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Nigeria risks poor Internet connectivity over slow IPv6 migration

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•Africa with 1.8%, ranks lowest in Global adoption rate

The slow adoption of Internet Protocol Version Six (IPv6) in Nigeria and other parts of Africa may impact negatively on the quality of service offered in the region.

This is also expected to affect region’s network integrity and capacity. Global adoption figures show that Africa has a migration rate of 1.8 per cent, Americas, 30.52 per cent; Asia, 25.13 per cent; Australia, 19.7 per cent; and Europe 17.56 per cent. South Africa led other African countries at 0.22 per cent, while Nigeria was ranked at the zero-point level.

These statistics were contained in the ‘State of Global IPv6 Adoption’ document, discussed yesterday at the on-going South Africa Network Operators Group (SafNog) conference in Johannesburg.IPv6 is a set of specifications from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), essentially an upgrade of IP version 4 (IPv4), which is fast depleting.IPv6 is designed to allow the Internet to grow steadily, both in terms of the number of hosts connected and the total amount of data traffic transmitted.

AFRiNIC, the body in charge of Internet numbering in Africa has warned of fast depletion of IPv4 and called for faster migration to IPV6, which is more robust and devoid of interference.

AFRiNIC stressed that African countries risk weak communication networks on slow adoption. Smart Technology Centre Network Engineer, Greg Antic, who presented the statistics, said the benefits of IPv6 are vast and far-reaching, but not necessarily in terms of instant payback, just as the Internet itself was 20 years ago, when most people would have scoffed at the idea of investing in technology at levels we all now regard as essential. Antic said the Internet is currently undergoing a profound and complex migration to IPv6, which will lead to long-term global and individual benefits.

According to him, efforts must be geared by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), equipment vendors, and governments in driving migration, “so that the continent will not be left behind.” He pointed out that the full benefits of IPV6 to any specific enterprise will vary according to its requirements, size and structure, but innovative organisations will achieve cost savings through more efficient and secure networks.

Antic listed factors affecting adoption in Africa to include lack of adequate skills to manage it, managements not granting approval for adoption, low awareness about its impact on businesses. According to him, the fact that AFRINIC still has some IPv4 spaces, operators have become complacent about migrating to the new platform, which has become highly congested. He said claims that customers are not requesting IPv6, also gave room for low migration.

AFRiNIC official, James Chirwa, revealed that only about 2.7 million IPv4 left until IPv6. According to him, operators and governments must act fast and migrate to IPv6. Analysts believe that as IPv4 is superseded, the marginal costs of supporting legacy IPv4 systems rises steeply, but because of its extraordinary scalability, the marginal costs of IPv6 remain flat.

In one of his interactions with The Guardian, the Vice Chairman, IPv6 Council of Nigeria, Chris Uwaje, said next battlefield for sustainable development and wealth creation will be from the migration to new Internet Protocol number. He stressed that IPv6 adoption will be imperative for Nigeria’s strategic plans.

Uwaje blamed the National Assembly (NASS) for Nigeria’s late adoption of IPv6.“Very soon, IPv6 will become the absolute prefix to the Internet and Nigeria/African nations must take advantage of this awesome opportunity by advancing IPv6 strategic plans,” Uwaje said.


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