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Difference between IPv4 and IPv6

Before understanding the difference between IPv4 and IPv6, you should know about Internet Protocol (IP) or IP address. This is a unique code for Internet communication devices. To date, there are two versions of the Internet Protocol, called IP version 4 and IP version 6. IPv4 was introduced to the public in 1980, but it came into force after 1989, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the web. IPv6 was in the initial stages of design and development in 1998, but went into effect in 2017. Although there are advantages and disadvantages, people still confuse IPv4 and IPv6. In this article, let’s analyze the advantages of IPv6 over IPv4 and IPv4 v/s IPv6 examples.

Difference between IPv4 and IPv6

Here we have detailed the difference between IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.

What is Internet Protocol?

Internet protocol is a method of transferring data from one computer to another via the Internet. It uses a set of rules to route information from the host computer to the networks to reach the destination computer. When data is sent from the host computer, it is broken down into smaller pieces called packets. Each packet contains information about the IP address of the target computer. IP data is called an IP address, which is assigned by the Internet to uniquely identify a device.

Types of internet protocols

Here are the types of internet protocols:

  • IP (Internet Protocol): Internet Protocol is a set of rules that allow computers to communicate with each other. The IP protocol ensures that a computer is assigned a specific serial number known as an IP address. The IP protocol has two versions: IPv4 and IPv6. The difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is what you will read about later in the article.

  • TCP (Transfer Control Protocol): Transfer Control Protocol breaks data into smaller pieces called packets and exchanges them over the Internet. It also ensures that the packets contain information about the source data, destination, and data array. TCP is further divided into four layers. The first is the application layer, which ensures that data is received in the same format in which it was sent from the host address. Second, the transport layer is responsible for the smooth transfer of data from the host computer to the destination computer. It also provides error recovery and data flow control. The third is the Internet layer, which forwards packets from the host computer to the destination computer, connecting independent networks. The fourth is the network access layer, which is responsible for connecting computers to the network.

  • UDP (User Data Protocol): The User Data Protocol is connectionless and unreliable. Since there is no connection, there is no system to receive data. It can only transfer a small amount of data at a time. It contains the addresses of the host computer and the target computer to move the data to the right place.

  • POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3): POP3 consists of two message access agents (a client and a server). It helps you manage and receive mail from your mailbox.

  • SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is mainly intended for sending mail. This protocol is based on a set of rules with two programs that send and receive e-mail over the Internet.

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A file transfer protocol allows the transfer of various types of files from a host computer to a destination computer. These files can be text, multimedia, document and program files.

  • HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol): HTTP is a protocol used to transfer data in a special format over the Internet via the World Wide Web (www) that combines other data such as text or images. It provides the appropriate structure and data transfer. It also identifies the various actions required in response to the commands that the user provides in the web browser.

  • HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure): HTTPS is an extended version of the HTTP protocol. It increases the security of communication in the network thanks to Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security certificates. This is necessary in cases where users need to share confidential information.

  • TELNET (Terminal Network): The Terminal Network protocol allows a system to connect to another via a network. The host computer is called the local computer, while the target computer is called the remote computer. This protocol helps you to log into the target computer through the host computer.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a unique number assigned to devices connected to a network to connect to the network. For example, 192.168.293.10.

These addresses can be the same for people connected by wired or modem connection at work or at home. But it is separated with NAT or National Address Translation when accessing public addresses. The modem/router acts as a NAT for those IP addresses. It separates the identity of the device and reacts differently to the devices when they want to access the Internet connected to it. Before we get to know IPv4 and IPv6, let’s take a quick look at the definitions.

What is IPv4?

IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4, was initially the first public version of the Internet to access the network while obtaining a unique identification code to view anything. It is a protocol used in packet-switched link layer networks, meaning it is intended for Ethernet applications.

IPv4 uses a numeric value to assign a user identity to a network. IPV4 uses a 32-bit address to store its address, which goes down to 232, making a whopping 4.3 billion addresses (4,294,967,296 to be exact).

What is IPv6?

Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

IPv6 is a new protocol with new advanced features for using the Internet and solving the IP exhaustion problem that appeared in IPv4. IPv6 is a 128-bit IP address that supports 2128 addresses in the calculation, resulting in an infinite number of hexadecimal IP addresses separated by colons (:).

What is the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?

It has been a long time and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been forcing users to use IPv6 for smooth and stable connections over routing channels. The user does not know whether he is using IPv4 or IPv6. To identify the difference between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, here is an example of IPv4 vs IPv6.

  • IPv4: 192.168.27.12
  • IPv6: 2001: 4860: 4860: 0: 0: 0: 0: 8888

To compare the difference between IPv4 and IPv6, you can put them together in a chart.

IPv4
IPv6
32-bit address length
128-bit address length
4.3 billion addresses
340 undecillion addresses
Numeric address
Hexadecimal address
It is used for unicast, multicast and broadcast
It is used for unicast, anycast and multicast
Packet size: 576 bytes
Packet size: 1208 bytes
Numbers from 0 to 255
0 to FFFF
Separated by period (.)
Separated by a colon (:)
It consists of 4 octets and 8 bits
It consists of 8 octets and 16 bits
Suitable for computers and laptops
More compatible with mobile networks
Limited payload due to outdated prototype
Higher payload (packet payload)
Example: 192.168.27.12
Example: 2001: 4860: 4860: 0: 0: 0: 0: 8888

Advantages of IPv6 over IPv4

After looking at the difference between IPv4 and IPv6, let’s look at the advantages of IPv6 over IPv4. People are still using IPv4 because of compatibility issues, probably because of the network service provider or an older system sitting in the corner. The IPv4 protocol has been around since the days of LAN cables, and it was very difficult for people to afford wireless technology. But since the competition for mass production was at its peak, people started to realize that the internet is the most important and after that they switched to a digital lifestyle. We have many advantages and let’s check them first.

  • IPv6 does not require Network Address Translation (NAT) to access your network.
  • It has an unlimited number of IP addresses.
  • There is a good option to mark the flow (Quality of Service).
  • Enables automatic device configuration.
  • It also has automatic authentication and a privacy certificate.
  • Suitable for multicast routing.
  • Additionally, it has improved mobility and a stable connection.
  • IPv6 is more compatible with mobile devices.
  • Web pages load 5% faster compared to IPv4.
  • IPv6 uses NDP (Neighbor Discovery Protocol) to MAC address mapping.
  • There is no checksum field.

IPv6 statistics

After the newer version is released to the public, people tend to use single IP addresses in their work to avoid clusters. However, according to Google statistics, IPv6 usage increased by 36.85% on October 25, 2022, from 0.14% on September 4, 2008. This shows that ISPs are helping to make the changes happen, but slowly.

Image from Adopting Google IPv6

While countries are preparing for IPv6, Web 3.0 is being developed by technology companies (NFT, Gaming, Crypto).

Image from Google IPv6 Adoption by Country

After learning about the differences and benefits, read on to find out which IPv4 or IPv6 is better.

Which is better IPv4 or IPv6?

This question is not necessarily easy to answer, although we have covered many of the advantages of IPv6 over IPv4. To decide which is better IPv4 or IPv6, you need to understand your requirements and the requirements of your network. If you are connecting to devices that mostly use IPv4 addresses, it would be better to use IPv4 addresses. It may also be better to use IPv4 addresses if you are only focusing on immediate requirements and not thinking about long-term expansion of your network. Overall, IPv6 is better, faster, more secure and more technologically advanced. It also has more options.

In addition, adding points will be the IP address automatically enabled and assigned to your device when you are connected to the Internet, depending on the country you live in or the services you choose.

IPv4 and IPv6 together

Despite the difference between IPv4 and IPv6, both are still in use today. Both IP versions have their fair share of pros and cons. There are also advantages to using them together. In this approach, computers and routers support both protocols. Major network service providers support this approach. This is called a double set network. Tunneling and NAT are other approaches where using both IP addresses has proven useful.

Who uses IPv6?

According to Google, the global deployment of IPv4 is 34%. In the US it is said to be 46%. Internet service providers and network operators are among the first users of the IPv6 protocol. Huge companies such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Telcom, and Comcast have moved to Dual Stack deployments, while Microsoft, CERNET, and T-Mobile have moved to IPv6. Budget, complexity and time are factors to consider before deciding to migrate.

Frequently asked questions (faq)

P1. Is IPv4 still in use?

A: As part of the IPv4 vs. IPv6 debate, you need to know how to use IPv4. As mentioned earlier, IPv4 is on the verge of exhaustion. It is not completely exhausted and is still used due to its compatibility. IPv4 addresses are sold and reused. There is no official exclusion of IPv4 addresses. Although there are changes to IPv6, many sites have upgraded their system management to IPv6.

Q2. What is the difference between DNS and IP?

A: An IP address or Internet Protocol is just a number assigned to a device to connect to the Internet, but DNS is a domain name service that translates an alphabetical name into a website’s IP address. For example, amazon.com is 54.192.0.0/16.

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We hope you found this article helpful and understood the difference between IPv4 and IPv6. You can use the comment box to let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for another topic you’d like us to cover next time.

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