IPV4 vs IPV6: Difference and Comparison

The primary difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the standard version of the internet protocol both support. As evident from the names, IPv4 is Internet Protocol version 4, and IPv6 is Internet Protocol version 6.

Internet Protocol, also known as IP, is the principal communications protocol that establishes the internet via transference of datagrams across network boundaries.

Two IP addresses operate it; one is the host source, and the other is the destination address. Both versions of IP principally perform the same function however, they vary in technique.

Key Takeaways

  1. IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, resulting in a limited number of unique IP addresses, while IPv6 utilizes 128-bit addresses, providing a vastly larger address space.
  2. IPv6 improves upon IPv4 by offering built-in security features, better efficiency in routing, and simplified address assignment.
  3. The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is necessary to accommodate the growing number of internet-connected devices and to ensure continued internet functionality.

IPV4 vs IPV6

The difference between IPV4 and IPV6 is that IPv4 is a 32-bit operating scheme that supports 4 billion IP addresses, whereas IPv6 is a 128-bit operating scheme supporting up to 340 undecillion addresses, hence an immense upgrade from IPv4.


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IPV4 vs IPV6

IPv4 is the primary internet networking protocol running 94% of the internet traffic right now. However, it is coming short of IP addresses owing to the constantly increasing demand. IPv6 is developed to make for the shortage of IP addresses.

But it is not just an upgrade in a number of addresses but also in all other networking features and qualities.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonIPv4IPv6
VersionFourth, the first dominantSixth, the latest, most advanced
Addressing System32-bit operating scheme128-bit operating scheme
Address AllocationShort; Numerical binary bits separated by dotsLong; Alphanumeric groups separated by colons
Addressing TypeUnicast, multicast, broadcastUnicast, multicast, anycast
Addressing LimitAddresses are limited to five classes, from A to EUnlimited IP addresses
Address MaskingUses Network Access Translation (NAT) to spread routing from one to manyIt does not require further spreading of addresses due to unlimited address spacing
Routing SystemIPv4 uses RIP, Routing Information Protocol supporting routing daemonIPv6 uses static routes
Network ConfigurationManual configuration or with DHCPAutomatic configuration
System ConfigurationA newly installed system configuration is requiredBased on function, the configuration is optional
Internet Protocol SecurityDoes not have security privilegeHave built-in Internet Protocol Security
Packet Size576 bytes required1208 bytes required
Packet FragmentationFragmentation is optional, permitting from routers and sending hostsFragmentation is not required; permitting only for sending hosts
Local Subnet Group ManagementIPv4 uses Internet Group Management Protocol (GMP)IPv6 uses Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)
MAC Address MappingIPv4 deploys Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to map to MAC AddressIPv6 deploys Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) to map to MAC Address
System ManagementIPv4 uses Simple Network Management ProtocolIPv6 does not use Simple Network Management Protocol
MaintenanceDue to several overlays for internet growth, IPv4 requires regular maintenance.Auto-configuration capability decreases maintenance demands in IPv6.


What is IPV4?

IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol, one of ARPANET’s first dominant standard protocols deployed for production in 1983. It is a 32-bit operating scheme that routes internet connections via a hosting source that transfers datagrams or other data packets to destination IP addresses.

IPv4 runs on binary numerical addresses separated by a dot. Each internet connection has a unique IP address, and IPv4 supports 4 billion such addresses.

IPv4 is a connectionless protocol that creates a virtual communication layer over many different types of devices. The simplicity of its bit operation requires less memory and is more accessible and more user-friendly in function.

It is still considered the most widely used internet protocol, supporting a wide variety of devices and offering audio/video libraries, transfer of documentation and conference communication.


What is IPV6?

IPv6 is the sixth, newest version of the Internet Protocol, established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 1994. It is a 128-bit operating system that identifies the locations for internet networking on computers and directs traffic across internet networks.

IPv6 was developed to overcome the shortage of IP addresses in the previously running IPv4 and supports over 3.4×10^38 addresses. This expansion complicates the unique addressing for each internet-connected device, and hence IP address for IPv6 is a long alphanumeric arrangement of 8 groups separated by colons.

IPv6 is categorized as addressing and routing infrastructure, running on the identification of computer locations in either stateful or stateless configuration. Its hierarchical allocation of addressing facilitates multicasting and provides additional optimization improving the quality of service.


Main Differences Between IPV4 and IPV6

  1. IPv4 is a 32-bit IP system whereas IPv6 is a 128-bit IP system
  2. IPv4 support 4 billion addresses/networks, whereas IPv6 supports 340×10^38 addresses/networks
  3. IPv4 has 12 header fields and checksum fields and supports broadcast, whereas IPv6 has eight header fields, no checksum field and does not support broadcast.
  4. IPv4 is considered less suitable for mobile devices due to its dot-separated binary address, whereas IPv6 is considered mobile-friendly due to its colon-separated hexadecimal alphanumeric address.
  5. IPv4 was not designed with security as a critical factor in mind, whereas IPv6 is designed with built-in Internet Protocol Security with designated vital infrastructure.
  6. IPv4 supports Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM) and is manually configured, whereas IPv6 does support VLSM and is also automatically configured.  
Difference Between IPV4 and IPV6
  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.17487/RFC2474
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6380492/
  3. https://ece3115.elimu.net/Notes/IP/Comparison%20study%20between%20IPV4%20and%20IPV6.pdf
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