I was sitting in the audience during the national innovation framework, which was a half-day on Thursday. I listened carefully to the framework, and the plan for the coming years.
One of the topics that quickly caught my attention were the strong potential of the Internet of Things market, and also the bandwidth in Mauritius. A lot of people wanted faster internet: 100 Mbit/s. However, I did not hear anybody talk about the latency. A 100 Mbit/s connection with a 350ms latency to EU/US would still result in a horrible skype/whatsapp/viber session as a 1Mbit/s connection with 350ms latency to EU/US. At this point, it is unclear how the government and the local ISPs intend to address the issue. This is important, as the nature of Internet Traffic is changing: less people initiate download sessions, most people send short bits of data across the internet: skype, viber, whatsapp, facebook messenger, forum posting, and others. Sames goes for IOT, short strings of information sent across devices. The smaller the latency, the more responsive will be our Internet of Things networks.
The other issue that I think is strongly lacking are the remaining IPv4 resources left in our region to be able to make Internet of things a reality. There are currently 26.4 million of IPv4 addresses left, and it keeps shrinking at a frightening rate.
In order for Mauritius to capture the IOT market, we need a solid plan to grow our IPv4 resource usage to make room for those millions of IOT devices. We cannot wait 2020, as other african countries are also requesting for IPv4 resources due to their own demand. What happens when the IPv4 pool becomes small (Around 16 Million IPv4 addresses)? We will enter into soft-landing phase: It’s going to be harder to obtain large allocations for IPv4 addresses and Mauritius ICT growth will be impeded.
Aside from IPv4 addresses, we need to also plan for IPv6 which will allow Mauritius to grow its IOT market beyond 2020, thanks to the huge pool of IPv6 addresses. The sooner we get IPv6 connectivity, the better we will be able to position ourselves for any other technological challenge. Make no mistake, TCP/IP is here to stay, the more IPv4 and IPv6 resources we have in Mauritius, the better we will be able to innovate.
(Views expressed above are my own)