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IPV6 on the agenda in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Commission for ICT and Devoteam host conference to discuss IPV6 progress in the Kingdom

Consultancy group Devoteam Middle East hosted a conference on Sunday, to discuss the future direction of internet services in Saudi Arabia.

Devoteam, along with the Saudi Commission for Information Technology and Communications, hosted internet and telecom service providers at the event, which focused on Internet Protocol version 6 (IPV6), the ‘next generation’ of internet standards.

The conference included sessions on technical developments in IPV6 and IPV4, the current standard for internet communications, and the progress made in upgrading Saudi Arabia to IPV6.

The IPV4 standard is facing a number of capacity problems, mainly with lack of IP addresses, with available IP addresses expected to be exhausted between 2010 and 2012. IPV6 uses 128-bit addresses, compared to IPV4 32bits, to allow many more addresses to be allocated, and the standard also includes enhanced address management and security functions.

Devoteam is the lead consultant on Saudi’s IPV6 Focus Group, and has also been heavily involved in IPV6 developments in Europe. The company shared this experience with operators including Saudi Telecom, Mobily, Zain, ITC, and Atheeb at the event.

Osama Ghoul, managing partner of Devoteam Middle East said:. “The internet is at the centre of our business and personal lives, and what we’re talking about today will affect us tomorrow unless action is taken. The work currently being undertaken by the Saudi IPv6 Focus Group is of immense importance. Without it, we could run out of internet addresses sooner than we think.

“Most of the net still uses IPv4, which is nearly twenty years old. We’re now seeing issues in this standard, namely that there’s a growing shortage of IPv4 addresses. IPv6 fixes a number of problems in IPv4, such as the limited number of available IPv4 addresses, as well as adding improvements in terms of security. It’s vital that both national bodies as well as data providers are ready for the transition, otherwise the net’s growth will grind to a halt,” added Ghoul.

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