IPv4 vs IPv6 – What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?
The internet is large with different streams of communication. An IP address is one of the ways devices communicate or connect to a network through the IP protocol. An IP (Internet Protocol) address, also called an Internet address or IP number, is an identifier or label given to any device connected to a network. The IP protocol is used to communicate between the device and the computer network. The identifier or label can be numerical or alphanumeric.
The specific function of an IP address is to identify a specific device to a particular network. The IP address also functions to specify the technical format of addressing the device to the network. Combining IP with TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) helps for better communication and connection between a specific device and a network, which allows the development of the virtual connection between the sender and the receiver. However, there are two versions of IP; these versions determine the features, speed, and routing efficiency that keeps your internet working.
What is IPv4?
IPv4, Internet Protocol version 4, is the fourth Internet Protocol version. IPv4 is also the first version used on SATNET and ARPANET production. IPv4 has been in existence since 1983, and up until now, it has been used for routing internet traffic. Despite newer development in internet protocols, IPv4 is still relevant in its usage.
IPv4 is the technology used to connect devices to the internet and a unique numerical IP address to allow a device to freely access the internet. The IPv4 format is in a dotted-decimal or dotted quad, x.x.x.x. However, each x should have a value between 0 and 225. An example of an IPv4 address is 192.168.1.1. The communication between devices is done when the data packet is transferred via the network using IP addresses.
One of the features of IPv4 is that it uses 32-bit for its internet addresses. The address space of IPv4 uses a unique address of 4,294,967,296 (232) with the reservation of large blocks for exceptional networking. The number of individual hosts in the address space is limited to 232, which is about 4.3 billion ipv4 addresses for people to use.
Parts of Internet Protocol Version 4
Network PartThis part in the IPv4 demonstrates the specific range assigned to a network. This part of the IPv4 address simultaneously identifies the given network group.
Host PartThe IPv4 host part is assigned to every host, and it is responsible for identifying the machine on your network. In other words, the network part remains the same on each host on the network but varies if it is the host half.
Subnet PartThe subnet part in IPv4 is the discretional part. Subnet numbers are assigned to local networks with massive numbers of hosts. Before assigning numbers, they are first divided into subnets and then given subnet numbers.
Features of IPv4
IPv4 has 32-Bit IP addresses.
The IP address of IPv4 is numeric.
A dot separates the 32-bit IP address.
The length of the IPv4 header file is 20, and the number of its header fields is 12.
The IPv4 style of addresses has broadcast, unicast and multicast.
IPv4 supports and uses VLSM (Virtual Length Subnet Mask)
When mapping MAC addresses, IPv4 uses Post Address Resolution Protocol.
Users approach DHCS (Dynamic Host Configuration server) whenever they want to connect to a network.
IPv4 networks are designed manually or with DHCP.
IPv4 packet fragmentation allows causing host and routers.
In IPv4, RIP can be used as a routing protocol, as long as the routed daemon supports them.
Pros of IPv4
One of the benefits of IPv4 is that it is secure, and privacy is assured. IPv4 can be encrypted, allowing it to stay in line with ip security and privacy advancements.
The allocation of networks in IPV4 is powerful, with about 85,000 practical routers.
IPv4 enables you to connect multiple devices across an outsized network without using NAT.
IPv4 provides quality communication service and economical knowledge transfer.
IPV4 addresses allow for perfect redefined encoding.
IPv4 allows for collective addressing as the routing is scalable and economical.
IPv4 enables network data communication in multicast organizations.
Cons of IPv4
Internet routing is ineffective in IPv4.
It is difficult to support certain new applications. If any supported feature is added, it results in high overhead as it hinders flexibility for attachment.
IPv4 is a bit expensive as it has high system management prices.
IPv4 is complex, slow, and vulnerable to errors.
IPv4 is labor-intensive, and its security features are non-obligatory.
When it comes to net growth, IPv4 hinders the use of net gain for new users and limits its net growth for existing users.
What is IPv6?
IP (Internet Protocol) version 6, also known as IPng (Internet Protocol next generation), is the next-generation Internet Protocol address. IPv6 was designed to complement or replace IPv4. IPv6 is a version of internet protocol that allows communication between devices and the internet. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) designed this internet protocol version to usurp IPv4 in December 1998. The primary purpose of developing IPv6 is to create more address spaces for the growing number of internet users; it also comes with other features that surpass the IPv4.
Whether it’s a computer, IoT sensor, home automation device, mobile phone, or other hardware, every device needs an IP address to connect to the internet and communicate with other devices. With IPv6, each device has a unique public IP address, because the protocol can accommodate all connected devices in the global world. The version 6 IP has an alphanumeric addressing system with eight groups of four hexadecimal digits. An example of this address is 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. IPv6 has a 128-bit address space that allows 340 undecillion unique address spaces to communicate on the internet. With IPv6, IP addresses are unlimited, as it supports a theoretical maximum of 340, 282, 366, 920, 938, 463, 374, 607, 431, 768, 211, 456.
Types of IPv6 Addresses
Three types of IPv6 addresses are:
A unicast address helps identify the specific and unique node on a network. Whether it is a single receiver or a single sender.
A multicast address is a specific IP address labeling a network location used to multicast data packets within a network. They are used as the destination of a datagram, and it also identifies a group of IP devices.
Anycast addresses are assigned to a set of interfaces that belong to different nodes.
Pros of IPv6
- IPv6 is reliable, with better routing efficiency.
- It has faster speeds as it has better multicast routing that allows bandwidth-intensive packet flows to be sent to different destinations simultaneously.
- IPv6 has a more straightforward header format.
- IPv6 has better privacy support and built-in authentication.
- IPv6 has more growing nodes in the global network
- The Internet Protocol Security of IPv6 provides for data integrity and confidentiality.
- Configuration capabilities in IPv6 enables hardware to assign multiple IP addresses to the same device automatically.
Cons of IPv6
- It is challenging to convert to move to IPv6 as IPv4 is widely in use.
- IPv6 will need an intermediate technology to communicate with IPv4, as they cannot communicate directly.
Differences between IPv4 and IPv6
Basis of differences
Numeric address system with its binary bits separated by a dot (.)
Alphanumeric address system with its binary bits separated by a colon (:)
Number of header fields
Size of IP address
32-bit IP address
128-bit IP address
Length of header field
Number of classes
Five different classes of IP address from Class A to E
It allows an unlimited number of IP Address storage
It has checksum fields
Does not have checksum fields
Types of addresses
Unicast, broadcast and multicast
Unicast, multicast and anycast
Requires a newly installed system to communicate with other systems
Depending on the function the system is performing, configuration is optional
Example of addresses
This is done by sending and forwarding routes
This is done by only the sender
Supports Variable Length Subnet Mask (VLSM).
Does not support Variable Length Subnet Mask (VLSM)
This is done manually or with DHCP
Uses autoconfiguration capabilities
Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
Supports RIP by the routed daemon
Does not support RIP, instead uses static routes
576 byte packet size is required, might use fragmentation
1208 byte packet size is required without fragmentation
The security depends on the applications used
The security is built-in with this internet protocol version
It is needed for system management
Does not support SNMP
Only for routers and senders
Only for sending hosts
IP to MAC resolution
Multicast Neighbour Solicitation
ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address.
NDP (Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address.
IPv4 and IPv6, which is better?
After considering the differences between IPv4 and IPv6, the following will explain which IP address version is better.
Performance: Expanse of IP Address
The performance of these IP versions depends on their address size. For example, IPv4 has 32-bit address space, while IPv6 has 128-bit hexadecimal address space. IPv6 has a larger address space that allows for a simple header and accommodates considerably larger address demands with simplified routing.
IP Header Format: Reduced Header Bandwidth
An IPv6 address has extended headers four times larger than IPv4 addresses. This added feature in the IPv6 address helps reduce the overhead of packet processing and header bandwidth, making the connection much faster.
Network Security: More Secure and Confidential
When it comes to network security in IPv6, IPSec is required for its operation while it is optional or comes with a cost in IPv4. This feature in IPv6 helps for data consistency, better security, and confidentiality in your network.
- Network Security: Faster Speed and Lack of NAT
IPv6 is faster than IPv4 in network devices because it lacks network-address translation (NAT). Using IPv6 is a better choice for people that require high speed for their network processing.
Using IP version 6 is advisable when you need optimal routing efficiency for your particular network application. Because of the nearly unlimited address space offered by IPv6, every device on your network can have a unique public IP address. On the other hand, IPv4 and IPv6 are not compatible to start. You will need intermediary technology to ensure compatibility and functionality between the two protocols. Currently, IPv4 dominates the public internet space and is widely used for things like server cluster hosting and on dedicated servers. To discuss your specific application and hosting needs, contact us at ServerMania.