PIT Bolivia Deploys IPv6 with the Support of LACNIC

04/08/2022

PIT Bolivia has achieved interesting IPv6 deployment figures thanks to the tireless efforts of local operators and professionals and the collaboration of LACNIC.

LACNIC has encouraged the use of IPv6 together with key players in the Bolivian Internet ecosystem, first through meetings at the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Governance Forum, and then through IPv6 workshops offered by LACNIC’s R&D department.

These efforts have permeated the Bolivian technical community, making it possible for almost 20% of Internet users in the country to be using IPv6.

Marcos Peredo of COMTECO Bolivia observed that IPv6 should be included at the curricular level in Engineering and Information Technology training programs. “We should change networking syllabuses so that they will focus on IPv6, with IPv4 as an addition,” Peredo added.

Progress. COMTECO, ENTEL, UMSA, and Edmund are the Bolivian organizations leading IPv6 deployment, with 56.07%, 43.09%, 49.28% and 4.17% IPv6 capability, respectively, according to APNIC statistics.

According to these data, IPv6 deployment in Bolivia has grown to 19.6% from 13% three years ago. “In other words, there has been a slight increase that shows that there is still much work to do,” Peredo said.

According to LACNIC data, there are 56 autonomous systems in Bolivia, 12 of which are directly connected  to PIT.bo, 29 are connected remotely through their Internet access providers, and 13 are not connected.

Support and training. Last June, the ISOC Bolivia Chapter, LACNIC, and PIT Bolivia worked together to offer training to allow IPv6 traffic through PIT Bolivia.

“LACNIC is accompanying us along this journey. If LACNIC wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have the help we need. We are working together,” said Carlos Sanabria of PIT Bolivia.

The IPv6 course was designed considering technical staff and decision makers separately.

In the case of decision makers, emphasis was placed on IPv4 exhaustion, its consequences, the regional situation, and possible technical solutions. Also, general IPv6 theory, regional metrics, the situation in Bolivia, and the need for PIT Bolivia to lead the implementation of this protocol and BGP development by example.  

For professionals and technical personnel, we first worked on the theory of these protocols, including the characteristics of IPv6, improved IP addressing, and BGP implementation, followed by hands-on sessions. Test scenarios were presented, as well as the complexity of deploying a topology involving ISPs, IXPs, private peering, clients, and upstream providers implementing BGP sessions, and managing the Internet routing table, which also includes an Internet Exchange Point.

After the course, the IPv6 protocol was enabled at PIT.bo. Since then, many providers have been exchanging IPv6 traffic using the PIT.bo infrastructure. The first specific examples such as COMTECO show an increase in the volume of traffic exchanged.

Sanabria stressed the efficiency of the Bolivian technical staff and their collaboration. He added that the journey from IPv4 to IPv6 is clearly not about transition or migration, but about evolution and integration, and concluded by saying that it would not be possible to implement initiatives to increase IPv6 deployment without the commitment and support of national actors.

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