The Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN) has embarked on a major initiative to deploy IPv6 across its network starting with the country’s public universities.

The move, which has already Seen MAREN training staff and deploying IPv6 at the University of Malawi (UNIMA) and the Malawi Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) seeks to migrate all MAREN member institutions to IPv6 by October 2023.

The deployment of IPv6 in all MAREN member institutions networks is expected to improve network performance, scalability, and security, and at ensuring that member institutions are equipped to meet the growing demand for internet connectivity and services.

IPv6 is the latest version of the internet protocol that underpins the internet, and it offers several advantages over the previous version, IPv4. In particular, IPv6 offers a virtually unlimited supply of IP addresses, which is crucial as more and more devices and services come online.

“Ensuring that public universities have access to fast, reliable, and secure internet connectivity is crucial for the success of our students and researchers. By deploying IPv6, we’re taking an important step towards building the modern, resilient, and scalable networks that our universities need to thrive in the digital age,” said Alex Chipwalamwazani, MAREN Network Infrastructure Manager.

“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 not be limited to access online content. IPv6 further offers enhanced network security, efficient routing, and easier administration,” he added.

Chipwalamwazani lamented that Malawi is lagging behind in the deployment of IPv6 adding the drive by MAREN is expected to increase IPv6 uptake in the country.

“Malawi is lacking behind in terms of IPv6 adoption. Currently, the IPv6 adoption for Malawi is at 0.3%, with only few service providers on IPv6, with this initiative from MAREN we expected the adoption to increase exponentially.”

After UNIMA and MUBAS, MAREN is now expected to commence training of ICT Staff and actual deployment of IPv6 at the Malawi University of Science and Technology.