IPv4 Vs IPv6 : What’s the difference?

ipv4 vs ipv6

IP is a short form of Internet Protocol. ipv4 vs ipv6

Internet Protocol (IP) address acts as an identifier for a particular machine on a specific network. The IP address tells us the technical format of the addressing scheme. Before digging more about what is the actual difference between ipv4 vs ipv6, lets have a look at the IP address.

What is an IP Address?

An IP address has two primary roles:

  1. It has to host or network interface identification.
  2. It has to do the location addressing.

According to Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), an IP address is a 32-bit number. However, because of many reasons such as the growth of the Internet and the depletion of available IPv4 addresses, a new version of IP (IPv6), using 128 bits for the IP address, was standardized in 1998. IPv6 has been in use since the mid-2000s.


The IANA manages the IP address space worldwide. It does so by the five regional Internet registries (RIRs), which are responsible for their designated territories. These are responsible for assignment to local Internet registries, like the Internet service providers, and many other such end-users.ipv4 vs ipv6

The IANA initially gave iPv4 addresses to the RIRs in blocks (approximately 16.8 million addresses each). But they exhausted at the IANA level since 2011. As per my knowledge, only one of the RIRs still has a supply for local assignments in Africa. Some of the IPv4 addresses have now been reserved for some private networks and are thus they are not globally unique.

It is the work of the network administrators to assign an IP address to each device connected to a network. The choice of the administrator to have the assignments as static (fixed or permanent) or dynamic basis. It depends on their network practices and software features.

IP versions

There are two versions of the Internet Protocol, which are generally in everyday use on the Internet today. The older and original version of the Internet Protocol, which was first brought into use in 1983 in the ARPANET, is Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4).

IPv4 address space was used so excessively for assignment to end-user organizations and the Internet service providers by the starting of 1990. Because of this, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) had to explore new technologies to expand the addressing capability on the Internet.

That massacre led to the redesign of the Internet Protocol. It eventually came to be known as Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) in 1995.

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Now, in today’s date, these two different versions of the Internet Protocol are used simultaneously. Among all other technical changes which the world has been through, each version defines the format of addresses differently.

IP address assignment

IP addresses are basically given to a host in two ways:

  1. First is dynamical as they join the network.
  2. Second is persistently by the configuration of the host hardware or software.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol has now become the most frequently used technology for assigning addresses to the devices.

Using this protocol, we can avoid the heavy burden of assigning static addresses to every device on a network. Using this, we can also allow devices to share the limited address space that we have on a system.

What is IPv4?

Its primary function is to identify the devices on a network with the help of an addressing system.

This version of IP uses a 32-bit address scheme, which allows it to store 2^32 addresses ( which is more than 4 billion addresses ).

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP). An Internet Engineer Taskforce started with it in the 1994s. After the design and development, it is now called IPv6.

It has a 128-bit address space, unlike IPv4, which has only 32-bit address space, so it allows 340 undecillion unique address space. IPv6 is sometimes also called IPng (Internet Protocol next generation).

Features of IPv4

  • It is a connectionless protocol.
  • It allows creating a simple virtual communication layer over different devices.
  • Needs very little memory and also eases the process of remembering addresses.
  • It is already a supported protocol by millions of devices worldwide.
  • It also offers video libraries and conferences.

Features of IPv6

  • It has a hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure.
  • It has a stateful and stateless configuration.
  • Supports the quality of service (QoS)
  • It is an ideal protocol for neighboring node interaction.

The Benefits of IPv6

  • Now, no more NAT (Network Address Translation) is required.
  • Now, users get auto-configuration, which makes it super easy.
  •  no more separate address collisions will be there.
  • Now, better multicast routing will be there.
  • Now, a more straightforward header format will be there.
  • The simplified, more efficient path will be there.
  • Now, the actual quality of service (QoS), also called “flow labeling,” will be there.
  • Built-in authentication and privacy support will be there.
  • Now, flexible options and extensions will be there.
  • Now, easier administration (say good-bye to DHCP) will be there.

How Do IPv4 and IPv6 Work?

  • The classification of 128-bits in the IPv6 address is as follows: eight 16-bit hexadecimal blocks separated by colons. For example, 2dfc:0:0:0:0217:abcd:fe8c:0.
  • IPv6 requires sub-netting to adjust the network sizes with a given address space assignment.
  • IPv4 uses class-type address space for multicast use ( IPv6 also requires an integrated address space for multicast.
  • IPv4 requires a broadcast address that usually forces each device to stop and look at packets. IPv6 uses multicast groups.
  • IPv4 treats as an unspecified address, and also uses class-type address ( for loopback. IPv6 uses:: and::1 as unspecified and loopback address, respectively.
  • IPv4 also uses globally unique public addresses for private and traffic addresses.
  • IPv6 also uses globally unique uncast addresses and local addresses.
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Let’s compare IPv4 VSIPv6?

In principles, they both are the same. They only differ in the ways of their work.

  1. IPv4 is a 32-bit address space, whereas IPv6 is 128-bit address space.
  2. In IPv4, the addresses are separated by dots, whereas in IPv6, the lectures are separated by colons.
  3. IPv4 is binary bits, whereas IPv6 also has hexadecimal.
  4. IPv4 has 12 header fields, whereas IPv6 has eight header fields.
  5. In IPv4, the length of the header field is 20, whereas it is 40 in IPv6.
  6. IPv4 has checksum fields, whereas IPv6 doesn’t have checksum fields.
  7. IPv4 offers five classes of IP addressing ( A to E ) whereas IPv6 offers storage of unlimited numbers of IP addresses.
  8. For configuration of IPv4, we need to configure a newly installed system before it can communicate with other systems, whereas in IPv6, the configuration is optional.
  9. IPv4 supports a Virtual length subnet mask (VLSM), whereas IPv6 does not support it.
  10. IPv4 has several overlays, and thus they require more maintenance. IPv6 has capabilities of autoconfiguration.
  11. The best feature of IPv4 is that it gives a widespread use of NAT devices ( Network Address Translation ). In this single NAT address can mask thousands of non – routable addresses. It makes end-to-end integrity achievable. The best feature of IPv6 is that it allows direct addressing because of the vast address space.
  12. IPv4 uses address resolution protocol (ARP) to map itself to the MAC addresses, whereas IPv6 uses neighbor discovery protocol (NDP) to map itself to the MAC addresses.
  13. When using IPv4, clients have a DHCS (dynamic host configuration server ) whenever they want to connect to a network. When using IPv6, a client does not require approaching any server as they have been given permanent addresses.


  1. In IPv4, IPSec ( Internet protocol security ) is optional, whereas network security is mandatory when using IPv6.
  2. IPv4 has optional fields, whereas IPv6 does not have optional fields. Although extension headers are available in IPv6.
  3. On the other hand, the IPv6 packet head contains a flow label field that specifies packet flow for QoS handling.
  4. In IPv4, DNS records are Address (A) records, which maps hostnames, on the other hand, in IPv6, DNS records are Address (AAAA) records, which maps hostnames.

So, it was all about ipv4, ipv6 and the difference between ipv4 vs ipv6.

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