High-level Interregional Forum for the transition to IPV6: between challenges and opportunities

Under the patronage of the Minister of Communication Technologies of the Republic of Tunisia, the Arab ICT Organization in partnership with the African Telecommunications Union organized this Monday, May 9, 2022 at the Four Seasons Hotel Tunis, the first edition of the High Level Interregional Forum for the transition to IPV6.

The organization of this interregional event was motivated by the slowness noted at the level of the countries of the region in the adoption of national strategies for the migration from IPV4 to IPV6, and this, despite the positive economic impact of this transition towards a wider adoption of this mode of addressing. It is in this context that the forum proposed an effective transition approach to IPV6, through the publication of a white paper and, in parallel, the presentation of certain experiences from the countries of the region and more. globally, internationally.

The official opening of this forum was ensured by Mr. Mohamed Ben Amor, Secretary General of AICTO, Mr. John Omo, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union, Mr. Bilel Jamoussi, Head of Commissions Department studies of the telecommunications standardization office at the International Telecommunications Union as well as Mr. Philippe Wang, Executive Vice-President of Huawei Northern Africa.

The event was organized face-to-face with live broadcast on social networks. 132 delegates and high-level experts were able to physically participate in the event. Participants were able to follow two impending interventions in particular (Keynote Speakers) guaranteed by Pr. Latif Ladid, President of the IPV6 Forum and by Dr. XIAO Xipeng, Head of Datacom Standard and Industry Development at Huawei Europe.

Two panels were also on the agenda: the first dealt with the question of the “challenges and opportunities” of this transition, with in particular the remote participation of the director of the ITU Africa Regional Office as well as the interventions face-to-face with Dr. Chafiq Chaya, RIPE NCC Regional Communications Manager, Middle East Region, United Arab Emirates, and the representative of Afrinic. The second panel of the event focused on experience in the process of transitioning to IPV6. This is how the panel brought together the representatives of the Tunisian Regulator (INTT) as well as the representatives of the three operators (Tunisie Telecom, Ooredoo and Orange). The panel was moderated by the forthcoming Professor, Mr. Farouk Kamoun.

This event could not have met with such success without the help of Tunisie Telecom and Ooredoo, as well as without the active participation of the National Authority for Telecommunications and consulting and engineering firms (CERT/ATI, etc.) and from Huawei.

What are the challenges and opportunities of the transition to IPV6?

Responding to the question of the reasons for the organization of such an event, Mr. Mohamed Ben Amor said that it was part of the mission that the organization had set itself, namely, to develop the ICT sector in the Region. He revealed that the switch to the IPV6 protocol was now an emergency, as IPV4 had reached its limits. In this sense, continuing to use it could represent a risk to be expected. The challenge is therefore to avoid being isolated knowing that over time, the equipment will no longer support IPV4.

For his part, Mr. Bilel Jamoussi detailed the benefits of the transition to IPV6. Among the many benefits, he cited better network management, better cybersecurity and technological alignment with the rest of the world.

For his part, Mr. John Omo spoke about the situation in which this transition found itself on the African continent. He thus explained that IPV6 involved several issues, technological on the one hand, and economic and security on the other. As an example, he notably cited the education sector, much of which was done online during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. He thus invited governments to play a leading role in accelerating this transition in order to facilitate the procedures and put in place real industrial policies on the subject.

Finally, Mr. Philippe Wang, for his part, stressed the importance of the IPV6 Forum in the digital transition that the countries of the region are currently experiencing. Indeed, IPV6 increases the number and quality of possible connections while ensuring better security. This transition must therefore be done in a thoughtful way, so that it is possible to anticipate the boom in future needs, in particular with the advent of technologies such as the IoT.

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