18 Major Difference Between IPv4 And IPv6 (With Similarities)

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What Is IPv4?

IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) is the fourth revision of the Internet Protocol (IP) used to identify devices on a network through an addressing system. The internet protocol is designed for use in interconnected systems of packet-switched computer communication networks.

IPv4 is the most widely deployed internet protocol to connect devices to the internet. It is one of the major protocols in the TCP/IP Protocol suite. The internet protocol suite governs rules for packetizing, addressing, transmitting, routing and receiving data over networks.

IPv4 addresses may be represented in any notation expressing a 32-bit integer value. They are most often written in dot-decimal notation, which consists of four octets of the addressing expressed individually in decimal numbers and separated by periods. For example, the quad-dotted IP Address 164.0.3.274 represents the 32-bit decimal number 7231212416, which in hexadecimal format is 0XC00002EB.

What You Need To Know About IPv4

  1. IPv4 protocol has address length of 32-bit represented in decimal format and it supports manual and DHCP configuration.
  2. IPv4 has large community support and extensive documentation libraries.
  3. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is available to map IPv4 addresses to MAC addresses.
  4. IPv4 is a numeric address and its binary bits are separated by a dot (.).
  5. IPv4 implements the basic constrained network topologies which in turn are used to restrict mobility movements and interoperability for the same.
  6. Options fields are available in IPv4 header.
  7. In IPv4, the request header is not fixed and may be between of 20-60 bytes size.
  8. In IPv4, Encryption and Authentication facility are not provided.
  9. In IPv4, fragmentation is performed by both Sender and Forwarding routers.
  10. In IPv4, extensive uses of Network Address Transition (NAT) devices allow single NAT address to mask thousands of addresses to enrich end to end integrity feature and performances.
  11. IPv4 does not identify packet flow for QoS handling which includes checksum options.
  12. IPv4 supports Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM).  
  13. IPv4 offers five different classes of IP Address. From class A to E.
  14. In IPv4, type of addresses include: Unicast, Broadcast and multicast.
  15. IPv4 has checksum fields.
  16. Security feature is dependent on application.
  17. IPv4 can generate 4.29x 109 address space.
  18. Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) is used to manage multicast group membership.

What Is IPv6?

Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the internet protocol, the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the internet. IPv6 was developed by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the problem of IPv4 exhaustion. The basics of IPV6 are similar to those of IPv6 devices can use IPv6 as source and destination addresses to pass packets over a network and tool like ping work for network testing as they do in IPv4, with some slight variations.

Methods of IPv6 Addressing

  • Anycast Address: Anycast address is assigned to a group of interfaces. Any packet sent to anycast address will be delivered to only one member interface (mostly nearest host possible).
  • Multicast Address: Multicast Address is used by multiple hosts referred to as Group, acquires a multicast destination address. These hosts need not be geographically together. If any packet is sent to this multicast address, it will be distributed to all interfaces corresponding to that multicast address.
  • Unicast Address:  Unicast Address identifies a single network interface. A packet sent to unicast address is delivered to the interface identified by that address.

What You Need To Know About IPv6

  1. IPv6 has 128-bit address length represented in hexadecimal format and supports Auto-configuration and renumbering configuration.
  2. IPv6 has one of the largest community supports.
  3. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is replaced with a function of Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) which is used to map IPv6 addresses to MAC address.
  4. IPv6 is an alphanumeric address whose binary bits are separated by a colon (:) . It also contains hexadecimal.
  5.  IPv6 provides the embedded interoperability and mobility capabilities for the network devices.
  6. No option fields, but IPv6 Extension headers are available.
  7. In IPv6, the request header is of fixed 40 bytes size and could not be get varied.
  8. In IPv6, Encryption and Authentication facility are available.
  9. In IPv6, the fragmentation is performed only by sender routers.
  10. In IPv6, there is larger availability of space and thus it allows direct addressing processes.
  11. IPv6 packet head contains Flow Label field that specifies packet flow for QoS handling. 
  12. IPv6 does not offer support for Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM).
  13. IPv6 allows storing of unlimited number of IP Address.
  14. In IPv6, types of addresses include: Unicast, Multicast and anycast.
  15. IPv6 does not have checksum fields.
  16. IPSEC is an inbuilt security feature in the IPv6 protocol.
  17. Address space of IPv6 is significantly large. It can generate 3.4×1038 address space.
  18. IGMP is replaced with Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) messages.

Also Read: Difference Between MAC Address And IP Address

Difference Between IPv4 And IPv6 In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON IPv4 IPv6
Description IPv4 protocol has address length of 32-bit represented in decimal format and it supports manual and DHCP configuration.   IPv6 has 128-bit address length represented in hexadecimal format and supports Auto-configuration and renumbering configuration.
Address Resolution Protocol Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is available to map IPv4 addresses to MAC addresses.   Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is replaced with a function of Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) which is used to map IPv6 addresses to MAC address.  
Community Support IPv4 has large community support and extensive documentation libraries.   IPv6 has one of the largest community supports.  
Binary Bits IPv4 is a numeric address and its binary bits are separated by a dot (.). IPv6 is an alphanumeric address whose binary bits are separated by a colon (:) . It also contains hexadecimal.
Interoperability IPv4 implements the basic constrained network topologies which in turn are used to restrict mobility movements and interoperability for the same.   IPv6 provides the embedded interoperability and mobility capabilities for the network devices.
Options Fields Options fields are available in the IPv4 header.   No option fields, but IPv6 Extension headers are available.  
Request Header In IPv4, the request header is not fixed and may be between of 20-60 bytes size.   In IPv6, the request header is of fixed 40 bytes size and could not be get varied.  
Encryption and Authentication Facility In IPv4, Encryption and Authentication facility are not provided. In IPv6, Encryption and Authentication facility are available.
Fragmentation In IPv4, fragmentation is performed by both Sender and Forwarding routers.   In IPv6, the fragmentation is performed only by sender routers.  
Addressing Process In IPv4, extensive uses of Network Address Transition (NAT) devices allow single NAT address to mask thousands of addresses to enrich end to end integrity feature and performances.   In IPv6, there is larger availability of space and thus it allows direct addressing processes.  
Flow For QoS Handling IPv4 does not identify packet flow for QoS handling which includes checksum options.   IPv6 packet head contains Flow Label field that specifies packet flow for QoS handling.   
Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM) IPv4 supports Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM).     IPv6 does not offer support for Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM).  
IP Addresses IPv4 offers five different classes of IP Address. From class A to E.   IPv6 allows storing of unlimited number of IP Address.  
Types Unicast, Broadcast and multicast Unicast, Multicast and anycast
Checksum Fields IPv4 has checksum fields.   IPv6 does not have checksum fields.  
Security Security feature is dependent on application.   IPSEC is an inbuilt security feature in the IPv6 protocol.  
Address Space IPv4 can generate 4.29x 109 address space.   Address space of IPv6 is significantly large. It can generate 3.4×1038 address space.  
IGMP Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) is used to manage multicast group membership.   IGMP is replaced with Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) messages.