What Is The Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

difference between ipv4 vs ipv6

It would be hardly impossible to find someone who does not use the internet nowadays. And if you use the internet you might have heard about the IP address. As of 2020, we are into the 6th version of IP address protocol which is called IPv6. IPv6 was launched almost 2 decades back. But still many people do not use the internet. Does that mean IPv6 is bad? Let’s find out the answer to all these types of question and will figure out the What Is The Difference Between IPv4 And IPv6

Before going further let’s find out what is an IP address actually means?

What is an IP ( Internet Protocol) address?

An IP address is nothing but an array of numbers assigned to a device so that it can communicate with another device over the internet. It’s a technical format and addressing scheme for giving an address to a device connected to the internet. Let’s take a simple example. You have a phone, you have inserted a sim into it and you have a network in it. But if your SIM does not have a number allocated, will someone be able to contact you? No.

The same logic applied to the internet world. Without an IP address, you can not communicate with the internet world. Every IP address follows some standards which get reflected in different IP versions ( In short IPV). At present we are using IP version 4 ( IPv4) and IP version 6 ( IPv6)

difference between ipv4 and ipv6

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What Is My IP?

To check your IP on a Windows OS computer, you can simply type in cmd in the search bar and go to the command prompt window. There you have to type in the following command to see your IP address.


Types Of IP Address

There are four types of IP addresses

Private IP Address
Public IP Address
Static IP Address
Dynamic IP Address

Private IP address is for communicating inside a network and public IP addresses are of communicating outside a network. A static IP address is manually created and does not change. However Dynamic IP addresses are assigned by Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and subject to change after a certain period of time. Once the dynamic IP is expired, you have to request a new IP.

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What is a Domain name?

Now you know that every device has an IP address to communicate. So if you want to contact a device on the internet you will have to know that device’s IP address. Now is it really possible to memorize trillions of IP addresses? No. It’s not possible. That’s why we use domain names that are easy to memorize. Like how we save phone numbers with some names, Domain name saves the IP address. When you call your friend, you are actually dialing his phone numbers. The same way when you browse a website ( Domain name) you are asking to connect to an IP address associated with that domain name.

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What is IPv4?

IPv4 is the internet protocol version 4 which provides a 32-bit numerical number to each device connected to the internet. It is written in decimal format and has 4 numbers separated by periods. Each number can be between 0 to 255. A sample IPv4 address is shown below. Since IPv4 follows a 32-bit numeric system so there can be approximately 4.3 billion unique IPv4 addresses.

What is IPv6

IPv6 is a 128 bit IP address system. It follows the hexadecimal numbering system and 8 numbers are separated by a colon. Since IPv6 follows a 128-bit system so it can have approximately 3.4×1038 unique IPv6 addresses.


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Why do we need IPv6?

We are running out of IPv4. As I said before we can have a maximum of 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses. The number is less if you compare the total internet users. But still, we get a unique IPv4 address. How? It’s because not every device over the internet is allocated a unique IP address. Instead, the router gets a unique IP address, and all devices connected to that router share the same address. But in an ideal scenario, all devices should get a unique IP address and IPv6 is capable of doing that. The reason being Ipv6 has almost infinite numbers to allocate.

Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

Apart from a unlimited unique IP address in IPv6, there are also some major differences between IPv4 and IPv6

End to End Connectivity

Since all devices will get an uniques IP address so end to end connection will be possible in IPv6. Presently only routers get IP addresses in IPv4 and all devices connected to that router share the same IP address.

No Geographical Monopoly

50% of IP addresses are owned by the United States when it was launched. IPv6 does not favor any country and will be available across a wider geographical periphery.

Security Enhancement

IPv6 is considered to be more secured due to the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) is used compared to IPv6. Firewall configuration and other security measures are improved in IPv6.

Automatic Configuration

Since every device gets an IP address so auto-configuration is possible. For every device, the IPv6 address is generated from the Mac address which is again unique to every device. This helps devices to connect to each other over the internet.

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Why we still don’t use IPv6 much?

Well, apart from offering almost unlimited unique IP addresses, IPv6 does not offer any deal-breaker feature for which consumers will be craving. Below I listed a couple of other reasons for which IPv6 is still not that popular in the internet world.

  • IPv6 is slow. The reason is still unknown but in testing, it was found that it is marginally slow compared to IPv4.
  • We still have some IPv4 addresses left out. Let’s use those before we move to IPv6.
  • IPv6 does not offer backward compatibility. For example, if your website uses IPv6 but your router and ISP still uses IPv4, then you can’t access that website.
  • IPv6 does not support VPNs. If you try to access a website on IPv6 through VPN, either your request will be ignored or VPN will try to route that using some external DNS.
  • IPv6 does not offer monetary benefits to web hosts. There are no direct benefits that companies will get if they implement IPv6. So they just stay away from investing money in IPv6 until there is a need.

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Conclusion: Difference between iPV6 and iPV4

The trend is changing nowadays and more web hosts started supporting IPv6. Since IPv6 does not offer direct significant benefits, users are still not ready to move. Hopefully, IPv6 will come out of its drawbacks and that can attract people to migrate to IPv6.

That’s all we have in this article. Hope you liked the article and found some useful information. If you have any queries please do write in the comment section and I will be happy to answer.

You may also like to read: Types of Web hosting

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A Mechanical Engineer by profession but a blogger by passion. I blog about Blogging tricks and tips on RiansBlog and write about Mechanical Engineering on RiansClub. I also write about Product technical guides on RiansTech.

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