IPv4 vs IPv6: Understanding the Differences and Looking Ahead
As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow exponentially, more devices connect online daily. There has been fear that, at some point, addresses would just run out. This conjecture is starting to come true.
Have no fear; the Internet is not coming to an end. There is a solution to the problem of diminishing IPv4 addresses. We will provide information on how more addresses can be created, and outline the main issues that need to be tackled to keep up with the growth of IoT by adopting IPv6.
We also examine how Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) vs. Internet Protocol 4 (IPv4) plays an important role in the Internet’s future and evolution, and how the newer version of the IP is superior to older IPv4.
How an IP Address Works
IP stands for “Internet Protocol, ” referring to a set of rules which govern how data packets are transmitted across the Internet.
Information online or traffic flows across networks using unique addresses. Every device connected to the Internet or computer network gets a numerical label assigned to it, an IP address that is used to identify it as a destination for communication.
Your IP identifies your device on a particular network. It’s I. D. in a technical format for networks that combine IP with a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and enables virtual connections between a source and destination. Without a unique IP address, your device couldn’t attempt communication.
IP addresses standardize the way different machines interact with each other. They trade data packets, which refer to encapsulated bits of data that play a crucial part in loading webpages, emails, instant messaging, and other applications which involve data transfer.
Several components allow traffic to flow across the Internet. At the point of origin, data is packaged into an envelope when the traffic starts. This process is referred to as a “datagram. ” It is a packet of data and part of the Internet Protocol or IP.
A full network stack is required to transport data across the Internet. The IP is just one part of that stack. The stack can be broken down into four layers, with the Application component at the top and the Datalink at the bottom.
Application – HTTP, FTP, POP3, SMTPTransport – TCP, UDPNetworking – IP, ICMPDatalink – Ethernet, ARP
As a user of the Internet, you’re probably quite familiar with the application layer. It’s one that you interact with daily. Anytime you want to visit a website; you type in [web address], which is the Application.
Are you using an email application? At some point then, you would have set up an email account in that application, and likely came across POP3 or SMTP during the configuration process. POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol 3 and is a standard method of receiving an email. It collects and retains email for you until picked up.
From the above stack, you can see that the IP is part of the networking layer. IPs came into existence back in 1982 as part of ARPANET. IPv1 through IPv3 were experimental versions. IPv4 is the first version of IP used publicly, the world over.
IPv4 or Internet Protocol Version 4 is a widely used protocol in data communication over several kinds of networks. It is the fourth revision of the Internet protocol. It was developed as a connectionless protocol for using in packet-switched layer networks like Ethernet. Its primary responsibility is to provide logical connections between network devices, which includes providing identification for every device.
IPv4 is based on the best-effort model, which guarantees neither delivery nor avoidance of a duplicate delivery and is hired by the upper layer transport protocol, such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). IPv4 is flexible and can automatically or manually be configured with a range of different devices depending on the type of network.
Technology Behind IPv4
IPv4 is both specified and defined in the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) publication RFC 791, used in the packet-switched link layer in OSI models. It uses a total of five classes of 32-bit addresses for Ethernet communication: A, B, C, D, and E. Of these, classes A, B, and C have a different bit length for dealing with network hosts, while Class D is used for multi-casting. The remaining Class E is reserved for future use.
Subnet Mask of Class A – 255. 0. 0 or /8
Subnet Mask of Class B – 255. 255. 0 or /16
Subnet Mask of Class C – 255. 0 or /24
Example: The Network 192. 168. 0 with a /16 subnet mask can use addresses ranging from 192. 0 to 192. It’s important to note that the address 192. 255 is reserved only for broadcasting within the users. Here, the IPv4 can assign host addresses to a maximum of 232 end users.
IP addresses follow a standard, decimal notation format:
171. 30. 2. 5
The above number is a unique 32-bit logical address. This setup means there can be up to 4. 3 billion unique addresses. Each of the four groups of numbers are 8 bits. Every 8 bits are called an octet. Each number can range from 0 to 255. At 0, all bits are set to 0. At 255, all bits are set to 1. The binary form of the above IP address is 10101011. 00011110. 00000010. 00000101.
Even with 4. 3 billion possible addresses, that’s not nearly enough to accommodate all of the currently connected devices. Device types are far more than just desktops. Now there are smartphones, hotspots, IoT, smart speakers, cameras, etc. The list keeps proliferating as technology progresses, and in turn, so do the number of devices.
Future of IPv4
IPv4 addresses are set to finally run out, making IPv6 deployment the only viable solution left for the long-term growth of the Internet. I
n October 2019, RIPE NCC, one of five Regional Internet Registries, which is responsible for assigning IP addresses to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in over 80 nations, announced that only one million IPv4 addresses were left. Due to these limitations, IPv6 has been introduced as a standardized solution offering a 128-bit address length that can define up to 2128 nodes.
Recovered addresses will only be assigned via a waiting list. And that means only a couple hundred thousand addresses can be allotted per year, which is not nearly enough to cover the several million that global networks require today. The consequences are that network tools will be forced to rely on expensive and complicated solutions to work around the problem of fewer available addresses. The countdown to zero addresses means enterprises world-wide have to take stock of IP resources, find interim solutions, and prepare for IPv6 deployment, to overcome the inevitable outage.
In the interim, one popular solution to bridge over to IPv6 deployment is Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT). This technology allows for the prolongated use of IPv4 addresses. It does so by allowing a single IP address to be distributed across thousands of devices. It only plugs the hole in the meantime as CGNAT cannot scale indefinitely. Every added device creates another layer on NAT, that increases its workload and complexity, and thereby raises the chances of a CGNAT failing. When this happens, thousands of users are impacted and cannot be quickly put back online.
One more commonly-used workaround is IPv4 address trading. This is a market for selling and buying IPv4 addresses that are no longer needed or used. It’s a risky play since prices are dictated by supply and demand, and it can become a complicated and expensive process to maintain the status quo.
IPv4 scarcity remains a massive concern for network operators. The Internet won’t break, but it is at a breaking point since networks will only find it harder and harder to scale infrastructure for growth. IPv4 exhaustion goes back to 2012 when the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allotted the last IPv4 addresses to RIPE NCC. The long-anticipated run-out has been planned for by the technical community, and that’s where IPv6 comes in.
How Is IPv6 Different?
Internet Protocol Version 6 or IPv6 is the newest version of Internet Protocol used for carrying data in packets from one source to a destination via various networks. IPv6 is considered as an enhanced version of the older IPv4 protocol, as it supports a significantly larger number of nodes than the latter.
IPv6 allows up to 2128 possible combinations of nodes or addresses. It is also referred to as the Internet Protocol Next Generation or IPng. It was first developed in the hexadecimal format, containing eight octets to provide more substantial scalability. Released on June 6, 2012, it was also designed to deal with address broadcasting without including broadcast addresses in any class, the same as its predecessor.
Comparing Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6
Now that you know more about IPv4 and IPv6 in detail, we can summarize the differences between these two protocols in a table. Each has its deficits and benefits to offer.
Points of DifferenceIPV4IPV6Compatibility with Mobile DevicesAddresses use of dot-decimal notations, which make it less suitable for mobile dresses use hexadecimal colon-separated notations, which make it better suited to handle mobile ppingAddress Resolution Protocol is used to map to MAC ighbor Discovery Protocol is used to map to MAC Address. Dynamic Host Configuration ServerWhen connecting to a network, clients are required to approach Dynamic Host Configuration ients are given permanent addresses and are not required to contact any particular ternet Protocol SecurityIt is is mandatory. Optional FieldsPresentAbsent. Extension headers are available Subnet Group ManagementUses Internet Group Management Protocol or Multicast Listener Discovery or to MAC resolutionFor Broadcasting Multicast Neighbor dress ConfigurationIt is done manually or via uses stateless address autoconfiguration using the Internet Control Message Protocol or RecordsRecords are in Address (A). Records are in Address (AAAA) HeaderPacket flow for QoS handling is not identified. This includes checksum Label Fields specify packet flow for QoS Fragmentation Packet Fragmentation is allowed from routers when sending to sending to hosts SizeThe minimum packet size is 576 mum packet size 1208 curityIt depends mostly on its own Security protocol called bility and InteroperabilityNetwork topologies are relatively constrained, which restricts mobility and interoperability. IPv6 provides mobility and interoperability capabilities which are embedded in network devicesSNMPSupport dress MaskIt is used for the designated network from the host UsedAddress FeaturesNetwork Address Translation is used, which allows a single NAT address to mask thousands of non-routable Addressing is possible because of the vast address nfiguration the NetworkNetworks are configured either manually or with has autoconfiguration uting Information ProtocolSupports RIP routing protocol. IPv6 does not support RIP routing agmentationIt’s done by forwarding and sending is done only by the rtual Length Subnet Mask SupportSupports pport not nfigurationTo communicate with other systems, a newly installed system must be configured nfiguration is of ClassesFive Different Classes, from A to allows an unlimited number of IP Addresses to be of AddressesMulticast, Broadcast, and UnicastAnycast, Unicast, and MulticastChecksum FieldsHas checksum fields, example: 12. 243. 233. 165Not presentLength of Header Filed2040Number of Header fields128Address MethodIt is a numeric is an alphanumeric of Address32 Bit IP Address128 Bit IP Address
Pros and Cons of Using IPv6
IPv6 addresses have all the technical shortcomings present in IPv4. The difference is that it offers a 128 bit or 16-byte address, making the address pool around 340 trillion trillion trillion (undecillion).
It’s significantly larger than the address size provided by IPv4 since it’s made up of eight groups of characters, which are 16 bits long. The sheer size underlines why networks should adopt IPv6 sooner rather than later. Yet making a move so far has been a tough sell. Network operators find working with IPv4 familiar and are probably using a ‘wait and see’ approach to decide how to handle their IP situation. They might think they have enough IPv4 addresses for the near future. But sticking with IPv4 will get progressively harder to do so.
An example of the advantage of IPv6 over IPv4 is not having to share an IP and getting a dedicated address for your devices. Using IPv4 means a group of computers that want to share a single public IP will need to use a NAT. Then to access one of these computers directly, you will need to set up complex configurations such as port forwarding and firewall alterations. In comparison to IPv6, which has plenty of addresses to go around, IPv6 computers can be accessed publicly without additional configurations, saving resources.
Future of IPv6 Adoption
The future adoption of IPv6 largely depends on the number of ISPs and mobile carriers, along with large enterprises, cloud providers, and data centers willing to migrate, and how they will migrate their data. IPv4 and IPv6 can coexist on parallel networks. So, there are no significant incentives for entities such as ISPs to vigorously pursue IPv6 options instead of IPv4, especially since it costs a considerable amount of time and money to upgrade.
Despite the price tag, the digital world is slowly moving away from the older IPv4 model into the more efficient IPv6. The long-term benefits outlined in this article that IPv6 provides are worth the investment.
Adoption still has a long way to go, but only it allows for new possibilities for network configurations on a massive scale. It’s efficient and innovative, not to forget it reduces dependency on the increasingly challenging and expensive IPv4 market.
Not preparing for the move is short-sighted and risky for networks. Smart businesses are embracing the efficiency, innovation, and flexibility of IPv6 right now. Be ready for exponential Internet growth and next-generation technologies as they come online and enhance your business.
Goran JevticGoran combines his leadership skills and passion for research, writing, and technology as a Technical Writing Team Lead at phoenixNAP. Working with multiple departments and on various projects, he has developed an extraordinary understanding of cloud and virtualization technology trends and best practices.
IPv4 vs IPv6 – javatpoint
What is IP?
An IP stands for internet protocol. An IP address is assigned to each device connected to a network. Each device uses an IP address for communication. It also behaves as an identifier as this address is used to identify the device on a network. It defines the technical format of the packets. Mainly, both the networks, i. e., IP and TCP, are combined together, so together, they are referred to as a TCP/IP. It creates a virtual connection between the source and the destination.
We can also define an IP address as a numeric address assigned to each device on a network. An IP address is assigned to each device so that the device on a network can be identified uniquely. To facilitate the routing of packets, TCP/IP protocol uses a 32-bit logical address known as IPv4(Internet Protocol version 4).
An IP address consists of two parts, i. e., the first one is a network address, and the other one is a host address.
There are two types of IP addresses:
What is IPv4?
IPv4 is a version 4 of IP. It is a current version and the most commonly used IP address. It is a 32-bit address written in four numbers separated by ‘dot’, i. e., periods. This address is unique for each device.
For example, 66. 94. 29. 13
The above example represents the IP address in which each group of numbers separated by periods is called an Octet. Each number in an octet is in the range from 0-255. This address can produce 4, 294, 967, 296 possible unique addresses.
In today’s computer network world, computers do not understand the IP addresses in the standard numeric format as the computers understand the numbers in binary form only. The binary number can be either 1 or 0. The IPv4 consists of four sets, and these sets represent the octet. The bits in each octet represent a number.
Each bit in an octet can be either 1 or 0. If the bit the 1, then the number it represents will count, and if the bit is 0, then the number it represents does not count.
Representation of 8 Bit Octet
The above representation shows the structure of 8- bit octet.
Now, we will see how to obtain the binary representation of the above IP address, i. e., 66. 13
Step 1: First, we find the binary number of 66.
To obtain 66, we put 1 under 64 and 2 as the sum of 64 and 2 is equal to 66 (64+2=66), and the remaining bits will be zero, as shown above. Therefore, the binary bit version of 66 is 01000010.
Step 2: Now, we calculate the binary number of 94.
To obtain 94, we put 1 under 64, 16, 8, 4, and 2 as the sum of these numbers is equal to 94, and the remaining bits will be zero. Therefore, the binary bit version of 94 is 01011110.
Step 3: The next number is 29.
To obtain 29, we put 1 under 16, 8, 4, and 1 as the sum of these numbers is equal to 29, and the remaining bits will be zero. Therefore, the binary bit version of 29 is 00011101.
Step 4: The last number is 13.
To obtain 13, we put 1 under 8, 4, and 1 as the sum of these numbers is equal to 13, and the remaining bits will be zero. Therefore, the binary bit version of 13 is 00001101.
Drawback of IPv4
Currently, the population of the world is 7. 6 billion. Every user is having more than one device connected with the internet, and private companies also rely on the internet. As we know that IPv4 produces 4 billion addresses, which are not enough for each device connected to the internet on a planet. Although the various techniques were invented, such as variable- length mask, network address translation, port address translation, classes, inter-domain translation, to conserve the bandwidth of IP address and slow down the depletion of an IP address. In these techniques, public IP is converted into a private IP due to which the user having public IP can also use the internet. But still, this was not so efficient, so it gave rise to the development of the next generation of IP addresses, i. e., IPv6.
What is IPv6?
IPv4 produces 4 billion addresses, and the developers think that these addresses are enough, but they were wrong. IPv6 is the next generation of IP addresses. The main difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the address size of IP addresses. The IPv4 is a 32-bit address, whereas IPv6 is a 128-bit hexadecimal address. IPv6 provides a large address space, and it contains a simple header as compared to IPv4.
It provides transition strategies that convert IPv4 into IPv6, and these strategies are as follows:
Dual stacking: It allows us to have both the versions, i. e., IPv4 and IPv6, on the same device.
Tunneling: In this approach, all the users have IPv6 communicates with an IPv4 network to reach IPv6.
Network Address Translation: The translation allows the communication between the hosts having a different version of IP.
This hexadecimal address contains both numbers and alphabets. Due to the usage of both the numbers and alphabets, IPv6 is capable of producing over 340 undecillion (3. 4*1038) addresses.
IPv6 is a 128-bit hexadecimal address made up of 8 sets of 16 bits each, and these 8 sets are separated by a colon. In IPv6, each hexadecimal character represents 4 bits. So, we need to convert 4 bits to a hexadecimal number at a time
The address format of IPv4:
The address format of IPv6:
The above diagram shows the address format of IPv4 and IPv6. An IPv4 is a 32-bit decimal address. It contains 4 octets or fields separated by ‘dot’, and each field is 8-bit in size. The number that each field contains should be in the range of 0-255. Whereas an IPv6 is a 128-bit hexadecimal address. It contains 8 fields separated by a colon, and each field is 16-bit in size.
Differences between IPv4 and IPv6
IPv4 is a 32-bit address.
IPv6 is a 128-bit address.
IPv4 is a numeric address that consists of 4 fields which are separated by dot (. ).
IPv6 is an alphanumeric address that consists of 8 fields, which are separated by colon.
IPv4 has 5 different classes of IP address that includes Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E.
IPv6 does not contain classes of IP addresses.
Number of IP address
IPv4 has a limited number of IP addresses.
IPv6 has a large number of IP addresses.
It supports VLSM (Virtual Length Subnet Mask). Here, VLSM means that Ipv4 converts IP addresses into a subnet of different sizes.
It does not support VLSM.
It supports manual and DHCP configuration.
It supports manual, DHCP, auto-configuration, and renumbering.
It generates 4 billion unique addresses
It generates 340 undecillion unique addresses.
End-to-end connection integrity
In IPv4, end-to-end connection integrity is unachievable.
In the case of IPv6, end-to-end connection integrity is achievable.
In IPv4, security depends on the application. This IP address is not developed in keeping the security feature in mind.
In IPv6, IPSEC is developed for security purposes.
In IPv4, the IP address is represented in decimal.
In IPv6, the representation of the IP address in hexadecimal.
Fragmentation is done by the senders and the forwarding routers.
Fragmentation is done by the senders only.
Packet flow identification
It does not provide any mechanism for packet flow identification.
It uses flow label field in the header for the packet flow identification.
The checksum field is available in IPv4.
The checksum field is not available in IPv6.
IPv4 is broadcasting.
On the other hand, IPv6 is multicasting, which provides efficient network operations.
Encryption and Authentication
It does not provide encryption and authentication.
It provides encryption and authentication.
Number of octets
It consists of 4 octets.
It consists of 8 fields, and each field contains 2 octets. Therefore, the total number of octets in IPv6 is 16.
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Differences between IPv4 and IPv6 – Linksys Official Support
The Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is a protocol for use on packet-switched Link Layer networks (e. g. Ethernet). IPv4 provides an addressing capability of approximately 4. 3 billion addresses.
The Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is more advanced and has better features compared to IPv4. It has the capability to provide an infinite number of addresses. It is replacing IPv4 to accommodate the growing number of networks worldwide and help solve the IP address exhaustion problem.
One of the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 is the appearance of the IP addresses. IPv4 uses four 1 byte decimal numbers, separated by a dot (i. e. 192. 168. 1. 1), while IPv6 uses hexadecimal numbers that are separated by colons (i. fe80::d4a8:6435:d2d8:d9f3b11).
Below is the summary of the differences between the IPv4 and IPv6:
IPv4IPv6No. of bits on IP Address32128FormatdecimalhexadecimalCapable of Addresses4. 3 billioninfinite numberHow to ping ping
Advantages of IPv6 over IPv4:
IPv6 simplified the router’s task compared to IPv4. IPv6 is more compatible to mobile networks than IPv4. IPv6 allows for bigger payloads than what is allowed in IPv4. IPv6 is used by less than 1% of the networks, while IPv4 is still in use by the remaining 99%.
Checking the computer’s IPv6 AddressHow to verify if your system is capable of IPv6 connectivityLinksys devices that support IPv6
Frequently Asked Questions about ipv4 or ipv6 address
What is IPv4 and IPv6 address?
IPv6 is the next generation of IP addresses. The main difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the address size of IP addresses. The IPv4 is a 32-bit address, whereas IPv6 is a 128-bit hexadecimal address. IPv6 provides a large address space, and it contains a simple header as compared to IPv4.
Should I be on IPv4 or IPv6?
The Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is a protocol for use on packet-switched Link Layer networks (e.g. Ethernet). … The Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is more advanced and has better features compared to IPv4. It has the capability to provide an infinite number of addresses.
Which is faster IPv4 or IPv6?
IPv6 Speed – Web and cloud services provider, Akamai, measured the speed of IPv6 vs. IPv4. They found, “Sites load 5% faster in median and 15% faster for the 95% percentile on IPv6 compared to IPv4.”Aug 18, 2020