Difference Wiki

IPv4 vs. IPv6: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 10, 2023
IPv4 is a 32-bit addressing scheme; IPv6 is a 128-bit addressing scheme. IPv6 was introduced to accommodate the explosive growth of the internet.

Key Differences

IPv4, standing for "Internet Protocol version 4," is the fourth iteration of IP addressing. Conversely, IPv6, or "Internet Protocol version 6," is the sixth and the latest version. Both are essential for routing traffic across the internet, but they serve in different capacities.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023
The primary distinction between IPv4 and IPv6 is the number of IP addresses they support. IPv4, with its 32-bit format, can support approximately 4.3 billion IP addresses. In contrast, IPv6, with its 128-bit format, can accommodate a virtually limitless number of IP addresses.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023
While IPv4 addresses appear as four sets of numbers separated by periods, like "192.168.0.1", IPv6 addresses use a more complex system, comprising eight sets of four hexadecimal characters, separated by colons, such as "2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334."
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023
Over time, as the internet expanded, the pool of available IPv4 addresses started depleting. This depletion led to the creation of IPv6, ensuring the internet could continue its growth without address limitations.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023
Although IPv4 is still widely in use today, the transition to IPv6 is inevitable due to its scalability and advanced features. IPv6 also includes built-in security features that IPv4 lacks, marking another fundamental difference between the two.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Address Length

32-bit
128-bit
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Address Format

Decimal (e.g., 192.168.0.1)
Hexadecimal (e.g., 2001:0db8:85a3:0000)
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Total Addresses

~4.3 billion
Virtually limitless
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Example Address

172.16.254.1
2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Security

Relies on external measures
Built-in IPsec security
Aimie Carlson
Oct 10, 2023
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IPv4 and IPv6 Definitions

IPv4

IPv4 uses a 32-bit addressing scheme.
The limited nature of IPv4 addresses led to the creation of private and public addresses.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 10, 2023

IPv6

IPv6 employs a 128-bit addressing system.
IPv6's addressing allows for an almost infinite number of unique addresses.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 10, 2023

IPv4

IPv4 addresses consist of four decimal numbers separated by periods.
An example of an IPv4 address is 192.168.1.1.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

IPv6

IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol.
With the internet's expansion, IPv6 was introduced to address limitations.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

IPv4

IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol.
Most of our devices still use IPv4 addresses.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

IPv6

IPv6 addresses are represented using eight groups of hexadecimal numbers.
A sample IPv6 address looks like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

IPv4

IPv4 is still predominantly used in many parts of the internet.
Despite its limitations, IPv4 remains prevalent in many networks.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 10, 2023

IPv6

IPv6 comes with improved features and security compared to IPv4.
One advantage of IPv6 over IPv4 is its built-in IPsec security protocol.
Harlon Moss
Oct 10, 2023

IPv4

IPv4 was the first widespread IP version for internet routing.
Before the introduction of IPv6, IPv4 was the standard for internet communication.
Harlon Moss
Oct 10, 2023

IPv6

IPv6 was created to tackle the address exhaustion of IPv4.
The transition to IPv6 ensures that we won't run out of IP addresses in the foreseeable future.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

FAQs

Will IPv4 become obsolete?

Over time, the internet will transition to IPv6, but IPv4 will likely coexist for many years due to its widespread use.
Sara Rehman
Oct 10, 2023

How many characters are in an IPv6 address?

IPv6 addresses have up to 32 hexadecimal characters.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 10, 2023

What does IPv4 stand for?

IPv4 stands for "Internet Protocol version 4."
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

What are the security advantages of IPv6 over IPv4?

IPv6 has built-in security with IPsec, while IPv4 requires additional configurations for similar security.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Why not skip IPv6 and wait for IPv7?

There's no IPv7 in development. IPv6 addresses the current challenges and will suffice for the foreseeable future.
Harlon Moss
Oct 10, 2023

How can I start using IPv6?

Ensure your ISP, router, and devices support IPv6, then enable it in your network settings.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Why don't we see many IPv6 addresses in use?

While IPv6 adoption is growing, the transition is gradual, and many systems still primarily use IPv4.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

How does IPv6 address notation differ from IPv4?

IPv6 uses eight groups of hexadecimal numbers, while IPv4 uses four sets of decimal numbers.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 10, 2023

Can I choose to use only IPv4 on my network?

Yes, but this may limit future scalability and features available with IPv6.
Sara Rehman
Oct 10, 2023

How do I know if my website supports IPv6?

You can use online tools to check if your website is IPv6 compatible.
Sara Rehman
Oct 10, 2023

Are there private IPv6 addresses like in IPv4?

Yes, IPv6 has unique local addresses (ULAs) which function similarly to IPv4's private addresses.
Sara Rehman
Oct 10, 2023

Will switching to IPv6 change my online experience?

For most users, the transition to IPv6 will be seamless and not noticeably different.
Sara Rehman
Oct 10, 2023

Why was IPv6 introduced?

IPv6 was introduced due to the imminent exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and to provide enhanced features.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 10, 2023

Can IPv4 and IPv6 run simultaneously on a network?

Yes, this is known as "dual-stack," where devices support both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Are IPv4 addresses running out?

Yes, the global pool of IPv4 addresses is nearing exhaustion, leading to the development and deployment of IPv6.
Harlon Moss
Oct 10, 2023

Is IPv6 faster than IPv4?

IPv6 can be more efficient due to its design, but speed depends on various factors, including the network infrastructure.
Sara Rehman
Oct 10, 2023

How do devices get IPv6 addresses?

Devices can be assigned IPv6 addresses through manual configuration, DHCPv6, or auto-configuration.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Are IPv6 addresses longer than IPv4?

Yes, IPv6 addresses are longer, using 128 bits compared to IPv4's 32 bits.
Janet White
Oct 10, 2023

Is IPv6 backward compatible with IPv4?

No, they are two distinct protocols. However, transition mechanisms allow for coexistence and communication between the two.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023

Are all new devices IPv6-ready?

Most modern devices support IPv6, but it's essential to check specific devices for compatibility.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 10, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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