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13/06/2019

The Organization of American States (OAS) Approves a New Recommendation on IPv6

The Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) recently approved a new recommendation for OAS member countries to require that any new equipment marketed and/or purchased in their territories must be compatible with the IPv6 protocol.

Approved based on a series of technical documents submitted by LACNIC to CITEL’s Permanent Consultative Committee, this measure seeks to facilitate the deployment of this technology in Latin America and the Caribbean now that IPv4 addresses have been exhausted in the region. The initiative also seeks to avoid the potential introduction of equipment that does not support IPv6 and is therefore considered technological waste into the region.

César Díaz, Head of Strategic Relations and Telecommunications at LACNIC and one of the articulators of the CITEL recommendation, pointed out that representatives of the countries participating in this working group had agreed with the recommendation.

While “each country is sovereign in deciding based on these recommendations, these technical documents serve to support and encourage” the promotion of IPv6 deployment, said Diaz.

After IPv4 address exhaustion, the IPv6 protocol is the only way to support Internet growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, nine out of ten LACNIC member organizations have received IPv6 resources, although less than half (42%) are using them in their networks.

The recommendation allows the countries of the region to open the door to working together on the development of critical Internet infrastructure, proposing new ways to encourage technical development and analyzing potential contributions for IPv6 deployment together with the governments, Díaz added.

In addition, the document admits that the exhaustion of IPv4 resources limits the possibility of assigning IP addresses —which are key to Internet growth and development— as well as the implementation of solutions for what has come to be known as the Internet of Things (IoT), which requires larger amounts of numbering resources and for which IPv6 offers a solution.

It also adds that the use of devices without IPv6 support has a negative impact in the short term but most importantly in the medium and long term.

In this sense, it warns us that the region runs the risk of acquiring a significant amount of obsolete equipment that only supports IPv4, and that the countries are at risk of receiving outdated equipment —technological waste— which would lead to a technological divide due to the impossibility of deploying new services that require a much more massive use of IP address space.

With this in mind, the document recommends establishing plans and procedures to encourage the purchase and marketing of IPv6-compatible equipment as a way to guarantee the minimum requirements needed for the proper deployment and operation of this protocol.