IPv4 vs IPv6 – Difference Between Them

Key Differences between IPv4 and IPv6

  • IPv4 is a 32-Bit IP address, whereas IPv6 is a 128-Bit IP address.
  • IPv4 is a numeric addressing method, whereas IPv6 is an alphanumeric addressing method.
  • IPv4 binary bits are separated by a dot(.), whereas IPv6 binary bits are separated by a colon(:).
  • IPv4 offers 12 header fields, whereas IPv6 offers 8 header fields.
  • IPv4 supports broadcast, whereas IPv6 doesn’t support broadcast.
  • IPv4 has checksum fields while IPv6 doesn’t have checksum fields
  • When we compare IPv4 and IPv6, IPv4 supports VLSM (Variable Length Subnet Mask), whereas IPv6 doesn’t support VLSM.
  • IPv4 uses ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address, whereas IPv6 uses NDP (Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address.
IPv4 vs IPv6
IPv4 vs IPv6

What is IP?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the IP protocol for communication. An IP address acts as an identifier for a specific device on a particular network. The IP address is also called an IP number or Internet address.

IP address specifies the technical format of the addressing and packets scheme. Most networks combine IP with a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). It also allows developing a virtual connection between a destination and a source.

Now in this IPv4 and IPv6 difference tutorial, we will learn What is IPv4 and IPv6?

What is IPv4?

IPv4 is an IP version widely used to identify devices on a network using an addressing system. It was the first version of IP deployed for production in the ARPANET in 1983. It uses a 32-bit address scheme to store 2^32 addresses which is more than 4 billion addresses. It is considered the primary Internet Protocol and carries 94% of Internet traffic.

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. This new IP address version is being deployed to fulfill the need for more Internet addresses. It was aimed to resolve issues that are associated with IPv4. With 128-bit address space, it allows 340 undecillion unique address space. IPv6 is also called IPng (Internet Protocol next generation).

Internet Engineer Taskforce initiated it in early 1994. The design and development of that suite are now called IPv6.

Features of IPv4

Following are the features of IPv4:

  • Connectionless Protocol
  • Allow creating a simple virtual communication layer over diversified devices
  • It requires less memory, and ease of remembering addresses
  • Already supported protocol by millions of devices
  • Offers video libraries and conferences

Features of IPv6

Here are the features of IPv6:

  • Hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure
  • Stateful and Stateless configuration
  • Support for quality of service (QoS)
  • An ideal protocol for neighboring node interaction

Differences between IPv4 and IPv6 Addresses

Here is the main difference between IPv4 and IPv6:

Basis for differences IPv4 IPv6
Size of IP address IPv4 is a 32-Bit IP Address. IPv6 is 128 Bit IP Address.
Addressing method IPv4 is a numeric address, and its binary bits are separated by a dot (.) IPv6 is an alphanumeric address whose binary bits are separated by a colon (:). It also contains hexadecimal.
Number of header fields 12 8
Length of header filed 20 40
Checksum Has checksum fields Does not have checksum fields
Example 2001:0db8:0000:0000:0000:ff00:0042:7879
Type of Addresses Unicast, broadcast, and multicast. Unicast, multicast, and anycast.
Number of classes IPv4 offers five different classes of IP Address. Class A to E. lPv6 allows storing an unlimited number of IP Address.
Configuration You have to configure a newly installed system before it can communicate with other systems. In IPv6, the configuration is optional, depending upon on functions needed.
VLSM support IPv4 support VLSM (Variable Length Subnet mask). IPv6 does not offer support for VLSM.
Fragmentation Fragmentation is done by sending and forwarding routes. Fragmentation is done by the sender.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP) RIP is a routing protocol supported by the routed daemon. RIP does not support IPv6. It uses static routes.
Network Configuration Networks need to be configured either manually or with DHCP. IPv4 had several overlays to handle Internet growth, which require more maintenance efforts. IPv6 support autoconfiguration capabilities.
Best feature Widespread use of NAT (Network address translation) devices which allows single NAT address can mask thousands of
non-routable addresses, making end-to-end
integrity achievable.
It allows direct addressing because of vast address
Address Mask Use for the designated network from host portion. Not used.
SNMP SNMP is a protocol used for system management. SNMP does not support IPv6.
Mobility & Interoperability Relatively constrained network topologies to which move restrict mobility and interoperability capabilities. IPv6 provides interoperability and mobility
capabilities which are embedded in network devices.
Security Security is dependent on applications – IPv4 was not designed with security in mind. IPSec(Internet Protocol Security) is built into the IPv6 protocol, usable with
a proper key infrastructure.
Packet size Packet size 576 bytes required, fragmentation optional 1208 bytes required without fragmentation
Packet fragmentation Allows from routers and sending host Sending hosts only
Packet header Does not identify packet flow for QoS handling which includes checksum options. Packet head contains Flow Label field that specifies packet flow for QoS handling
DNS records Address (A) records, maps hostnames Address (AAAA) records, maps hostnames
Address configuration Manual or via DHCP Stateless address autoconfiguration using Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) or DHCPv6
IP to MAC resolution Broadcast ARP Multicast Neighbour Solicitation
Local subnet Group management Internet Group Management Protocol GMP) Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)
Optional Fields Has Optional Fields Does not have optional fields. But Extension headers are available.
IPSec Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) concerning network security is optional Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) Concerning network security is mandatory
Dynamic host configuration Server Clients have approach DHCS (Dynamic Host Configuration server) whenever they want to connect to a network. A Client does not have to approach any such server as they are given permanent addresses.
Mapping Uses ARP(Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address Uses NDP(Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address
Combability with mobile devices IPv4 address uses the dot-decimal notation. That’s why it is not suitable for mobile networks. IPv6 address is represented in hexadecimal, colon- separated notation.
IPv6 is better suited to mobile

IPv4 and IPv6 cannot communicate with other but can exist together on the same network. This is known as Dual Stack.

What is the Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6?

IPv4 & IPv6 are both IP addresses that are binary numbers. IPv4 is a 32-bit binary number, and IPv6 is a 128-bit binary number address. IPv4 addresses are separated by periods, while IPv6 addresses are separated by colons.

Both IP addresses are used to identify machines connected to a network. In principle, they are almost similar, but they are different in how they work.

Is IPv4 or IPv6 better?

IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP), while IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. Therefore, IPv6 is more advanced, secure, and faster compared to IPv4.