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A milestone for SA Internet players

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Today (6 June) is World IPv6 Launch Day and the Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) is highlighting the importance of local Internet industry players following the worldwide call to make IPv6 available to all Internet users.

“Global industry players such as Facebook and Google have already migrated users away from IPv6 test and trial systems and onto permanent IPv6 enabled infrastructure. We want the South African Internet industry to move as fast as their overseas counterparts; take the migration as seriously; and ensure that each host, computer or other device on the Internet that requires an IP address to communicate does so via IPv6,” says Jaap Scholten, ISPA co-chair.

The growth of the Internet, and specifically in the number of web-enabled devices, has meant that more Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are needed to ensure the Internet will continue to function correctly. According to the ITU connected devices will outnumber connected individuals by a factor of 6:1 by the year 2020.

The Internet operates by transferring data in packets that are sent across networks according to specific routing protocols. These packets require an addressing scheme, such as IPv4 or IPv6, to specify where they originate and where they are going. IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is a version of the “addressing scheme” intended to succeed IPv4. The latter is the protocol currently used to direct almost all Internet traffic.

Last year’s “World IPv6 Day” generated awareness of the need to implement IPv6 while the 2012 incarnation is encouraging industry players to actually implement the technology and move away from beta testing. The Internet Society of SA and ISPA are key local players driving South African IPv6 awareness.

“At least 15 organisations at ISPA’s Internet Exchanges in Johannesburg (JINX) and Cape Town (CINX) have been rolling out IPv6 on their networks in preparation for the uptake of IPv6 this year. These Internet exchanges have been carrying South Africa’s IPv6 peering traffic for a number of years,” explains Graham Beneke, ISPA working group co-chair.

ISPA will be conducting IPv6 training for the Association’s members at this year’s iWeek conference, which is the leading South African Internet industry gathering.