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Getting Africa's IPv6 Deployment on Track

AndrewAndrew Alston, speaking as Group Head of IP Strategy, Liquid Telecommunications, talks about his involvement with the first consumer IPv6 roll out in Africa and why the continent needs to get its IPv6 deployment on track as soon as possible. 


Having just been involved in the completion of both the first and second consumer IPv6 rollouts in Africa, and seeing just how well it works as well as all the problems in deploying it, I am now even more convinced than I have ever been that it is high time that Africa puts itself in the same position as the rest of the world - go over the cliff and encourage the deployment of IPv6 through the legitimate exhaustion of IPv4.

So, I want to see the remaining IPv4 addresses flow off the continent? No! Of course I don't. The very idea of that is abhorrent to me. Do I want to see people selling off resources meant to be used in Africa (the IP brokers)? Again, of course not - that's even more abhorrent.

I want what IPv4 space remains to be used in Africa by those that can use them today. But I also do not believe any longer that prolonging the life of IPv4 on the African continent serves anyone - not the small ISPs that are just starting out, or the large players that are actively pushing to connect people and increase the African Internet's penetration rates.

Dual Stacking

That being said, dual stacking to enable IPv6 is possible and it does not cost anything more than passion, desire and time - we have proved that. But the reality is that desire is often driven from the top and at the top, economic and business views are what matter. Not being able to get IPv4 addresses will drive the critical and necessary IPv6 uptake.

We need to stop being a dumping ground for unscrupulous vendors that feed us the line that, in Africa that we don't need IPv6 equipment and that we can have the legacy gear because AFRINIC still has IPv4 space to allocate. And no matter how much we want this to stop, it won't stop while we still have an available IPv4 pool.

Building the Future

We need to stop the arguments that newcomers need lots of IPv4 space to help them build their companies. While this may be true in small amounts, it discourages the other side of it and that is that by not deploying IPv6, they will damage their future.

The arguments to artificially restrict the use of the remaining IPv4 addresses in Africa to keep the pool alive in the long term, while it may seem like a long term stance, is actually shortsighted and dangerous.

Moving on

Let us join the rest of the world by moving into the future. IPv6 works. Let us embrace it and say goodbye to yesterday and not cling to the past and see our continent fall further behind. We should be leading the world in this regard, and not cowering in fear at the possibility of running out of a resource where that run out is already inevitable. Fear of the future will hold you back and fear of the future will not change the eventual outcome. Let us be real and accept it. IPv4 is dying and its time to move on.

  • Sign up for AFRINIC's Resource Policy Discussion mailing list to join the community discussion about Internet number resource policies.
  • IP address allocation policies are proposed, discussed and accepted or rejected by you, the AFRINIC community. You do not need to be an AFRINIC member to be part of the conversation. Read the current AFRINIC Policies and Policy Proposals and find out more about how AFRINIC's Policy Development Process (PDP) works and how you can contribute here.
  • Attend the upcoming AFRINIC-25 Meeting in Mauritius from 25-30 November 2016 - in person or remotely - to have your say about how the remaining IPv4 address should be used.
  • Have you deployed IPv6 on your networks? Do you have an opinion about how AFRINIC's remaining IPv4 address space should be used? We're always looking for interesting guest posts and articles about IPv6 deployment and IPv4 exhaustion.


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