What is IPv4 and IPv6
Before discussing IPv4 and IPv6, it is necessary to first discuss what is meant by IP. IP is an extension of the internet protocol which can determine the data path in the network so that data can be transferred to the right destination address.
The data is transferred through networks and computers, then divided into several “bits” called data packets. Data packages support the data transfer process to be more effective. Each packet contains a source and destination IP address. An IP address is an identity that is only owned by devices connected to the internet or computer networks.
IPv4 is an extension of internet protocol version 4. IPv4 is the first most widely used IP address. This version of IP also prioritizes the most possible flow of data transmission although it does not guarantee the quality of data transmission and its services.
IPv4 has advantages as a protocol that is able to transfer packets via alternative routes even when the connection is hampered or the router is having problems. In addition, IPv4 can also run even without a connection.
In IPv4, sending data packets can be done without having to make sure the destination device is ready. This IP address uses 32-bit, which is the most common format for IP addresses. This IP consists of four decimal digits separated by three dots ranging from 0 to 255.
For example, address 188.8.131.52. Each number separated by a dot is called an octet. Within the scope of today’s computer networks, computers do not understand IP addresses in standard numeric format because computers only understand numbers in binary form. Binary numbers can only be 1 or 0.
IPv4 consists of four sets which represent octets. The bits in an octet represent a number. Each bit in the octet can be a number 1 or 0. If using bit 1 then the number it represents can be counted, whereas if it is 0 then the number it represents is not counted.
IPv6 is the generation of IP addresses. IPv6 is referred to as the next generation internet protocol which has a function similar to internet protocol version 4, providing a special address for all devices connected to the internet using a 128-bit address.
The 128-bit address space has about 340 undecillion addresses or 1,028 times more than IPv4’s previous generation. This IP address can contain numbers and letters, written in eight groups of four-digit hexadecimal numbers, and separated by colons.
The IPv6 example is as follows.
The advantages possessed by IPv6 include being able to load more addresses, IPv6 has a simpler header than IPv4. The IP header is the meta information at the start of the IP packet. The IPv6 header has a new format designed to minimize header overhead.
IPv4 and IPv6 functionality
The following IPv4 and IPv6 functions include them.
- Supports networkless protocols.
- Can create a virtual communication layer between different devices.
- Low storage usage and easy to remember addresses.
- This protocol is supported by millions of devices.
- Can store more than four billion IP addresses.
- Use routing infrastructure and user addressing systematically.
- Support QoS or Quality of Service.
- IPv6 is the best protocol for node interaction.
- Ability to store an almost unlimited number of IP addresses.
Why There’s IPv4 and IPv6
A large number of IP addresses can be created for IPv4 addresses. However, only 4.3 billion is not enough to accommodate all connected devices worldwide, not to mention the emergence of Internet of Things devices.
Therefore IPv6 is here to meet more needs for IP addresses on the internet. Even so, IPv4 is still needed and used on devices. There are a number of major content providers such as Netflix and Facebook.
Only 19.1% of the total ten million best Alexa websites can be reached via IPv6, the rest still use IPv4. Then to switch to full use of IPv6 takes a very long time.
Difference between IPv4 and IPv6
Here are some differences between IPv4 and IPv6 to know.
|headers length||20 bytes||40 bytes|
|Number of headers||12||8|
|Checksum field||There is||There isn’t any|
|Variable length subnet mask (VLSM) support||Supports VLSM||Does not support VLSM|
|addressing method||IPv4 has numeric addresses||IPv6 is just an alphanumeric address|
|Address type||Broadcast, multicast, and unicast||Anycast, multicast and unicast|
|Number of classes||It has five different classes namely A, B, C, D, and E.||Unlimited number of IP addresses|
|Routing information protocol (RIP)||IPv4 is supported by RIPv1 and RIPv2||IPv6 is supported by RIPng|
|DNS records||IPv4 has A records||IPv6 has AAAA records|
|Simple network management protocol (SNMP)||Support included||Not supported|
|Minimum package size||576 bytes||1208 bytes|
|Optional fields||There is||None, but has extension headers|
|Address mask||Used for the specified network from the host portion||Do not use address masks|
|Package fragmentation||Performed by the sender and the forwarding router||Only done by the sending router|
|Security||IPv4 security is application dependent||IPv6 has internet protocol security (IPSec) built in|
|Network configuration||Manually configured network via DHCP||Has automatic configuration capability|
|Local subnet group management||IPv4 uses the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)||IPv6 uses multicast listener discovery (MLD)|
|Package headers||IPv4 does not identify packet flow for QoS handling, including the checksum option.||The flow label field defines the flow of packets for QoS handling|
|Dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP)||Users must engage DHCP when trying to connect to the network.||Users do not need to contact any server as they will be assigned a permanent address.|
|Configuration||Users must configure a new system so that IPv4 can communicate with other systems.||Optional configuration depends on the required function.|
|mapping||IPv4 uses the address resolution protocol (ARP)||IPv6 uses the neighbor discovery (ND) process for address resolution.|
|Mobility and interoperability||Using a network topology that is relatively limited, limiting mobility and interoperability.||IPv6 provides mobility and interoperability capabilities embedded in network devices.|
When to Use IPv6
There are several reasons to switch to using IPv6. First, IPv4 prices tend to be expensive because the number of requests and offers can determine the price. Second, there are several drawbacks to using NAT instead of IPv6.
These weaknesses, for example, NAT was developed as a temporary technology so that its performance cannot be relied upon optimally for some protocols and applications. Some cases show that using IPv6 is the right answer.
Switching to IPv6 could increase the opportunities for future internet growth. Even the transition to using IPv6 has already begun. Based on a Google report, the use of IPv6 in the world currently reaches 37%.
Many companies engaged in internet services or ISPs, cellular operators, and other large companies are starting to switch to using IPv6. Apart from that, this transition was also supported by many websites and users upgrading both software and hardware to IPv6.