Tanzania will be gradually migrating from the current Internet Protocol Version 4 and switching onto Version 6 in effort to cushion the country from imminent digital blackout.
The Director General for the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Prof John Nkoma explained that the move from the old Internet Protocol (IPV-4) to the latest (IPV-6) hybrid internet protocol will gradually be done smoothly such that providers and users will not notice any hitch in services rendered.
The TCRA Director General was responding to a question raised by this paper regarding the fear of internet blackout, since the internet Protocol Version 4 which the country is relying on was already overwhelmed.
Prof Nkoma had opened the inaugural the Tanzania Network Operators Group (TZNOG) training, aimed at providing affordable platforms to build capacity of local Internet Engineers.
"Switching from one internet protocol to another will be slightly different from the recent analogue to digital television migration; the move from IPV-4 to IPV-6 will not require new hardware or added software on the side of users," said Prof Nkoma.
Most parts of the world are deploying the new IPV-6 after the basic, older protocol got overwhelmed such that no new internet addresses can be added on the back of its system and being cramped online services based on IPV-4are also bound to be slower.
Mobile phone service providers in Tanzania apparently cannot roll out the new faster and advanced 4th Generation (4G) radio on the backbone of the dated IPV-4 and this upgrade may wait until the country deploys the highly capacitive IPV-6 hybrid protocol.
IPv4 provides approximately 4.3 billion addresses; a subset of these has been distributed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority to the Regional Internet Registries in blocks of approximately 16.8 million addresses each. The depletion of the IPv4 allocation pool is currently of major concern.
On his part, Eng. Habib Rashid, the manager in-charge at TZNOG said Tanzanian firms and institutions were still sceptic of utilising the local dot.tz domain name for their online communications opting to go for the international dot.com.
Eng. Rashid assured that the problem is not the dot.tz domain but lack of skills on the side of internet engineers on the local institutions and that the newly launched training session will solve that.
Many complain that intra-net and corporate emails using the dot.tz usually experiences bugs, becoming difficult to send or receive and as the result, many organisation use 'internet mails' like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.
With support from Network Startup Resource Centre (NSRC), a United States based training firm, the TZNOG organising committee has scheduled capacity building trainings to be executed twice a year in selected areas of the country.
TZNOG is made up of TCRA members, Tanzania internet Service Providers Association (TISPA) members and the Tanzania Education and Research Network (TERNET).