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Nigeria urged to fast-track Internet protocol migration

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Muhammed Rudman, has explained the need for new Internet Protocol (IP) and for stakeholders to embrace the Internet Protocol version Six (IPv6).

Rudman, who is also the Chairman, IPv6 Council Nigeria, gave this insight at the 2020 Digital Rights Series webinar on Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable hosted by ITREALMS in collaboration with DigitalSENSE Africa Media at the weekend, themed: Role of IP in 5G v COVID-19 Debate.

Speaking on the “Role of IPv6 in 5G vs Covid-19”, Rudman noted that every device connected to the Internet needs a unique number, known as an IP address, divided into two categories of addresses, namely the IPv4 and IPv6.

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He also said that at the inception of the Internet when connectivity to the commercial Internet was in its infancy, “the pool of around four billion IPv4 addresses seemed huge. No one could have predicted the impact the Internet had on our lives and it soon became clear that the pool of IPv4 addresses was not going to last as long as was hoped.”

For this fact, he said, “IPv6 was developed as the solution. The pool of IPv6 addresses contains 2 128 IPv6 addresses or roughly 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.”

On why a new IP is needed in today’s world, Rudman said this would help in addressing the future of the global population, which is estimated to rise to nine billion by 2050.

For billions of new users, he cited that in China, and India among others, saying: “there are about 4.7 billion people already connected to the Internet, across Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, cars, appliances to name a few. In addition to over 300 million registered domains, there is a need to make provision for some billions of new devices, at least for the Internet of Things.

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IPv6 features, Rudman said include scalability of 340 trillion, trillion, trillion, improved security, real-time application, auto-configuration, mobility, addressing and routing and extensibility to mention but a few.

On the link between IPv6 and Fifth Generation (5G) the chairman pointed out that with the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction, citing some instances under this object to include connected security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in household and commercial environments, alarm clocks, speaker systems, vending machines and more.

Currently leading the pack in the deployment of 5G, he said, is South Korea with coverage in 85 cities. China takes second place with 57 cities, followed by the United States of America (US) with 50 and the United Kingdom (UK) with 31. While the remaining countries in the top 10 for 5G are Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Australia, Germany, and Romania.

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“Nigeria, in November 2019, became the first country in West Africa to test-run 5G technology and applications, thus has not deployed 5G.

Rudman emphasised that 5G technology entails beamforming, dedicated radio signal towards the user; a 4G signal is typically spread across a wide area, which enabled by massive Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology, identifies most efficient signal path, whereas improving connection reliability, it reduces interference(unwanted signals) and boosts efficient use of spectrum and power thereby allowing for more simultaneous data streams.

On the electromagnetic spectrum, Rudman said that all radiation falls into two classifications – ionising and non-ionising, as such does not have implication connected to 5G.

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