Communications Authority to Ban Sale of non-IPv6 Devices This Year

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In July 2022, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) announced IPv4 to IPv6 migration strategy.

Here is a recap of what IP (Internet Protocol) is.

IP is a protocol that enables computers or devices to communicate with each other over a network. In other words, IP is a set of rules that facilitate the routing of data packets across networks to their intended destination.

There are multiple versions of the Internet Protocol.

IPv4 is the first version of IP that was used and was officially released in 1983. It is still the most widely used version for identifying devices on a network.

IPv6 is a newer version of IP that was developed to address the limitations of IPv4. While the 4.3 billion unique IP addresses in IPv4 may seem like a lot, it is not enough to accommodate the growing number of devices, including IoT devices and sensors. This is why IPv6 exists.

The primary difference between the two versions is that IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, whereas IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses. IPv6 has approximately 7.9 x 10^28 unique addresses, which means that every device can have a unique address, while in IPv4, addresses may be reused or masked.

The transition to IPv6 is important because it enhances security by supporting end-to-end IP Security protocol mode.

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 reports that it will ban the sale of devices such as mobile phones, computers, printers, and scanners that do not have IPv6 because the Authority had said that only devices with IPv6 capability would be approved for use in Kenya effective July 2023. This is part of the CA’s regulatory intervention.

The CA had warned 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.

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%.