer 4, otherwise known as the transport layer (TCP/IP) in IPv4, which allows for approximately four billion IP numbers.

Also, IPv4 is the most widely used version of IP nowadays, which uses a system of unique 32-bit identifiers to address data to computers (or hosts) on the Internet, according to Wikipedia.com, just as experts said it has 128 Class A addresses but only about 64 have been used.

Equally for some experts, this report may drag the reception of IPv6 full time either by relevant authorities managing IP addresses or the global coordinating agency, ICANN.

Already, fear has engulfed some stakeholders that IPv4 would soon run out of IP addresses hence the move to introduce IPv6 to contain more Internet users growing desire.

However, the 2007 IPv4 address use report, Champion Infotel gathered that the number of available IPv4 addresses went down from 1300.65 million to 1122.85 million, thus leaving a difference of 177.8 million addresses.

The report released by protocol routing entity, the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), showed that the number of usable addresses is 3706.65 million as at end of December 31, 2007, indicated that on January 1, 2007 global utilization recorded 64.9 per cent and by the last quarter of the same year it was at 69.7 per cent.

These figures, the report said were derived from the records published on the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), namely AfriNIC, which offers address space exclusively for Africa, APNIC for Asia-Pacific region, ARIN for North America, LACNIC for Latin America and the Caribbean and RIPE NCC for Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

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