Out of the total 9, 678 Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) addresses allocated by African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) in Africa, only 60 representing 0.62 percent has been deployed in Nigeria.
This makes Nigeria, the biggest in terms of size and population in Africa, ranked third below South Africa and Egypt, which has 4, 806 and 4, 106 deployments respectively. In whole, South Africa and Egypt have 92 percent of the total IPV6 allocations by AFRINIC, which is responsible for the allocation and management of Internet numbers (IPv4, IPv6 & ASNs) in Africa.
Disclosing this at a Webinar on the state of Internet Protocol Version Six (IPV6) development In Nigeria, which was organized by the IPV6 Council Nigeria and the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Chairman, IPv6 Council Nigeria, Mr Muhammed Rudman, attributed the poor deployment of IPV6 in Nigeria to the lack of a business case for the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Other identified challenges, according to Mr Rudman is the lack of technical know how, core, metro and edge equipment compatibility issues, lack of IPv6 upstream service providers and non-requests from end-users.
To address these challenges, the Chairman of IPV6 Council Nigeria, recommends IPv6 awareness and capacity building by organizing seminars and training, possibly incorporating IPv6 into the university curriculum.
“All new IT equipment supplied to Government should be IPv6 compliant and Government to set a target date for MDAs to have IPv6 compliant networks. Provide some profit incentives to Internet Industry for encouraging them to adopt IPv6-based Infrastructure. These incentives could include a reduction in regulatory fees and tax rebates. Upstream Internet connectivity providers should be encouraged to enable IPv6 in their networks,” he recommended.
Speaking further, Mr. Rudman argued that regions where IPv6 is more widely deployed (the darker the green, the greater the deployment) and users experience infrequent issues connecting to IPv6-enabled websites.
He explained that IPv6 has been designed for easing the transition and coexistence with IPv4 as it comes with a dual-stack, which simultaneously supports both IPv4 and IPv6 stacks; tunnels, where IPv6 packet encapsulated in IPv4 ones.
He also disclosed that IPv4 and IPv6 are not directly compatible. This means that network and content operators need to make their networks and websites available over both IPv4 and IPv6 for the foreseeable future so that everyone can access the Internet whether they are using an IPv4 or an IPv6 address to do so.
Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani in his welcome address, said from healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, transportation, telecommunication and other industries, the world is now digitally connected, making the use of smart technology to greatly improve the quality of lives of the citizens.
He said with the projection that by 2030, more than 125 billion devices will be connected using IoT, which will put about 15 connected devices into the hands of each consumer, all devices need a unique IP address to function efficiently. Thus, the migration to IPV6 is not optional, but mandatory as the world has run out of IPV4, the initial IP addressing system.
AFRINIC the only regional body that still has some IPV4 for allocation recently indicated it has less than 1.8 million IPV4 available.
Speaking on what telecom advocacy bodies like ATCON is doing with regards to migration, Engr. Nnamani said ATCON being a very proactive Association saw the need to train network engineers in Nigeria in order to be able to migrate from IPV4 to IPV6 several years ago.
He disclosed this vision led ATCON hosting an international training on IPv6 with the support of some of its members. This training was done in conjunction with AFRINIC.
“As a proactive association, we saw the need for the IPV6 migration. That is why today in strategic alliance with IPV6 Council Nigeria, ATCON is hosting this Webinar which focuses on the state of IPv6 deployment in Nigeria with the theme “National IPv6 Migration: Challenges and Prospects for the Nigerian/Africa Digital Transformation,” he explained.
He noted that the objective of the event is to further drive the push for the migration of the Nigerian networks to IPv6 and also to encourage and push for the adoption of IPv6 in Nigeria, stressing that the urgent need to migrate to IPv6 is long overdue hence both government agencies and industry players that are operating within the space of telecoms and ICT in Nigeria need to come up with policies and programmes that would ensure adequate investment is directed at the deployment of IPv6.
The IPV6 Webinar was well attended by various stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology industry, including regulators and the government.