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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Migrate to IPv6, AfriNIC tells network operators

The Manager for Africa and African countries in the Indian Ocean region, AFRINIC, Mr. Ernest Byaruhanga, has called on all network operators to start training their staff to ensure that their networks support Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) to prepare them for the expected expiration of IPV4 in 2011 and to grow their networks, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Speaking to the ITRealms Online, in Lagos, last week at the IPV6 2010 training workshop organized by Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Byaruhanga said this has become necessary because IPV4 addresses are running out globally in about two years.

“We are in Nigeria to do IPV6 training. IPV6 is the next generation internet protocol, the current version internet IPV4 is based on a set of numbers and identifiers that are running out very soon because of the way it was designed,” he said.

According to him, AFRINIC has warned network operators, ISPs, and everybody running internet networks that this internet protocol numbers were about to run out and to inform them of the next generation internet protocol which is Internet Protocol Version Six (IPV6).

He explained that they, network operators, need to move their networks and customers from the old protocol to IPv6 and to teach their engineers on how to deploy this new version in their networks and equipment,” he said

He said most operators are skeptical because of the resistance to change and lack of adequate information on how to deploy it, adding that for internet to grow there is no other choice than to move to IPV6

“Most of the new network equipment being produced by equipment vendors, like the computers, have operating systems that are IPV6 ready. Microsoft, for instance started making their operating system V6 ready with Windows XP. So also is the equipment that most ISPs are using on their networks. So the cost of moving IPV6 may be mainly on the training of the staff and getting the current staff of the ISPs to get to understand IPV6 and how to deploy it,” he said.

He also said after 2011 IPV4 addresses would run out of the global pool but that it does not mean that the current internet would stop working, because there are many technologies that are in place to extend the life-time IPV4 beyond 2011, but it would not be scalable.

One the participants, Mr. Cletus Okolie, of Datasphir Solutions, Ltd, attributed the reluctance to embrace the IPV6 to ignorance, maintaining that subscription rates for both versions are the same.

On his experience, another participant, Mr. Seun Ojedeji, of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said the move is imminent in order to maintain communication with others who would have moved to V6.

Speaking on the need for the training, the Network Communications Manager, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Mr. Anibe Onuche, said the collaboration with AFRINIC is to hasten the acquisition of IPV6 in the country.

He maintained that unlike Kenya that has implemented V6, Nigeria still lags behind.

“We want to ensure that we do not lag behind in any emerging technology and in doing that we can bridge the digital divide. We want to make sure that the nation is ahead in acquiring IPV6 address from AFRINIC.

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