According to Hans Reyes, the expert in charge of coordinating Mexico’s National Academic Network, the technical teams of most of the region’s organizations and Internet companies are lacking specific training, a fact that is delaying IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Reyes believes that this lack of IPv6 knowledge has led the region to underestimate the protocol designed to replace IPv4 and fail to consider its true value for Internet development.
Reyes was interviewed in Lima during LACNIC23, where he noted that it is high time for IPv6 to be considered a key tool that will improve Internet application performance. In the words of the noted Mexican expert, “It is no longer a topic of research. The time has come to deploy the protocol at academic and commercial level.”
How much do you think IPv6 is growing in the academic sector?
Its use is currently experiencing much growth. Although many think of IPv6 as a topic of research, most Mexican universities have plans for adopting IPv6 within a relatively reasonable time frame.
What difficulties does IPv6 deployment face in our region?
One of the major issues we’ve noticed throughout Latin America is that people are not trained to implement IPv6. The technical community must see value in IPv6. Right now, the entire IPv6 protocol can be used within IPv4, and this is why many people don’t see any value in Ipv6 deployment, but instead think of the new protocol as a topic of research, when in fact it is already needed in production to increase application performance. The reason we have such low penetration rates is that everyone is trying to see how they can implement IPv6. There are several cases in Mexico where universities have deployed IPv6 and it is already in production.
Another problem we faced was content. There used to be very little IPv6 content; now, however, major providers such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft already support IPv6 on their networks, something that was not possible until recently.
There was also the issue of lack of IPv6 access. I’ve already deployed IPv6, so has the content network, yet the provider hasn’t. They were in a similar situation, as they didn’t see what value IPV6 would bring to their infrastructure; they considered it a cost with no clear return on the investment. This has now changed and most Mexican operators already support IPv6.
We also believe that IPv6 adoption by Internet exchange points will accelerate general adoption: once you’re connected to IPv6, you’ll be connected to other content networks.
Do you think it’s easier to deploy IPv6 in the academic sector than in the corporate sector?
It is relatively similar. The difference is that universities do have a role in disseminating and adopting new technologies, so they can have researchers work on their implementation, while a company might be afraid to adopt a solution they might later have to change. That’s the greatest barrier for the private sector.
A university does have a role that is not necessarily commercial, and can therefore invest time and resources to explore different options. Part of a university’s role is to help implement technologies that will be of use to the community in general.
Why do you think IPv6 hasn’t been effectively deployed in Latin America?
Content networks represented the main obstacle. Now that IPv6 content is available, private companies and universities are beginning to adopt the new protocol. One of LACNIC’s roles is to help us so we can all have access to Internet resources such as IP addresses. This will contribute to accelerate IPv6 deployment.
In order to increase the speed of IPv6 adoption, ISPs, governments, companies, and universities should become involved. This is not just about a part of the Internet ecosystem; it is about the Internet ecosystem as a whole.
Why would you encourage someone to attend a LACNIC event?
During the 20 years I’ve been involved with the Internet, these events have given me the chance to meet people who are working on the latest developments. Like a family, LACNIC has welcomed us and supports us in deploying our resources and helps us grow our infrastructure and networks. The events provide great forums for all three parties to meet: academia, government and the private sector. This brings value to everything we do.