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Experts Blame NAT for low Internet Consumption

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World Wide Web (internet)

World Wide Web (internet)

THE use of network address translation (NAT) by service providers is slowing down the country’s consumption of the internet as well as adoption of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), according to experts.

Mohammed Rudman, chairman, IPv6 Council Nigeria, explained that service providers in Nigeria are using Network Address Translation to convert private addresses of internet protocol (IP) to public addresses thereby making the country to consume less resource of IP addresses.

He added that the use of NAT is responsible for Nigeria’s low ranking in consumption of IP addresses on the internet, even as the country ranks amongst the highest in Internet penetration in world and number one in Africa.

The records from AfriNIC indicated that Nigeria is the 8th in IPv4 consumption, with countries like South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya ahead of Nigeria.

NAT is a methodology of remapping one IP address space into another by modifying network address information in Internet Protocol (IP) datagram packet headers while they are in transit across a traffic routing device.

The technique was originally used for ease of rerouting traffic in IP networks without renumbering every host. It has become a popular and essential tool in conserving global address space allocations in face of IPv4 address exhaustion.

Rudman noted that of 34 networks that have acquired IPV6 in the country only four networks are partially using it on the internet.

He also identified availability of a lot of resources in the IPV4 with the Regional Internet Registrar for Africa –Afrinic which does not make for a business case in the marketing of IPV6.
“The use of NAT has several disadvantages, mainly because it breaks end-to-end communication model which is essential for proper IP connection. For example VoIP (SIP) and other peer-to-peer protocols have issues because of NAT,” he said.

He added that it is very possible for service providers in the country to change to the use of Public IP addresses, by getting more IPv4 addresses from AfriNIC and activate them on their network.

He stated that for the use of IPv6 to grow in the country, there should be IPv6 awareness and capacity building through organizing seminars and trainings, incorporating IPv6 into university curriculum.

Reacting to this development, Engr. Lanre Ajayi, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said that the low ranking is as a result of lack of awareness and appropriate regulatory framework.

“A lot of the networks do not see the need or benefit to migrate even as they have the equipment, if the regulatory body gives a period for migration it will be of a great help,” he said.

He also identified lack of trained network engineers that will manage IPv6 networks.” It is against this backdrop that ATCON in partnership with AFRINIC have been organizing IPv6 training for network engineers for the past four year to provide qualified engineers in the industry for smooth migration from IPv4 to IPv6,” he added.


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