Africa Dragging its Heels on IPv6 Migration

Kenya’s government, via the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), has urged the tech industry at large to begin migration from IPv4 to IPv6 in order to safeguard progress in internet development in the country.

The CA stated that Africa is lagging in the change from IPv4 to IPv6. “Based on Google’s statistics, the IPv6 adoption rate for Kenya is currently at under 8%, Uganda at 0.3 %, Tanzania (0.11%), Rwanda at 6.34 %, Burundi and South Sudan at 0%.”

Kevin Chege, Director of Internet Development for the Internet Society said, “As internet availability increases, so does the need to uniquely identify each of the devices like laptops, phones and IoT devices coming online on the continent – something which IPv6 guarantees with extended numbering capacity. IPv6 will help ensure that the next billion users and devices from Africa will have end-to-end access to the internet.”

But Chege also warned that the slow pace of migration in Africa remains an issue and with IPv4 running out in Africa and having already run out in other parts of the globe, embracing IPv6 is key to ensuring that services continue to run and remain accessible.

He advises companies to tap into IPv6 training offered by industry bodies including AFRINIC, Internet Society and ICANN.

He also makes the point that the latest hardware being released is now compatible with IPv6 and IT leaders can separate them from outdated infrastructure.

“In addition to understanding what IPv6 addresses look like, how to plan a migration to IPv6 and how to assign IPv6 addresses, having knowledge of the Domain Name System (DNS) is also important,” Chege explained.

“This is because DNS makes it easier for people to remember the names of devices and not the IPv6 address assigned to a device. Unlike IPv4 which only uses 0-9 and is simpler to recall off memory, IPv6 includes the characters “a-f” in addition to the numbers due to the longer address space.”

Kenya has stipulated a deadline of July 2023 for full migration to IPv6.

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