The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has announced IPv4 to IPv6 migration strategy.
IP is a protocol that allows computers or devices to communicate with one another over a network. Put differently, IP is a set of rules that help with routing packets of data so that they can move across networks, and to the intended destination.
As the v in the name suggests, there are multiple versions of the internet protocol.
Now, IPv4 is the first version of IP to be used. Officially released in 1983, it is still the most known version that is used to identify devices on a network.
IPv6 is basically a newer version of IP. And why does it exist? Well, while the 4.3 billion unique IP addresses for v4 seem like a lot, the numbers aren’t just enough because there are way too many devices out there, and they will keep growing thanks to the existence of way too many IoT devices and sensors. it is for this reason that IPv6 exists.
The difference between the two is that IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, whereas IPv6 uses a 128-bit address.
IPv6 has 7.9 by 1028 addresses compared to 4.3 billion for v6. This means that every device can have a unique address for v6. In v4, addresses are sometimes reused or masked.
The migration is key because it will be pivotal to enhanced security, by the fact that IPv6 supports end-to-end IP Security protocol mode.
The CA says that should Kenya delay in full adoption of IPv6, then serious technological challenges may befall the country’s ICT sector, including lack of internet access, and lag in tech advances. Specifically, with the advent of IoT devices, most manufacturers are developing IPv6 devices due to the fact that the IoT devices will be numerous, will each require access to the internet and will therefore call for IPv6 usage. Kenya will not be able to take advantage of the IoT devices as a result.
IPv6 adoption rates for Kenya are currently at under 8%, Uganda at 0.3 %, Tanzania (0.11%), Rwanda at 6.34 %, Burundi and South Sudan at 0%
Now, to drive the uptake of IPv6, only devices with IPv6 capability will be type approved for use in Kenya effective July 2023. This is part of the CA’s regulatory intervention.
The CA will educate consumers on the need to acquire IPv6-ready or compliant devices.
It will also develop an awareness campaign plan targeting the operators, vendors, and consumers as appropriate.
This will be done through online platforms, pamphlets, newspapers, radios, and any outreach programs.
The CA will further organize hands-on physical training, where trainees from the service providers will be taken through hands-on training on IPv6 migration and related technologies by Authority sourced experts.
Finally, they will define reporting templates, on mechanisms on how service providers will be reporting on the steps taken to adopt IPv6 including equipment inventories and a plan toward full adoption of IPv6.
The public awareness campaign will start in September 2022.