14th Saudi Arabian IPv6 Task Force Meeting

Marco Hogewoning — Nov 14, 2013 10:55 AM
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The RIPE NCC recently participated in a meeting of the Saudi Arabian Task Force. A well-attended event, it included presentations and discussions about IPv6 deployment strategies, as well as presentations by operators reporting back on their successful IPv6 pilot projects and plans to roll out IPv6 in the first half of 2014.

The 14th Saudi Arabian Task Force Meeting, was held on November 7th, 2014 in Riyadh. This successful event, hosted by the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC), had over 40 participants from the Saudi Arabian Internet Industry as well as representatives from government institutions and enterprises, discussing the deployment of IPv6.

The meeting was preceded by a three-day MENOG IPv6 Roadshow. 21 participants took part in this technical training, learning how to configure and deploy IPv6 in their networks.

Dr Ibraheem Al Furaih (CITC), in his presentation, highlighted the fact that the number of Internet users in Saudi Arabia is still rapidly growing, surpassing 16.5 million in the first half of 2013. With the global and regional IPv4 address pool depleted, a rapid deployment of IPv6 is necessary in sustaining future growth and to enable the remaining 45% of the population to also connect to the Internet. He also announced that, following the decision of the Task Force to put more focus on enterprise networks, CITC will run a pilot in which four enterprises will be supported in enabling IPv6 on all their customer-facing services.

Ashraf Sattar (STC) reported back on a successful pilot project in enabling IPv6 on their DSL network. With the tests completed, they expect to begin rolling out IPv6 as a production service in the first quarter of 2014, followed by a planned deployment of IPv6 in the FTTH network in the second quarter. He also highlighted some of the design challenges that mobile operators are facing, concluding that a single stack approach, in which an IPv6-only service is complemented by an IPv6 to IPv4 translation service, is the most promising solution. However, as he remarked, such a solution would put limits on the peer-to-peer communication in between hosts.

Motaz Alturayef (Mobily) provided the attendees with an overview of some of the security challenges in deploying IPv6. But as he mentioned, the fact that a lot of devices and software now have IPv6 capabilities, also poses a threat in that IPv6 traffic might escape to the attention of the security teams and intrusion detection systems.

Amer Mustafa (GAMA) presented on the successful projects they did with several of their customers. Their segmented approach that focusses on different parts of the organisation allows for the deployment of IPv6 in only 90 days. He stated that convincing the business executives and decision makers was the biggest challenge in the fast deployment IPv6.

A presentation by Marco Hogewoning (RIPE NCC) showed statistics about the deployment  of IPv6 in Saudi Arabia taken from the various measurement programs, comparing them to those of other countries in the Middle East region, as well as to the global deployment statistics. He also highlighted that, while the IPv4 pool is depleted, there is still an ongoing need in maintaining the registration data of IPv4 resources to be accurate and complete.

Gert Doering in his role as IPv6 Consultant explained the various options available within the RIPE NCC Service Region for obtaining IPv6 resources. Using several examples, he highlighted some of the drawbacks and benefits of those options for companies of various sizes. He invited the participants to take part in discussions in the RIPE Address Policy Working Group, which have been addressing several potential changes to IPv6 and IPv4 address policy.

In conjunction with the IPv6 events, the RIPE NCC also invited its Saudi Arabian members, together with other stakeholders, for an informal dinner to discuss ongoing issues and the needs of the membership. The attendees expressed the need for further activities in IPv6 training, not only on a technical level but also for executive-level employees. They also welcomed the continued efforts made by the RIPE NCC to increase its presence in the Middle East, noting the expansion of the Dubai office to include more staff.

All the presentations, as well as more information about the Saudi Arabian IPv6 Task Force, are available on their website, via http://www.ipv6.sa. The next meeting of the Task Force is planned to take place in April or May 2014.

If you have any questions regarding this event or would like RIPE NCC staff to contribute to your IPv6 events please contact us via ipv6actnow _at_ ripe _dot_ net

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