The Communications Authorities (CA) has announced that Kenya is preparing to upgrade from Internet Protocol Version 4 (iPv4) to Internet Protocol 6 (IPv6) by 2023.
IP is a combination of rules that allows computerized devices to communicate with one another over a network. IP helps with routing or directing packets of data across networks so that they move to the intended destination.
IPv4 is the version that the world has used since 1983 and is still the most known version used to identify devices on a network. IPv6, on the other hand, is the newer version, meaning it presents newer features. The main difference is that IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, whereas IPv6 uses a 128-bit address. It’s also the unique identifier that distinguishes one device from another connected to the internet.
These protocols matter because there are 4.3 billion unique IP addresses and this number will continue to grow as more IoT devices hit the market. Using IPv6, every device can have a unique address, unlike IPv4 where sometimes addresses were reused. The migration also enhances security since it supports end-to-end IP security encryption mode.
To ensure the success of the process, Kenya aims to allow only devices that use only devices with IPv6 capability for use in the country effective July 2023. The CA plans to use various media to educate the general public on the need to acquire IPv6-ready or compliant devices.
The Authority says that failing to comply would have serious ramifications for the ICT sector including lack of internet access, and lag in tech advances. In addition, with more manufacturers developing IPv6 devices, each will require access to the internet, hence the need to be ready for IPv6 usage.