LACNIC 27: three IPv6 implementation experiences in our region

31/07/2017

An increasing number of companies and organizations in the LAC region are deploying IPv6 in their networks, and this has led to a considerable increase in the amount of traffic using this Internet protocol in Latin America and the Caribbean.

LACNIC members know that IPv6 deployment is key for maintaining their level of Internet development.

During the most recent LACNIC event held in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, three professionals responsible for different Internet organizations which pioneered IPv6 deployment shared their views on this issue on the panel titled “Cases of Successful IPv6 Deployment in the Region.”

Alejandro D’Egidio, Chief of Backbone Engineering at Telecentro, one of Argentina’s providers with large ipv6 deployments, noted that this had been a strategic decision since the very beginning. “We had been preparing for IPv4 exhaustion for a few years, so we decided to immediately deploy IPv6. We needed to gain experience in order to maintain a very high quality service,” he added.

D’Egidio observed that organizations should not be afraid of transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6, and added that for every obstacle they encountered Telecentro “found a solution.” “Many issues will depend on each company’s specific business. We must work ahead of time on choosing and configuring the technology if we are to avoid the need to replace it in the future. One of the keys is to train every sector so that everyone can participate and be prepared,” said the Argentine engineer.

Aggressive growth. The experience of Telefônica Brasil – one of the largest organizations in the country as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean – was directly linked to the growth of its business.

Fabio Scartoni, Engineering Manager at Telefônica Brasil, said that they had deployed IPv6 to guarantee the growth of their services in light of IPv4 exhaustion. “We were experiencing aggressive growth of our broadband services and wanted to make sure that we would be able to continue to expand. NAT might have been a temporary solution to support sales, but it would have been quite temporary, as IPv6 was the final solution,” Scartoni highlighted.

Telefônica Brasil has been working with IPv6 for six years and currently handles “a very significant amount” of IPv6 traffic, according to its head of Engineering.

According to Scartori, it wasn’t an easy process. First, they needed to convince the company about an extremely technical and important issue that would not generate any new services. “IPv6 is difficult in that it entails changing the network only to arrive at the same starting point. At the time, people would ask me if IPv6 was going to be the new Y2K bug, whether everyone was saying that addresses would run out but in fact this would never happen. I swore that they would run out and asked them to trust me.”

Once deployment had been decided, Telefónica’s Engineering department had to face various technical challenges. “Device compatibility was a major issue. We worked hard with each model and equipment we sell – as well as with each provider – to guarantee their compatibility. We had to go to the lab and perform tests to make sure that when we implemented the service everything would continue to work properly and transparently,” Scartoni noted.

 

Obligation to our customers. Joelson Tadeu Vendramin of COPEL (Companhia Paranaense de Energia) observed that the decline in the number of IPv4 addresses in 2013 – a time when IPv4 exhaustion was already being anticipated – was a driving factor behind the decision to deploy IPv6.

“COPEL had the obligation to serve the retail market and our number of clients started to grow exponentially. The only option was to move to IPv6,” commented Tadeu Vendramin.

The main obstacle faced by COPEL’s Engineering department was adapting every piece of equipment to the new protocol. “Many devices required changes as they did not support IPv6. This was the main obstacle we had to face. Today, we can say that this obstacle has been overcome. In 2017 our equipment is IPv6-ready. Our future challenge will be to take the protocol to the ends of the network, either to end user devices or to the servers they are accessing,” said Vendramin.

 

Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCOl-v5rSow

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