The University of Malawi (UNIMA) has become the first public university in Malawi to fully migrate its online content to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) with technical assistance from the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN).

IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol that provides an identification and location system for devices across the internet. IPv6 replaces IPv4, which has been around since 1998 and has now run out of IP addresses for devices. IPv6 is more secure, more efficient and supports more recent technological innovations.

MAREN Network and Infrastructure Manager, Alexius Chipwalamwazani says the migration of UNIMA from IPv4 to IPv6 is part of MAREN’s strategy of building a robust and resilient network that offers unrestricted access to online content for its members adding MAREN intends to help all public universities switch to IPv6 by October 2023.

“In this digital era, academic and research institutions require unlimited access to online content irrespective of the underlying technologies. With the IPv6 deployment alongside the existing IPv4, academicians and researchers will be limited to access online content. IPv6 further offers enhanced network security, efficient routing, and easier administration,” said Chipwalamwazani.

UNIMA Acting Head of ICT Department, Roland Misomali says UNIMA will now be able to access all online content for both IPv6 and IPv4 sites unlike before the migration as we were able to access the sites that are in IPv4 only. He says the university has also extended its visibility to Internet devices that are operating on IPv6 only.

“The migration to IPv6 will help us to assign IP addresses to all our network devices for over 100 years to come and to manage our network with reliable security features of the IPv6,” says Misomali.

Misomali also expresses gratitude to MAREN for the technical assistance rendered in the migration and appeals to MAREN to help build the institution’s capacity in bandwidth management and routing.

According to MAREN, Malawi’s adoption of IPv6 is among the lowest in the world at 0.3 percent.