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IPv4 and IPv6:

With the world of information technology advancing at a pace like no other, it is nearly impossible to keep up with all forms of technology and also some integral parts that help us work and utilize this invention to our fullest. Have you heard of IPv4 and IPv6 ? What do you understand upon hearing these words? 

They seem rather technically complicated words, right? Let’s try and understand what all jazz is about. To begin with, in the simplest of terms let’s define IPv4 and IPv6.

IPv4 and IPv6

Internet protocol addresses:

All internet protocols have addresses. Let’s have a look at the addresses for IPv4 and Ipv6.     


It is the internet protocol version 4 employed to be used on packet- switched link layer networks. For instance Ethernet. This protocol provides an addressing capability of 4.3 billion addresses (approximately) popular data suggests. 

What is an IPv4 address?

The IPv4 address is actually a number, more precisely a 32 bit number that is unique and helps to uniquely identify a network interface on a machine. An IPv4 address is peculiarly written in decimal digits, formatted as four 8- bit fields that are separated by occurrences of periods. Where each 8 bit field is representative of a byte on the IPv4 address. 

Advantages of IPV4:

  •  IPv4 is considered as essential to encrypt data and further to ensure privacy for the same.
  • It is efficient enough to take measures to encrypt data in its address packets as well. 
  • IPv6 is a protocol that can be easily supported by a major number of topology drawings. 
  • The process of routing is made more efficient in IPv4 as the addresses are combined more effectively.

Disadvantages of IPv4:

  • IPv4 can be a concern while choosing an internet protocol as it needs configuration either manually or automatically. Hence its configuration is a concern. 
  • As we know this internet protocol was established a long time ago hence it was programmed in a way to provide security from threats that are imposed today. 
  • The infrastructure is yet another disadvantage and also its geographical limitation. 
  • Mobility is another disadvantage that is a repercussion of the infrastructure. 


It is also an internet protocol version 6 which provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic all across the internet.  happens to be far more advanced and it is claimed that it has better features than the former protocol version ie. IPv4.

What is an IPv6 address?

The IPv6 address  is the internet protocol  version 6 which is  a numeric label that is employed to identify and locate a network node that is actively participating in a computer network using IPv6. IP addresses are included in the packet header to be able to indicate the source and also the destination of each packet. 

Advantages of IPv6:

  • The advantage of this internet protocol is that it doesn’t require any network address translation(NAT)
  • Auto configuration.
  • IPv6 provides built-in authentication and privacy support. 
  • It provides a way more efficient and better multicast routing. 
  • With the efficiency it facilitates there are no more private address collisions. 
  • It makes way for a simpler header format. 

Disadvantages of IPV6:

  • The machines that run IPv4 can’t have IPv6. 
  • It takes a hefty amount of time to shift from IPv4 to IPv6. 

The cost to shift from IPv4 to IPv6 has to be incurred by the user solely.

Which one is the better one IPv4 or IPv6?

When a comparison is being drawn between IPv4 and IPv6 the two versions of internet protocol, the IPv6 is a newer hence more updated version of the internet protocol and in terms of complexity and efficiency also the latter happens to be more efficient than the former. The Ipv6 also has larger packets, which can make it slower for certain causes.     
Often it has also been observed that the IPv4 networks are far more mature when compared to IPv6 which means that the former is highly optimized. It is expected that with more time and tuning the IPv6 networks will get faster as well.
In my opinion every concern, physical object, opinion has two aspects at the least . Similarly, let’s have a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both the internet protocols for you to understand better and aid better decision making whilst choosing amongst them.

The main difference between IPv4 and IPv6 :



IPv4 has a 32-bit address length


IPv6 has a 128-bit address length

It Supports Manual and DHCP address configuration

It supports Auto and renumbering address configuration

The connection integrity in IPv4 end to end is unachievable. 

In an IPv6 end to end, the connection integrity is rather achievable. 

The address space that it can generate  is 4.29×109. 

IIn IPv6 the address space is large and it can produce 3.4×1038 

The address length of an IPv4 is 32-bit . 

The address length of IPv6 is 128 bit. 

Ipv4 supports Manual and DHCP address configuration 

IPv6 supports auto and renumbering address configuration. 

The security feature in an IPv4 is dependent upon the application. 

The security feature IPSEC is inbuilt in the IPv6 protocol. 

The address representation of IPv4 protocol is in decimal form. 

The address representation of IPv6 protocol is in hexadecimal. 

The example of IPv4 is :

The example of IPv6 protocol is : 2001:0000:3238:DFE1:0063:0000:0000:FEFB

The addresses in IPv4 protocol are divided into five different classes namely Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E. 

There are no classes of IP addresses in an IPv6 protocol.

The packet flow indication isn’t available in IPv4. 

In IPv6 packet flow identification are Available and uses the flow label field in the header

Packet flow identification.

The checksum field is available in IPv4.

The checksum field is not available in IPv6.

The encryption and authentication facility isn’t available in IPv4. 

Encryption and authentication are available in IPv6. 

Applications that are supported by IPv4 and IPv6:




SIP Signaling



RTP Media for SIP Signaling (Audio)



Multimedia Packets (Video)



H.323 Signaling



RTP Media for H.323 Signaling



DNS Server



DNS Client



Sigtran / M3UA













The speed of IPv4 and IPv6 was measured by Akamai, a web and cloud service provider. According to their research, sites loaded 5% faster in median and 15% faster for 95% percentile on Ipv6 when compared to IPv4. Overall IPv6 is a better choice if speed is being considered.

According to many researches around 80% phones in the united states on major cellular network operators use IPv6.

It has been observed that IPv6 is comparatively faster than IPv4.

It has been noted that 90% of Verizon wireless’s traffic uses IPv6. At&T Wireless, Sprint, Telus, Tele2 EE, KDDI are among the major cellular IPv6 providers.