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27/06/2019

“Universities Should Promote IPv6”

The team representing Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro of Mexico who won the fifth edition of LACNIC’s IPv6 Challenge took the Challenge above and beyond the requirements of the competition promoted by LACNIC’s R&D department.

From the day they decided to participate in the contest, they set up a laboratory, made it 100% operational and added an IPv6 implementation plan for all their services, deploying the protocol in more than 20 university campuses – in the University’s Wi-Fi and wired networks – and reaching more than 27,000 online users.

Anselmo Ulises Bajonero Corona, leader of the winning team, stressed the coordination work involved in the IPv6 Challenge and underlined the role of the University in the dissemination of knowledge, in this case, the IPv6 protocol. He observed that academia should work together to promote IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean.

What prompted you to participate in the IPv6 Challenge? Was this your first participation?

The reason for participating in the Challenge was precisely the challenge it represented. We know that as a university we can – and we should – promote any activity that seeks to promote the dissemination of knowledge. We know that there are still many deficiencies in the implementation of IPv6 and we believe that universities should take the lead in promoting this protocol.

What are the key learnings after participating in this challenge promoted by LACNIC?

The challenge left us many things. Organized, structured and planned learning, team work and effective coordination among all members of the project team, as all the areas working with ICT had to be coordinated with clockwork precision. I would also add the staff’s ability to know that things can be achieved, effective communication and the identification of areas of opportunity.

What was your winning initiative? How many people were part of your working team and what results did you achieve through this process?

We believe that having gone beyond the basic requirements of the Challenge was what decided the selection committee in our favor. This recognition encourages us to continue to promote the project.

Our team comprises 18 people, including the project leader, administrative staff (engineers) and trainees (students from our own university as well as from other universities). 

This process leaves us with the commitment to support other institutions to follow in our footsteps and promote IPv6.

In their decision, the selection committee noted that Universidad de Querétaro had advanced its IPv6 deployment in several locations and developed an IPv6 addressing plan. Can you expand on this? 

When we received the invitation to participate, as a team we decided to push ourselves further than required and not limit ourselves to an initial experience. We made it 100% operational. We developed an IPv6 implementation plan for all our services, we took IPv6 deployment to more than 20 campuses, we deployed IPv6 in Wi-Fi and wired networks (more than 27,000 users online), we implemented the protocol on basic services such as DNS, DHCP, firewalls and virtualized servers. We also requested this deployment with our ISP.

What are the main administrative and technical difficulties your organization had to face to deploy IPv6?

One of the main difficulties had to do with the equipment. If your technology does not support IPv6, you must purchase or change your equipment, and this can be quite difficult.

Another difficulty was convincing our ISP to implement IPv6 in our links. We believe that the reason for this is that they have not deployed the protocol in their routers, so it is difficult for a client to request and demand the service. Another thing we might mention is that the time frame we had to meet our objectives was quite tight.

Do you think that Mexico and Latin America are truly aware of IPv4 exhaustion and the need to use IPv6 to sustain Internet growth and connect the unconnected?

We think that this awareness doesn’t exist. Even when speaking with students of other Mexican universities, the topic does not appear to generate much interest because it is seen as something that will only be necessary in the distant future.

Therefore, it is first essential to raise awareness among those responsible for ICTs so that they, in turn, can communicate to the users the need for change and possible improvements to services.