IPv4 vs IPv6 - Comparison Between IPv4 and IPv6 - FastVPN
The internet is constantly evolving. As more and more devices are connected to each other, the need for a new addressing system became apparent. IPv4 was the first addressing system, but it has since been replaced by IPv6. So, what’s the difference between these two systems (IPv4 vs IPv6)? Let’s take a closer look.
IPv4 is the fourth iteration of the Internet Protocol (IP) and it is the standard protocol for most devices on the internet. It was first defined in 1981 and it is still in use today, though it is being replaced by its successor, IPv6. IPv4 uses a 32-bit address scheme, which allows for a total of 4,294,967,296 (2^32) unique addresses. This may seem like a lot, but with the rapid growth of the internet and the proliferation of devices that connect to it, IPv4 is running out of addresses. As a result, IPv6 was developed as a replacement with a much larger address space. However, many devices still use IPv4 and so it remains an important protocol.
Features of IPv4
IPv4 has a number of features that make it well-suited for use on the internet. Some are as below:
It uses a hierarchical addressing system, which allows for efficient routing of traffic.
IPv4 is designed to be scalable, so that it can be used on networks of all sizes.
IPv4 includes error-checking mechanisms that help ensure that data is delivered correctly.
It is the next-generation Internet Protocol (IP) standard intended to eventually replace IPv4, the protocol most Internet services currently use. IPv6 has a number of advantages over IPv4. It increases the address space available for networking from 4.3 billion to 340 undecillion addresses, or 2^128, and implements features. That simplifies aspects of address assignment and network configuration, such as autoconfiguration and network renumbering. The increase in address space is modest compared to some other technical changes introduced by IPv6. But it is critical to the scalability of the Internet. Because it eliminates the possibility of addressing exhaustion due to growth in the number of users and devices on the network. Additionally, it simplifies certain tasks involved in configuring hosts and routers on the network.
IPv6 was first defined in December 1998, in RFC 2460. It includes RFCs 4861 (Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6), 5095 (IPv6 Address Architecture), and 8200 (Default Address Selection for Internet Protocol version 6). IPv6 is currently in widespread use across the Internet. with most large organizations and service providers have deployed it on their networks. Many operating systems now include native support for IPv6. And there are a number of transition mechanisms. That allows IPv6 traffic to be carried out, over IPv4 infrastructure. Nevertheless, the deployment of IPv6 has been slow. It’s largely due to the lack of a clear economic incentive for network operators to invest in upgrading their infrastructure. As a result, most Internet users still rely on IPv4 for their day-to-day connectivity.
Features of IPv6
IPv6 also introduces a number of other features that improve upon IPv4. These include:
Autoconfiguration, which simplifies address assignment and configuration for hosts on the network
Better support for mobile devices, which often change their point of attachment to the network
Enhanced security features.
Additionally, IPv6 includes a mechanism for transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6, known as dual-stack operation. Which allows IPv6 traffic to be carried out, over existing IPv4 infrastructure.
IPv4 vs IPv6
So, what’s the difference between IPv4 and IPv6? The most obvious difference is the size of the address space. Some major differences of IPv4 vs IPv6 are as under:
1. Addressing scheme
IPv4 uses a 32-bit address scheme, which allows for a total of 4,294,967,296 (2^32) unique addresses. This may seem like a lot, but with the rapid growth of the internet and the proliferation of devices that connect to it, IPv4 is running out of addresses. As a result, It was developed with a much larger address space as a replacement. While, IPv6 uses a 128-bit address scheme, which allows for 2^128 (340 billion billion billion billion) unique addresses. This is more than enough to accommodate the growth of the internet for the foreseeable future.
2. Autoconfiguration and enhanced security
In addition to the larger address space, IPv6 also introduces a number of other improvements. Such as autoconfiguration and enhanced security features.
Instead of these advantages, IPv6 has not adopted widely in the world. Part of the reason for this is that it is not backward compatible with IPv4. This means that if you want to use IPv6 on your network. You need to upgrade your infrastructure and replace all of your IPv4 equipment. For many organizations, this is a significant investment with no immediate return.
The good news is that there are mechanisms in place. That allows IPv6 traffic to be carried over existing IPv4 infrastructure. This allows organizations to slowly transition to IPv6 without having to make a massive upfront investment. Ultimately, IPv6 is the future of the internet. It has a number of advantages over IPv4. But its deployment has been slow. Due to the lack of a clear economic incentive for network operators to upgrade their infrastructure.
However, as more and more devices are connected to the network. So, the address space of IPv4 continues to dwindle. The need for a transition to IPv6 will become increasingly apparent.