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IPv4 vs IPv6 — 10+ Key Differences

The differences, Aug-04-20225 mins read
A IPv4 vs. IPv6 comparison is common among people who are looking for an efficient internet address. Statistics say that more than 60 percent of the global population uses the Internet medium. These growing Internet users also increase the demand for unique addresses. Another interesting fact is that people usually have more than one device connected to the network. This rapidly increases the internet devices to multiple folds. To handle these unique ID requirements Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) upgraded the IP versions. 

Identifying an individual among millions is not easy unless we have a unique identifier, like contact numbers, identification numbers, or residential addresses that are distinct for each person. In the same way, to identify and communicate with a computer node in the network, we will need an IP address for each system. Here let’s compare and contrast IP addresses through IPv4 vs IPv6 comparisons.

Table of Contents

What Is an IP Address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) is a set of rules to route the data packets to their concerned destination within the network. With these rules, the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) manages and distributes IP addresses to computers. These IP addresses are produced mainly to identify a specific computer in the network and route the messages to the right destination. 

IPv4 vs IPv6

IPv4 vs IPv6 comparisons speaks about the two different versions of IP addresses. Both versions’ main motive is to identify the system and help route data packets from the source to the right destination. They differ in size as IPv4 provides 4,294,967,296 addresses, while IPv6 can provide 2^128 combinations that can exceed 340 trillion addresses. This is 4 billion times higher than IPv4 addresses. The IP addresses hold network ID and host ID where the network ID identifies the network while the host ID denotes the device in that network. 

What Is IPv4?

Though IPv4 is the fourth version of Internet Protocol addressing, this is the most commonly used version now. IPv4 was first deployed in 1983 in ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Agency Network). IPv4 is represented in dot-decimal notation, which has four parts separated by dots or periods. Each part containing 8 bits of the address is known as an octet, so IPv4 is a 32-bit addressing system. Each octet can range from 0 to 255. 

Let us consider the IP address, 49.207.180.7, for example. Computers only understand binary forms, so let’s learn to convert the decimal value to binary forms. 

8-Bit Octet Representation:
1286432168421
4900110001
20711001111
18010110100
700000111

To convert a dot-decimal to binary numbers. Use the structure of 8-bit octet representation that increases, like 2^0, 2^1, 2^2, 2^3, 2^4, 2^5, 2^6, and 2^8 as 1,2,4,8,16,32,64, and 128 respectively. 

  • In this structure, split each number given within the octet. 
  • For example, take 49 from 49.207.180.7. 
  • From the octet structure (1,2,4,8,16,32,64, and 128), take the number nearest to 49.
  • It is 32, so fill 1 in 32. Then, 49-32 = 17.
  • Now find the nearest value of 17.
  • That is 16. So, fill 1 in 16.
  • Then, 17-16=1. So, fill 1 in 1.
  • Fill the rest with 0. 
  • Now the binary value of 49 is (00110001).

Advantages of IPv4

  • IPv4 is compatible with most platforms and is easy to implement in all sorts of topologies.
  • IPv4 encrypts the data in the packets and so they provide peer-level security and privacy to the data.
  • IPv4 ensures high authenticity with the data and routes it to the right destination.

Drawbacks of IPv4

  • Specific countries, like the US, are involved in IP address distribution and reserve most of the IP addresses. 
  • As internet users are increasing day by day, the IPv4 addresses are running out. 
  • Configuring Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is hard to implement as the Dynamic Host Configuration server needs a separate managing system.

What Is IPv6?

IPv6 is the latest and one of the two most popular versions of IP addresses in use. It provides a large address space as it is a 128-bit address scheme. It consists of 8 components and each component is separated by dots or periods and has a 16-bit address. On the whole, the IPv6 address scheme can provide (3.4*10^38), which may be more than 340 trillion addresses. Internet Protocol version 6 came into the picture to resolve the address exhaustion problem in 1998 to replace the IPv4 addresses and increase address availability. The IANA distributed all the IPv4 addresses and they ran out of the fourth version of IP addresses around 2011, which is when IPv6 came into existence.

Here is an example of an IPv6 address:

684D:1101:212:3343:4434:5525:6:87

The Benefits of IPv6:

  • IPv6 provides a wide range of IP addresses to fulfill future demands. 
  • IPv6 can easily be configured in single line command to run on any interface.
  • It provides built-in authentication to improve security, privacy, and data integrity.

Drawbacks of IPv6:

  • Though IPv6 is the latest version, most platforms and computers still use IPv4. So, as of now, it is not compatible with some platforms like VPNs, whereas some proxies do support them.
  • IPv6 does not easily fit in all the network topologies.
  • Domain Name Space lookups are slower in IPv6. These DNS lookups also slow down the system’s functioning.

IPv4 vs IPv6 – Unique Differences

IPv4 vs IPv6
IPv4IPv6
Internet Protocol version 4.Internet Protocol version 6.
32-bit addressing scheme.128-bit addressing scheme.
Provides 2^32 combinations of addresses.Provides 2^128 combinations of addresses.
Represented in dot-decimal notation.Represented in hexadecimal notation.
Numerical addressing.Alpha-numeric addressing.
Provides nearly 4,294,967,296 IP addresses. Can provide 340 trillion trillion trillion IP addresses.
8 bits per group.16 bits per group.
Has 5 different classes Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E.IPv6 does not have any classes.
Supports manual and DHCP configurations.Supports manual, DHCP, auto, and renumbering configurations.
Security features are application dependent.Provides a built-in security feature.
Cannot identify the packet flow.The packet flow can be identified with the flow label in the header.
The minimum packet size is 576 bytes.The minimum packet size is 1208 bytes.
Not compatible with mobile devices.Compatible with mobile devices.
Provides multicast, broadcast, and unicast IP addresses.Provides anycast, unicast, and multicast.

IPv4 vs. IPv6 – Which Is Better?

It is easy to debate Ipv4 vs IPv6 by comparing the good and bad sides of each version, but it is not that easy to point to one of them as the best. People may claim that IPv6 is the best to use because it is the latest version and provides a large scale of IP addresses, but this is not true. Though IPv6 is going to be the future of networking, it is not compatible with many of the platforms and devices that are currently compatible with IPv4. So, they will have to work in parallel with IPv4 to achieve balance and make use of the good sides in both versions. 

The Transition from IPv4 to IPv6

IPv4 and IPv6 are not compatible with each other. So, it is impossible to send requests from IPv4 to IPv6 or vice versa. To resolve this problem, we have a few techniques that can help the users to utilize the content of IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously.

  • Dual-Stack – In this model, a dual-stack router is fixed to both the IP addresses to communicate with all the devices and allows the users to have both versions on the same device.
  • Tunnelling – Here, the IPv4 network communicates with IPv6 using an intermediate network that is connected to the tunnel. The IPv6 devices can use IPv4 using the tunnel and intermediate device to establish an IPv6 network. 
  • Network Address Translation – This technique removes the header of the sender version address and adds a header suitable to the receiver side, so they can communicate with each other.

Proxies for IPv4 and IPv6

IPv4 and IPv6 are the unique address locators of the devices on the network. This eases the communication by routing the message to the destination. But, here comes the problem. Some internet users do not prefer revealing their identity on the network. Still, they need an IP address to send and receive messages. This is where the proxy comes in. 

Proxy servers make use of their own addresses to uniquely identify their customer’s locations. By this proxy, users can stay anonymous in the network and still represent themselves in the network with the proxy address. 

ProxyScrape furnishes high-speed and reliable proxies that can help users scrape unlimited data. They provide proxies that support all versions of Internet Protocol and Socks Protocol. Check out our offers and prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the basic comparisons of  IPV4 vs IPV6?
IPv4 vs IPv6 is the basic comparison that speaks two different versions of the Internet Protocol addresses. Though both types intend to uniquely identify a device in the network, they majorly differ in size. Networking experts came up with an IPv6 version to overcome the address shortage of the IPv4.
2. Which version of IP addressing is better?
IPv6 is the latest version that provides trillions of IP addresses. IPv6 stands better in the case of unlimited addresses, while IPv4 also has its own popularity as most people prefer IPv4. IPv6 is still not well established among the public.
3. Can I change my IP address version from 4 to 6?
The IP address is something the provider furnishes for each device. Still, you can make use of IP version converter tools, where you can convert your IPv4 address to a relevant IPv6 addre

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Closing Thoughts

IPv4 vs IPv6 comparison involves the two most commonly used Internet Protocol addresses versions. These versions uniquely identify and interact with the systems. IPv6 addresses provide a huge number of addresses that can be used in the future as IPv4 is already running out of addresses. However, IPv6 cannot work independently because most of the platforms are configured with IPv4, and IPv4 and IP6 are not compatible with each other.  To fix this incompatibility, people go for techniques like tunneling, Dual-Stack, and Network Address Translation to make the address versions communicate with each other.