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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%.
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Everything You Need to Know About IPv4 vs. IPv6
The “IP” in IPv4 and IPv6 stands for Internet Protocol, which is a set of rules that determine how devices transmit data packets across the Internet. Internet Protocol also assigns a unique address to each device on the web. These addresses ensure data packets are routed to the correct device.
What is IPv4?
IPv4 or Internet Protocol Version 4 is the most common protocol for transmitting data packets on the web. IPv4 provides both the identification (IP addresses) for each device on the Internet and the rules that govern how data packets are transmitted between those devices.
With IPv4, a typical IP address has 32 bits and is in dotted-decimal form, like this:
192. 0. 2. 235
Because there are only 232 unique hosts in this decimal format, there are only about 4. 3 billion IPv4 addresses.
What is IPv6?
There’s been a massive increase in devices connected to the Internet in the last decade—with a rise from 5 Internet devices per household to 50 Internet devices per household from 2015 to 2020. This prompted the Internet Engineering Tracking Taskforce (IETF) to create a new Internet protocol, IPv6. It was released in December 1998.
IPv6 addresses are written in hexadecimal format, like this:
The Pros of IPv4 vs. IPv6
Despite IPv6 being the newer, updated IP, there are still many advantages of IPv4.
Existing infrastructure – Most websites use IPv4, even those that also support IPv6. This makes version four a more seamless experience. That is, until most of the Internet switches to version six.
Simplicity – IPv4’s 32-bit dotted decimal is much smaller and simpler than IPv6’s hexadecimal numbers. This simplicity is easier for humans to read.
Support – Because most traffic is still using IPv4, Network operators find IPv4 familiar. They may wait until more traffic is IPv6 before they make any decisions about their own infrastructure—especially if they have enough IPv4 addresses for the near future.
The Cons of IPv4 vs. IPv6
Running short on IPv4 addresses isn’t the only con of version four.
Exhaustion of IPv4 – As we’ve covered, the world is short on IPv4 addresses. This means there’s a cost to buy IPv4 addresses, where IPv6 addresses can be had (in unimaginable quantities) for the cost of registration with a regional registry (RIR). You also pay registry costs with IPv4.
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. ”
Network Address Translation (NAT) for IPv4 – NAT allows a group of devices (usually 10-20) that share a single public IP with IPv4. This requires complex configurations like forwarding and firewall alterations. Because IPv6 has so many addresses, IPv6 devices don’t require additional configuration.
Understanding the IPv4 market
The pros of IPv4, combined with the lack of addresses, created a new marketplace. Today, companies that need IPv4 addresses can buy them through IPv4 Brokers, or a company looking to move to IPv6 can sell IPv4 addresses.
When a company needs more IP addresses, they have three options:
Buy IPv4 addresses – That’s what is here for. Companies can also sell their IPv4 addresses if they’re beginning to deploy IPv6.
Use NAT – As mentioned above, NAT allows one address to be shared among many devices. However, NAT still requires one IPv4 address (usually one per 10-20 people). This has some drawbacks, namely speed issues as packets have to transition paths.
Deploy IPv6 – A business can deploy IPv6, but this may be of limited usefulness until most traffic is also on IPv6. So, even if a business deploys IPv6, it still needs more IPv4 addresses or NAT.
There’s much debate around which is better—IPv4 or IPv6. But really, it’s about your specific needs. If you’d like more information on the differences between IPv4 vs. IPv6, or if you’re looking for help with either, please reach out to us today.
Should I use IPv6 only or both IPv4 and IPv6 in my web server?
You should use both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
Nearly everyone on the Internet currently has an IPv4 address, or is behind a NAT of some kind, and can access IPv4 resources.
However, at the time of writing only about 0. 7% 2. 3% 3. 8% 6. 5% 9% 12% 19% 22% 26% 32% of the Internet is IPv6 capable, but that number is steadily growing as IPv6 begins to roll out worldwide.
In a very few places, ISPs are providing primarily IPv6 or only IPv6 to residential customers and using large scale NAT, NAT64 or other such solutions for IPv4 connectivity. This number is expected to grow as IPv4 address space is finally exhausted. These users will typically have better performance over IPv6.
Where ISPs have deployed large scale NAT to solve IPv4 exhaustion, users stuck with this will suffer reduced reliability of all their Internet connections due to the connection limits inherent in the large scale NAT gateways. For instance, a web page might only load some but not all of its resources, leaving broken icons where images should be, missing styles and scripts, etc. This is similar to connection limit exhaustion on a home router, but affecting all users of the ISP intermittently and seemingly randomly. If you want your site to be reliable for these users, you must serve it via IPv6 (and the ISP must have deployed IPv6).
Since IPv6 is where the Internet is going, having your web site IPv6 enabled now puts you ahead of the game and lets you resolve any problems long before they become serious.
By default with Linux and nginx, you can bind to both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time by changing your listen directives to:
Or, for SSL sites:
listen [::]:443 ssl;
listen 443 ssl;
Frequently Asked Questions about which is better ipv4 or ipv6
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
Should I use IPv4 or IPv6?
You should use both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Nearly everyone on the Internet currently has an IPv4 address, or is behind a NAT of some kind, and can access IPv4 resources.