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Nigeria needs to adopt IPv6 quicker, say experts

By , ITWeb
Nigeria , 10 Jun 2013

Nigeria needs to adopt IPv6 quicker, say experts

Some Nigerians risk being ‘shut out’ from the internet if the country fails to fully replace internet communications protocol IPv4 with IPv6, experts have warned.

Both IPv4 and IPv6 are the communications protocols that provide an identification and location system for devices connected to internet networks. These protocols also help route traffic across the internet.

But the explosion in the number of people, devices and web services on the internet has meant that IPv6’s predecessor IPv4 -- which has approximately four billion IP (internet protocol) addresses -- is running out of space.

IPv6, therefore, is the next-generation internet protocol that provides more than 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses to cope with growing demand.

Global body, the Internet Society, is driving the adoption of IPv6 and plans for the protocol to help connect billions of people not connected today.

The Internet Society last week also released a statement saying the number of IPv6-connected users globally has doubled since the World IPv6 Launch began on June 6, 2012.

The body in a statement also added that this marks the third straight year IPv6 use on the global internet has doubled and that if this current trends continues, more than half of internet users around the world could be IPv6-connected in less than 6 years.

Web service provider Akamai has also reported this month that it is delivering approximately 10 billion requests per day over IPv6, which represents a 250% growth rate since June of last year.

Yet analysts speaking at the just-ended IPv6 Roundtable Digital SENSE Africa Media in Lagos have warned that Nigeria needs to move quicker in upgrading infrastructure to handle the switch to IPv6.

This is despite website saying that overall IPv6 support in Nigeria stood at 36.4% as of 13 May 2013. ( generates its internet protocol data by collecting ‘tens of thousands of tests’ done monthly on its website’s connection test page.)

“We need to create awareness to tell Nigerians especially that version 4 is almost finished
and we need to move on to the new version,” said engineer Otunte Otueneh, the Nigeria chapter officer of the Internet Society.

"Communication providers and end users have to be aware of this, if not they risk losing connectivity because the version they are using is on (the) brink of extinction,” he said.

Problems further exist in Nigeria with the sale of IPv4 devices, explained Otuneh.

"The end user has to be wise enough that while they are going to buy should request for IPv6-enabled devices. The problem will start when someone with IPv4 approaches an internet service provider that runs on IPv6, there will not be compatibility. At the end the user will lack connection to the internet," Otueneh said.

Benedict Othello, head of information systems at Phase 3 Telecoms, concurred with Otueneh’s comments.

“Users on the IPv4 platform will not be accommodated by the service providers at some point.

"For instance, if telecom operators in Nigeria roll out SIM cards and fail to expand their modules for more subscribers, it will affect their businesses. It is all about upgrading to that new version to accommodate more customers,” said Othello.

He urged the government and service providers to train personnel on upgrading IvP6.

“We must train our technical personnel so that when the time comes, will not lack qualified or competent people to handle that. If we do not, we are creating room for expatriates to flood the IT environment which is indirectly creating channels for capital flight,” Othello added.

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