If you’re an internet user or you’re into home networking solutions, chances are you’ve come across these two computing terms – IPv6 and IPv4 or “IPv6 vs IPv4.” What do these two terms stand for or mean? How are they different from each other? How is one better than the other? Many of us find ourselves with such questions lingering at the back of our minds. Luckily, this article will clear everything up for you. As such, you’ll find out how IPv4 and iPv6 differ from one another and which is one is better.
Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6
An Internet Protocol (IP) refers to how devices connected to the internet communicate with one another. Devices connected to the internet including computers, servers, smart refrigerators or smartphones are assigned an IP address. As such, an IP address associates a device and a geographical location anywhere around the globe. IPv6 VS IPv4 are two types of Internet Protocols – IPv4 means Internet Protocol Version 4 while IPv6 means Internet Protocol Version 6.
IPv4 is the older version between the two having been launched in 1983 while IPv6 is much more recent (mid-1990s) and is expected to be the successor of IPv4 in the long run. The main difference between the two is their address space. An IPv4 address is represented by 32 bits while IPV6 is represented by 128 bits. Consequently, IP address belonging to these protocols look different. If you’re using an IPv4 address, then it will appear as a four byte decimal digit divided by a dot something like 188.8.131.52. An IPV6 address, on the other hand, appears as a hexadecimal number which is separated by colons resembling something like fe20::d5d7:4667:f3d9:e8f4d22.
Which One Is Better?
One of the main reason why IPv6 was created was the fear that IPv4 addresses would be depleted by the sheer number of devices coming online in the coming years. As such, IPv4 addresses have a total array of 4.3 billion addresses compared to IPv6’s addresses that are infinite. Security is also a hot topic in the IPv6 VS IPv4 debate. The IPv6 protocol has incorporated several encryption and authentication mechanisms which make it more secure than IPv4 which wasn’t designed with security in mind.
Another advantage IPv6 holds over IPv4 is multicasting which enables one packet to be sent to multiple destinations at a given instance. What’s more, with IPv6, autoconfiguration is possible which consequently enables devices to configure their IP addresses without the need for a server. On the flip side, implementing IPv6 protocol is quite expensive which makes it a less exciting prospect. Institutions now use the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to dynamically assign an IP address to a device once it connects to a network which in turn reduces exhaustion of IPv4 addresses.
IPv6 VS IPv4 – Conclusion
The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is happening but at a snail’s pace. First, it requires a lot of money and time to upgrade network devices such as routers and switches which have grown accustomed to IPv4. Therefore, companies prefer to replace these devices when they can no longer be used. Deployment also depends from one country to another. According to statistics, half of US internet users now use IPv6 protocol. For now, both protocols can run simultaneously on the same machine but eventually, the change of guard will happen