Difference Between IPV4 and IPV6

The basic difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the standard version of the internet protocol both are supporting. Evident from the names, IPv4 is the Internet Protocol version 4 and IPv6 is the 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.

It is operated by two IP addresses, 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.

IPV4 vs IPV6

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

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 Between IPV4 and IPV6 (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonIPv4IPv6
VersionFourth, first dominantSixth, 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 limited to five classes; from A to EUnlimited IP addresses
Address MaskingUses Network Access Translation (NAT) to spread routing from one to manyDoes 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 ConfigurationNewly installed system configuration is requiredBased on function, configuration is optional
Internet Protocol SecurityDoes not have security privilegeHave built-in Internet Protocol Secutiry
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 maintenanceAuto-configuration capability decreases maintenance demands in IPv6


What is IPV4?

IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol, one of the first dominant standard protocol that was deployed for production in 1983 by ARPANET.

It is a 32bit 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 easier and more user friendly in function.

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


What is IPV6?

IPv6 is the sixth, newest version of the Internet Protocol, established by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 1994. It is a 128bit 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 connection device and hence IP address for IPv6 is a long alphanumeric arrangement of 8 groups separated by colons.

IPv6 is categorized 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 field, checksum fields and supports broadcast whereas IPv6 has 8 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 key factor in mind whereas IPv6 is designed with built-in Internet Protocol Security with designated key 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



Post its upgrade to Draft Standard by IETF, in 2017, IPv6 was identified to be the Internet Standard and is envisioned to replace IPv4 universally.

Although the key purpose of the development of IPv6 was to enable widespread networking because IPv4, being used for a number of years, has limited addresses left available.

With the rapid increase in networking options and the use of the internet on all kinds of devices, the demand for IP addresses has increased exponentially over the last couple of decades.

Other than the vast expansion in the available addressing in the IPv6, it also provides hierarchical address allocation methods that are enabling route aggregation across the internet.

This method has reduced the expansion of routing tables and simplified the delivery of internet service across the world networks.

Thus a shift is required. Although the two systems are not designed to be interoperable, due to which shifting from IPv4 to IPv6 is still complex but with the advancement in internet configurations, a variety of transition methods are being developed to ease this move.

Key Differences Between IPV4 and IPV6 (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

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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