‘Network Incompatibility with IPv6 Poses Threat to ICT Devt’

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Emma Okonji

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Experts have raised the alarm over possible threat to ICT development in the country, following what they described as network incompatibility to the current Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).

They spoke at the international capacity building and enhancement workshop on IPv6, organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), in collaboration with African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) in Lagos recently.

The experts warned that except network operators in the country align and migrate their networks to IPv6, the ICT sector would suffer major setbacks.

President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, said the need to migrate to IPv6 was long overdue. He expressed the displeasure of ATCON members who are not particularly happy that majority of networks in Nigeria are not IPv6 compatible, which he said, posed serious threat to the Nigerian ICT development.

Stressing the importance of IPv6 to ICT development, the
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, said IPv4 addresses have been exhausted, and in order for the internet to continue sustaining its growth, IPv6 addresses are needed.

“While the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses is a global phenomenon, the need for IPv6 is even more urgent in Nigeria being the fastest growing ICT Industry in Africa and beyond. IPv6 will enable an enormous increase in the number of internet addresses currently available under IPv4,” Danbatta said.

According to him, the current generation of IPv4 has been in use and has supported internet’s growth over the last decades. “With the increased use of mobile devices including wireless handheld devices, the increasing popularity of cloud computing and the emergence of the ‘Internet Of Things’, which connects everything like appliances and vehicles to the Internet, the need for IP addresses becomes even more prevalent,” Danbatta said.

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, said advanced countries have moved from natural resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy and that it was achieved through massive capacity development and implementation of information technology (IT). “These countries have not only been able to develop IT, but have also utilised IT in the development of other social economic sectors of their countries, so that these sectors can generate wealth. I am optimistic that this can be achieved in Nigeria, with the implementation of NITDA’s mandate and the implementation of issues raised at the IPv6 workshop,” Pantami said.
According to Teniola, the Nigerian ICT sector could no longer afford to take the back seat in the global ICT development. To leapfrog the adoption of IPv6, ATCON has taken a further step to involve NCC and NITDA to further lead the campaign for the adoption of IPv6.

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 come with IoTs, Teniola said.