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Kenya’s tech regulator issues ultimatum on IPv6 migration

By , Kenya-based correspondent
Kenya , 14 Jul 2022

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has urged market compliance with guidelines it has released to support the country’s complete migration from Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) to the Internet Protocol version six (IPv6) in the next twelve months – or risk losing access to the internet and other tech complications.

In a recently released report, the CA referenced Google statistics which indicate that the country’s level of adoption of IPv6 compatible devices stands at 8%, ahead of Rwanda at 6.3%, Tanzania at 0.11% and Uganda at 0.3%.

The regulator said if the complete adoption of the IPv6 is delayed, it will mean that millions of users will be left without internet access and the cost of doing business for ISPs will rise and this will be passed along to customers.

The CA report stated: “If adoption to IPv6 is not realised in Kenya, network providers will have to put up with the complicated deployment of networks that require address translation, tunneling and dual-stack to communicate with IPv6 networks.”

IPv4 was the first version of IP to be used, and despite having been officially released in 1983, it is still the most widely used version to identify devices on a given network. It uses 32-bit addresses, while the IPv6 uses 128-bit address.

Technologist at the Internet Society Michuki Mwangi said: “IPv6 is the only resource that will enable us to grow and expand the internet first to those who already have it to continue enjoying the service, and also to those who don’t have it to be able to be connected.”

The CA has warned that failure to migrate will result in “serious technological challenges” including, complicated deployment of complex networks that require address translations, and an increase in “cyber security incidents.”

Mwangi says migration is also important for ISPs: “In very few circumstances they may have hardware that they actually need to replace, but the areas that they may need to work on before they deploy the IPv6 is the training for staff to be able to know how to deploy and operate this new numbering format.”

The CA said its intention is by July 2023 only IPv6-compatible devices can be used.

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