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‘IPv6 migration can boost Nigeria’s competitiveness’

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With Internet Protocol version Four (IPV4) running out and possible Internet blockade looming, especially in Nigeria due to low preparation and awareness, individuals and business organiations have been asked to migrate to IPv6 as fast as possible.

According to experts, who gathered on Tuesday, in Lagos, at the 2017 International Workshop on IPv6 and INRM, with the theme: Accelerating the Adoption and Implementation of IPv6, Nigeria should transit quickly, so as not to be caught unawares. The event, which will be on till Friday, is being organized by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and AFRINIC.

Meanwhile, in a related development in Geneva, Switzerland, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mobile Software Solutions Limited, Chris Uwaje, a panelist at the global IoT/IPv6 Forum, called for urgency in migration on the part of African governments.

Uwaje said Africa may not be globally competitive if the governments fail to adopt IPv6 on time, noting that IPv6 will one day become the absolute default Prefixes for the Internet.

“Globally, the next battlefield for sustainable development and wealth creation resides in IPv6 and IoT strategic knowledge configuration. Africa stands at the dawn of technology opportunity and will benefit immensely, if government and industry lead the advocacy to passionately promote innovation -through IPv6 adoption and IoT transmission as combined accelerator to create something and change everything,” he stated.

At the Lagos forum, the President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, said the need to migrate to IPv6 is long overdue and the association is not particularly happy that majority of the networks in Nigeria are not IPv6 compatible, saying this poses a threat to Nigerian ICT development.

Teniola said the Nigerian ICT sector can no longer afford to take the back seat in the global ICT development, “the dividend pervasive broadband may be farfetched if as an industry or a country we are not working towards broadband meeting with technology. As we all know that when Internet of Things (IoTs) take their place in our country an individual may need more than ten IP addresses to enjoy the benefits that comes with IoTs.”

From his perspectives, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umaru Danbatta, represented by the Director of New Mediam Haru Alhassan, said while the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses is a global phenomenon, the need for IPv6 is even more urgent in Nigeria a location to the fastest growing ICT Industry.

Danbatta said IPv6 will enable an enormous increase in the number of Internet addresses currently available under IPv4.

Quoting the OECD Report 2007, Danbatta said the deployment of IPv6 is a more sustainable solution that can deliver economic and social opportunities for the future of the Internet economy, as compared to other stop gap measures of either deploying IPv4 Network Address Translation (NAT), that allows devices connect with fewer public IPv4 addresses by using private networks, or trying to obtain previously allocated but unused IPv4 addresses.

Giving more insight into the development around Africa, the Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Lanre Kolade, said the country cannot achieve IoT without transiting to IPv6, saying the adoption is just nine per cent in the country, 28 per cent in South Africa and 13 per cent in Kenya.

To AFRINIC Representative, Abba Brice, IPv6 is not an option, but a must deployment technology for countries that wants to remain relevant in the Internet world. He stressed that the deployment is not coming easy, “it will cost you money, time and energy. But it is going to payout later.”

Brice, who said knowledge of deployment could pose a challenge, noted that it is the reason why AFRINIC is involved in training engineers across the continent.

Uwaje, who doubles as the Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, told the gathering that the government of Nigeria had created a special committee to increase IPv6 awareness and study policy framework.

Citing Rwanda as example, Uwaje said the country proposed that government sets the example for the operational deployment and use of IPv6 through the designation of an IPv6 transition task force with a time line action plan.

Going forward, and recognising the fact that knowledge development strategies and content in Africa faces a monumental challenge by the emerging knowledge Olympiad, as such, Uwaje said the Continent needed strategic collaboration in Research, Innovation, IoTs, Embedded Systems, IPv6, Cloud, Big Data, Nano of Things, and a host others.

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