The “Killer app” for IPv6 deployment

The new Chair of the Latin American IPv6 Forum, Mexican engineer Azael Fernández Alcántara, observed that IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean must be promoted, as there is still a long way to go until its widespread adoption.

Fernández Alcántara, head of the IPv6 project at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) and coordinator of the IPv6 working groups at CUDI (University Corporation for Internet Development) and CLARA, noted that few Latin American and Caribbean countries have promoted IPv6 at governmental level, which is why academia and the private sector have led regional deployment efforts.

In an interview with LACNIC, Fernández Alcántara predicted that the Internet of Things will be the “killer app” that will accelerate IPv6 deployment, as new uses and devices will bring about an urgent need for the new protocol.

What do you think of IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean?

I think IPv6 deployment is moving along at a fairly acceptable pace, especially in certain countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. However, we have yet to see major mass public deployments with large numbers of users.

In your opinion, which sectors are ahead and which are still behind in terms of IPv6 deployment?

If by sector we mean academia, government, and the corporate sector, in our region I would have to say the academic sector is the leader. However, in the countries I mentioned earlier, the academic-corporate sector has shown the greatest progress.

At government level, only countries such as Cuba and Colombia have implemented proper policies for promoting the use of IPv6.

As compared to the rest of the world, do you think the region has a proper process in place for migrating to IPv6?

Yes, I do. But instead of speaking of a migration —which implies abandoning or no longer using IPv4— I’d say what we’re seeing is mostly coexistence and a transition to IPv6. Nevertheless, we’ve already started noticing some examples of migration, specifically among certain mobile network operators.

We have good levels of IPv6 network and prefix requests, but we still need more IPv6 case studies and utilization success stories. It’s not enough to simply assign or allocate IPv6 blocks —the protocol must actually be used in public services and in production.

Regarding the new challenge you’ve recently taken on, what motivates you to play this role within the community?

The idea of maintaining acceptable levels of IPv6 utilization in our region, as well as a desire to contribute to this natural evolution of the Internet. Also, the enthusiastic participation of everyone involved.

What remains to be done in order to accelerate deployment of IPv6?

Perhaps the Internet of Things will be the “killer app” we’ve been waiting for that will accelerate IPv6 deployment, as new uses and devices will bring about an urgent need to use IPv6 instead of IPv4.

What do you think about the IPv4 exhaustion process and the scope of its various phases?

I believe it’s being implemented more or less naturally, taking into account our region’s peculiarities. Nevertheless, we must continue to participate in the policy discussions that are taking place both in our region as well as in others and which could potentially impact these phases.

To understand its true impact, the region’s IPv4 exhaustion phases must be contextualized for each country and end user.