IPv4 vs IPv6 : The Differents Between IPv4 and IPv6

Learning the differences between IPv4 and IPv6. Improve your understanding of IP addresses


Currently, there are two versions of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. What distinguishes these two versions of IP addresses? The following section will provide a detailed introduction to the differences between IPv4 and IPv6.

What is IP?

IP refers to Internet Protocol, the Internet protocol. It is a network communication protocol used to identify and locate devices (such as computers, servers, routers, etc.) on the network. An IP address is composed of a 32-bit (IPv4) or 128-bit (IPv6) binary number, usually expressed in dotted decimal format, for example,

The IP protocol defines how data is encapsulated, addressed, routed, transmitted, and received in the network to ensure that data can be transmitted correctly and efficiently in the network. It is one of the basic protocols of the Internet, allowing communication and data exchange between different devices.

What is IPv4


IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) is a network protocol used to identify and locate devices on the Internet. It is the fourth version of Internet Protocol (IP) widely used on the Internet.

IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long, usually expressed in dotted decimal notation, for example, Each IPv4 address consists of four 8-bit bits, with each group ranging from 0 to 255. This means that IPv4 can represent up to about 4.2 billion different addresses.

An IPv4 address is divided into two parts: a network address and a host address. The network address identifies the network, and the host address identifies a specific device in the network. IPv4 also defines subnet masks, which are used to determine the boundaries between network addresses and host addresses.

What is IPv6


IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the sixth version of the Internet Protocol and the successor of IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4). IPv4 is the currently widely used Internet protocol, but due to the exhaustion of the IPv4 address space and the rapid increase in Internet devices, IPv6 was designed to solve these problems and provide better network performance and security.

The main features of IPv6 include:

  1. Larger address space: IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses. Compared with the 32-bit address space of IPv4, IPv6 has more address combinations and can theoretically support about 340 billion billion billion different addresses. .

  2. Improved Security: IPv6 has built-in security features, including enforcement of the IPsec protocol, providing end-to-end data encryption, data integrity, and authentication.

  3. Simplified header: IPv6 header is simpler than IPv4, reducing the time and overhead required by routers to process the header.

  4. Automatic address configuration: IPv6 supports automatic address configuration, simplifying network management and allowing devices on the network to obtain IP addresses more easily.

  5. Improved multicast and anycast support: IPv6 improves multicast and anycast functions, providing more efficient data transmission and resource allocation.

  6. Support for mobile devices and mobility: IPv6 has built-in support for mobile devices and mobility, making it easier for mobile devices to switch between different networks.

  7. Future Scalability: IPv6 provides the framework and flexibility for the introduction of new functions and features in the future.

With the gradual popularization and adoption of IPv6, it will gradually replace IPv4 as the main protocol of the global Internet. The widespread application of IPv6 is critical to support the growing demand for Internet connectivity and the networking of various smart devices.

Why we need a new IP version

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) was developed as a successor to IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) to address several limitations and challenges posed by IPv4. Here are some reasons why we need a new IP version like IPv6:

  1. Address Exhaustion: IPv4 has a limited address space, allowing for approximately 4.3 billion unique addresses. With the proliferation of internet-connected devices, we have nearly exhausted the available IPv4 addresses. IPv6 provides a much larger address space, with approximately 340 undecillion (3.4×10^38) unique addresses, ensuring sufficient addresses for future growth.

  2. Address Assignment: IPv6 simplifies address assignment and management. It allows for easier subnetting and allocation of addresses to networks and devices. This simplification is crucial for internet service providers (ISPs) and organizations managing large networks.

  3. Security Improvements: IPv6 includes built-in security features, such as IPsec (Internet Protocol Security), which helps ensure secure communication over the internet. While IPsec can be used with IPv4, its integration is mandatory in IPv6.

  4. Efficiency and Performance: IPv6 was designed with efficiency in mind, leading to better packet handling and routing. This efficiency improves the overall performance and reliability of network communications.

  5. Auto-Configuration: IPv6 supports automatic address configuration through Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC), allowing devices to configure their own addresses and network parameters without relying on a central DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server.

  6. Mobility and Quality of Service (QoS): IPv6 provides enhanced support for mobile devices and better handling of quality of service, allowing for improved communication in various network environments.

  7. Future-Proofing: IPv6 is designed to be flexible and scalable, taking into account the needs and demands of the future internet. It provides a foundation for emerging technologies and services.

  8. Global Internet Growth: As internet usage expands globally, especially in regions with rapid technological advancements, the need for more IP addresses and efficient internet protocols becomes increasingly critical.

  9. Internet of Things (IoT): The rise of IoT devices necessitates a large and scalable address space. IPv6 is well-suited to accommodate the vast number of devices that will be part of the IoT ecosystem.

  10. Transition and Coexistence: IPv6 is essential for the smooth transition from IPv4 to IPv6, ensuring compatibility and coexistence during the migration process. Dual-stack configurations allow devices to use both IPv4 and IPv6.

In summary, IPv6 addresses the limitations of IPv4, provides a vast and scalable address space, enhances security, improves efficiency and performance, supports emerging technologies, and accommodates the growing number of internet-connected devices, making it a necessity for the continued growth and development of the internet.

The difference between IPv4 and IPv6

IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) and IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) are the two most commonly used network protocols in Internet communications. They have several important differences:

  1. Address length and representation:

    • IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long and are usually expressed in dotted decimal notation, such as
    • IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long and are usually expressed in colon-separated hexadecimal notation, such as 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.
  2. Address Space:

    • IPv4 provides approximately 4.2 billion addresses. Due to the rapidly growing number of Internet-connected devices, the IPv4 address space has been exhausted, resulting in a shortage of IPv4 addresses.
    • IPv6 provides approximately 34 billion billion billion (3.4 × 10^38) addresses, solving the shortage of IPv4 addresses and meeting the needs of future Internet development.
  3. Security and Scalability:

    • IPv6 is designed with security in mind and supports the IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) protocol, making it more powerful in terms of security.
    • IPv6 was designed with better scalability in mind, reducing the burden on network management and routing tables, and improving network efficiency.
  4. Automatic provisioning and mobility:

    • IPv6 has a built-in automatic configuration mechanism, which simplifies the configuration and deployment of network devices and improves the ease of use of the network.
    • IPv6 has better support for mobile devices and provides built-in mobility support, making it easier for mobile devices to switch networks.
  5. Multicast and Anycast:

    • IPv6 provides better support and improvements for multicast and anycast, making it more efficient and flexible.

In general, IPv6 has a larger address space, better security, better scalability, better automatic configuration and mobility support than IPv4, and is the future development direction of the Internet. However, IPv4 is still commonly used, and during the transition phase, IPv4 and IPv6 will coexist, gradually transitioning to wider IPv6 networks.

How many addresses are there in IPv4 vs. IPv6?

IPv4 and IPv6 are two different Internet protocols that use different address spaces.

  1. IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4): IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, with a total of about 430 million (2^32) possible addresses. But in fact, not all addresses can be used for allocation to devices, and some are reserved for specific purposes, such as private addresses, multicast addresses, reserved addresses, etc. Therefore, the number of public IPv4 addresses available for allocation and use is far less than 430 million.

  2. IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6): IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, with a total of about 3.4 × 10^38 possible addresses. This number is quite large, far exceeding the address space of IPv4. The IPv6 address space is designed to be large enough to handle the growing number of Internet-connected devices.


  • IPv4 has approximately 430 million possible addresses.
  • IPv6 has about 3.4 × 10^38 possible addresses, which is a huge increase in the IPv4 address space.

Which is faster, IPv4 or IPv6?

IPv4 and IPv6 speeds are not directly comparable parameters as they are different network protocols, each with their own specific advantages and uses. IPv4 is currently the most widely used Internet protocol, and IPv6 is the next generation Internet protocol designed to replace IPv4.

In theory, IPv6 can provide higher speeds and performance because of its larger address space, better security, and better load balancing capabilities. The main limitation of IPv4 is that its address space is limited and is close to exhaustion, while IPv6 has a broader address space that can meet the growth needs of the Internet in the future.

However, actual speeds depend on many factors, including network infrastructure, network topology, router configuration, network traffic load, and more. The performance of IPv4 and IPv6 can be affected by these factors, making it impossible to simply determine which is faster.

Generally speaking, IPv6 is considered the future development direction, but currently IPv4 is still the mainstream protocol, so the actual experience of network speed may depend on the network environment you are in and the configuration of the network operator.

IPv4 remains the more popular and widely used IP protocol, but IPv6 adoption is gradually increasing.

IPv4 address space is limited, with only about 4 billion unique addresses, and as the global Internet expands, these addresses have been almost exhausted. To solve this problem, IPv6 was designed as a larger and more complex address space that can provide a far greater number of addresses than IPv4. IPv6 address length is 128 bits, which can provide approximately 3.4 × 10^38 addresses, ensuring that we can cope with more Internet connection needs in the future.

Over time, the deployment and adoption of IPv6 continues to increase as the pressures of IPv4 address depletion and the advantages of IPv6 become more apparent. Many organizations, service providers and countries have taken steps to promote IPv6 adoption, but the transition still takes time as it involves upgrades to existing network infrastructure and compatibility issues. Gradually, with the popularity of IPv6 and the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, IPv6 is expected to become the mainstream IP protocol.

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