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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

14 Internet Protocol version-6 allocations fallow in Nigeria

A total of fourteen Internet Protocol version Six (IPv6) addresses allocated to Nigeria are currently fallow, ITRealms Online can authoritatively reveal.

The emergence of IPv6 and its allocation were due to the depletions anticipated in the IPv4, which was recently allotted to Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

ITRealms Online recalls that recently the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocated the last two free batches of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses to APNIC.

IPv4 has been an integral part of what makes the Internet work since the early 1980s; however, the number of available addresses on this version has been dwindling over the years.

IPv4 allows for 4.3 billion unique addresses, but known to be wholly inadequate hence the introduction of IPv6.

Making this disclosure in Lagos at a two-day 2011 Nigeria DigitalSENSE forum on Internet Governance and Broadband Evolution in Nigeria, the chief executive officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Mr. Mohammed Rudman, said that although the number has increased from what recorded last year, but actions need to be taken to keep them working.

Dwelling on “IPv6 and challenges in Nigeria” Rudman noted that an Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to the Internet.

He stressed that Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is a 32 bit number, which is roughly 4.3 billion addresses. Whereas the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is a 128 bit number, which roughly is a billion trillions times than the IPv4 address size.

Currently the 14 allottees of Internet Protocol version 6 in Nigeria include Netcom, Cyberspace, University of Lagos, University of Jos, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, American University of Nigeria (AUN) Yola, Internet Solutions Nigeria, Phase 3 Telecom, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), Nigeria ICT Forum, Electronic Connections Limited, Medallion Communications Limited, Usmanu Dan-Fodiyo University and Layer 3 Limited.

ITRealms Online gathered that the aforementioned are according to their earliest allocation between June 15, 2006 and March 7, 2011.

He also said the worrisome situation here is that none of the 14 allottees are yet to activate services on the IPv6 addresses.

Rudman further said that IPv6 awareness and capacity building have become imperative at this time given the low level of understanding of Nigerians on IPv6 subject, calling for more actions through seminars and trainings.

Just as he canvassed for incorporation of IPv6 into the nation’s university curriculum, Rudman reiterated calls for the establishment of a National Internet Registry (NIR) to cater for the Internet Protocol management issues in the country and develop a ‘National IPv6 Roadmap’ to strategize the IPv6 transition.

Rudman urged the government to provide some incentives to Internet industry to encourage them to adopt IPv6-based infrastructure, which include reduction in regulatory fees and tax rebates.

As said by him, upstream Internet connectivity providers should be asked to enable IPv6 readiness in their networks.

“All new IT equipment supplied to Government should be IPv6 compliant and Government to set target date for MDAs to have IPv6 compliant networks,” he said.

Globally, he said, zero per cent of IPv4 now remain in the central registry since January 31, 2011 following the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocation of two blocks of IPv4 addresses space to Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

“On February 3, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the allocation of the last five-block to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIR),” he said.

Rudman pointed out that more than 60 per cent of African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) IPv4 pool is unallocated till date.

Rudman further traced the introduction of IPv6 to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on IPv6 Working Group (IETF-WG) which commenced sitting in early 1990s, with the hope to solve the addressing growth issues, following the Regional Internet Registry (RIR).

Therefore, he said, that IPv6 has scalability, needed security, real time application, auto-configuration, and mobility to address and route extensibility.

On the IPv4-IPv6 transition cum co-existence techniques, the IXPN chief said that IPv6 has been designed for easing the transition and coexistence, with dual stacks available which backs simultaneously both IPv4 and IPv6 stacks, while the tunnels on IPv6 packet have been encapsulated into IPv4 before translation could be completed.

IPv6 challenges in Nigeria, according to him include the fact that ISPs need a new business case being retarded by lack of technical knowhow, core equipment compatibility issues, lack of IPv6 upstream service providers, non-requests from end users.

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