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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Demands for IPV6 on increase in Nigeria

ITRealms with Remmy Nweke:

Preamble:
THE 2013 edition of the Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable ended recently in Lagos, with an indication that many more Nigerians are beginning to show considerable interest in the aspect of Internet Protocol Version Six (IPv6).

Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable is an annual stakeholder assembly organized in Lagos by DigitalSENSE Africa Media, to address the enlightenment needs of Internet community in the country and spur adoption and adaptation, which this year was in collaboration with the Nigeria Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC) and Phase3 Telecom with the theme: “IPv6 and Mobile Services in Nigeria” presided over by the pioneer Admin Contact for the Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), Mrs. Ibukun Odusote.

Fundamentals of IPv6:
IPv6 is a version of the Internet Protocol that has been designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), the first publicly used Internet Protocol, which is still in dominant use across the globe, but reportedly running out, according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Thus, IPv6 is an Internet layer protocol for packet-switched internetworks, the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet.
IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion, hence, IPv6 is intended to replace IPv4, which still carries the vast majority of Internet traffic as of 2013, though as of late November 2012, IPv6 traffic share was reported to be approaching 1 per cent.

Fundamentally, every device on the Internet must be assigned an IP address in order to communicate with other devices. With the ever-increasing number of new devices being connected to the Internet, it was anticipated that more addresses than IPv4 would be able to accommodate would be needed.

IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, allowing 2128 or approximately 3.4×1038 addresses, or more than 7.9×1028 times as many as IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses and which allows only approximately 4.3 billion addresses. The two protocols were not initially designed to be interoperable, complicating the transition to IPv6, an issue IETF alongside other Internet stakeholders are dealing with.

So, IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons, for example 2001:0db8:85a3:0042:1000:8a2e:0370:7334, but methods of abbreviation of this full notation exist, as said by some experts.

Patronise only IPv6 Service Providers:
Welcoming participants to the Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable to commemorate the global IPv6 in the country, the lead organizer and Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, said the theme was drawn based on the fact that Nigerians were not demanding for IPv6 based services, even though IPv4 had since 2011 been exhausted according to the issuing agency, Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

She noted that since 2011, the Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable platform has continuously raised relevant issues  concerning the need to chart a roadmap for early transition to IPv6 as IPv4 addresses running out. Stressing that the theme was chosen because of issues and challenges associated with mobile services with regards to IPv6.

Mrs. Nweke pointed out the need to migrate to IPv6, saying it cannot be over-emphasised because of the growing numbers of smart devices – phones, tablets, ipad to name a few, Internet users, broadband penetration and with IPv4 running out, it has become imperative to deploy IPv6. Asserting, “Deploying IPv6 is imminent and we cannot but follow now as the world will not be waiting for us, beside Nigerians should be positioned to be able to compete globally.”

According to her, the Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable is a platform where all stakeholders in the country gather annually to share IPv6 knowledge and experiences, chart a roadmap for early transition to IPv6 in order to avoid accelerated expense and last minute improvising in the future and promote IPv6-enabled products and services in the country.

In addition, she said the Roundtable aims at stimulating public discourse and creating awareness on the technological cum business benefits of this rapid advancing technology, encourage integration of IPv6 into all aspects of networking and telecommunications infrastructure in the country, celebrate the World IPv6 Day, as well as providing a first-class platform for networking.

She said that the last batch of IPv4 addresses were allocated on February 3, 2011 at a ceremony in Maimi to Asia Pacific Network by the IANA, thus underscoring the extent to which the web has become a ital and all-inclusive part of our daily life and business.

She commended Mrs. Odusote, who was ably represented by Mrs. Blessing Korie, a director at the Federal College of Food Technology, Lagos, for accepting to chair the event and to the Internet Society Nigeria chapter and Phase 3 Telecom for their collaboration spirit.

Noteworthy is that Mrs. Odusote, currently the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) was a director, Information Technology in the Ministry of Information and a national coordinator, DigiTest and member, Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria, among others.
In her welcome remark, Odusote commended DigitalSENSE Africa for sustaining the organization of the Roundtable and urged Nigerians to make personal efforts to be part of the evolution, especially on IPv6 adaptation.

Nigeria must be proactive with a trade-in option:
For the chapter officer, ISOC Nigeria, John Otunte Otueneh, Nigeria needs to be proactive on global issues to avoid some administrative setbacks that may occur locally.

Otueneh who discussed “IPV6 and Mobile Services in Nigeria – An ISOC Projection” at the Roundtable, rhetorically asked if Nigeria is ready to migrate to IPv6 on our smart phones, blackberry, iPads etc. and are the devices that are IPv6 compliant, mean that while using them, parents could monitor their homes from their offices. Underlining that in Nigeria “we are only consumers and at the mercy of the western world. We can be very ready if we can build our own equipment.”

He decried the growth of Nigeria technologically which has been limited to what exists in the outer world, stressing that Internet service providers are mainly now the telecom providers, therefore if they are IPv6 ready, there is need for a handshake with them by using phones that are IPv6 compliant.

For users of phones that are not IPv6 compliant, he advised them to ask for compliant products in the market or ICT product dealers, saying they should encourage trade-in of phones with the telecom providers rather than going to buy new phones. He insisted that users should champion the course of Ipv6.

IPv6 drive, a huge success:
Benedict Othello Obaro who represented the chief executive officer of Phase3 Telecom, noted that there is a huge drive to go into the IPv6 which is a huge success, even as Microsoft integrates IPv6 into its operating systems; adding that the challenges is in the skill of manpower to mitigate on the devices with IPv6 when issues arise.
“Skill set is necessary to operate the system. Phones should be IPv6 enabled,” he said.

Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Mr. Bayero Agabi pointed out the need to build safe cyber space based on trust, adding that content challenge and the payment system require trust for a successful broadband access, coupled with protecting innovation in the cyber space as well as if something goes wrong how do one get justice?

NIRA commends DSA on IPv6 Roundtable
The immediate past Chief Operating Officer of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mr. Ope Odusan said that IPv4 was a unique 32-bit number that identifies the location of a computer network and could be likened to ‘street address’, which enables other computers to find out exactly where you are and deliver information to the end-user’s computer systems.

Also, Mr. Odusan commended the organisers of the Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable, the DigitalSENSE Africa Media Limited, declaring the firm as champions of IPv6 awareness in Nigeria.

NIRA, he said, recognises these efforts by DigitalSENSE, especially on IPv6 awareness, stressing that IPv4 exhaustion, which paved way for the introduction of IPv6 has a unique 32-bit number which identifies the location of a computer network and could be likened to ‘street address,’ but on the cyber space, which enables other computers to find out exactly where you are and deliver information to the end-user’s computer systems.

He explained that IPv6 is the sixth revision to the Internet Protocol and the successor to IPv4 with a unique feature: using 128-bit addresses. Odusan equally noted that the .ng is owned by Nigerians and a domain name is essential in the internet. Asserting “It is easier for humans to remember numbers that is why the use of domain names.”

NiRA, Odusan had stated, is the custodian of domain names on .ng country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) and handles a lot of issues on the internet and as a member of the Africa Internet Community, recognises the urgency to migrate to the .ng domain names and pledged the support of NiRA for this roundtable forum.
In his contribution to the colloquium, Mr. Odusan said that the successes of IP version 6 has actually allowed more inclusiveness, more devices being included for communication such as cars, fridges and homes to name a few.

“It takes two to tangle, so you need the device makers and the telco’s to really make a success of this,” he said, adding that consumers should demand for products that are version 6 compatible.

Last line:

As we look forward to government acting on the outcome of this Roundtable through its agencies like the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the truth is that Nigerians are beginning to demand that IPv6 be integrated in all aspects of networking and infrastructure in the country, which in the near future would ensure that device manufacturers coming into Nigeria or even local manufacturers ensure such devices are IPv6 compliant.

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