Wednesday, December 7, 2022

IPv4 vs. IPv6: What’s The Difference?

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There are two Internet Protocol (IP) sorts: IPv4 and IPv6. The former is presently way more widespread, however they’re each IP addresses that present the identical perform, which is to permit your laptop, cellphone, and different community units to speak with servers and extra over the web.

You’ve most likely by no means had an IPv4-related concern that stopped you from logging on, so that you may marvel why IPv6 is even a factor. What does an upgraded IP do? Is IPv6 higher than IPv4?

World map showing connections

KTSDESIGN / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Let’s take a look at what these phrases imply and the way they’re totally different.

What IPv4 and IPv6 Mean

IPv4 stands for IP model 4. It began being utilized in 1983 and continues to be broadly used in the present day. You’ve most likely seen an IPv4 tackle—they’re introduced in dot-decimal notation like this, the place there are 4 sections of numbers separated by intervals:

IPv6 stands for IP model 6. It was launched in 1994 and was designed to finally exchange IPv4, however is presently used along side it. An IPv6 tackle appears to be like quite a bit totally different from an IPv4 tackle as a result of it could possibly embrace letters and separates its sections with colons. IPv6 makes use of eight 16-bit hexadecimals:


Why There Are Two

IP model 6 was created to enhance on the restrictions of IPv4. Although the second iteration was launched a mere decade after the primary, the first cause it is wanted is due to the expansive nature of the web. 

One manner IPv6 is totally different than IPv4 is within the construction of the tackle. Instead of permitting a 32-bit tackle like IPv4, IPv6 helps 128-bit addresses. Beyond the 0-9 digits that IPv4 helps, IPv6 accepts letters a-f. With every further bit, the tackle house (the entire variety of distinctive IP addresses) doubles in measurement. 

What this implies is that extra IP addresses will be created with IPv6 vs IPv4. While the previous is restricted to simply over 4 billion, IPv6 can create 340 undecillion distinctive addresses (that’s 340 billion billion billion billion!).

If we fake that each single particular person on Earth has only one gadget that wants entry to the web, billions of units could be refused entry instantly in an IPv4-only world. Plus, as extra units are added to the web each day—like smartwatches, telephones, automobiles, and fridges—it’s clear that the 4 billion IP tackle limitation set by IPv4 merely gained’t reduce it without end.

Governing authorities restrict what number of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses can be found for public use, however there’s nonetheless far extra IPv6 IP tackle mixtures than IPv4. It’s extremely unlikely that we’ll run out of them anytime quickly.

Other Differences Between IPv6 and IPv4

A bigger tackle house is not the one distinction between IPv4 and IPv6. Here are another distinctions:

IPv6 and IPv4 Differences
  IPv6 IPv4
Header Fields 8 12
Header Field Length 40 20
Has Checksum Fields No Yes
Transmission Types Unicast, multicast, anycast Unicast, broadcast, multicast
VLSM Support No Yes
Assignment Types DHCPv6 and static DHCP and static
Security Built-in IPSec assist Depends on the appliance
Automatic Configuration Yes No
Mapping Method NDP (Neighbor Discovery Protocol) ARP (Address Resolution Protocol)
Direct P2P Connections Yes No (due to Network Address Translation)

Is IPv6 More Secure Than IPv4?

Although IPv6 is newer and so that you may assume that all the pieces within the identify of safety can be higher, that is not fairly true. IPv6 and IPv4 each undergo from tackle flooding, man-in-the-middle assaults, packet captures, and extra.

IPv6 consists of built-in assist for IPSec (Internet Protocol Security), which is similar factor VPNs use to encrypt information. It may appear that IPSec instantly makes IPv6 superior, however IPSec implementation is just really helpful, not required. Plus, it may be used IPv4, too, so there’s little distinction there.

An auto-configuration function is supported by IPv6 which lets units generate an IP tackle primarily based on their MAC tackle. This might probably be utilized by hackers or third-party corporations to trace folks by their {hardware}.

However, IPv6 has the higher hand in terms of utilizing NDP vs ARP. IPv4 suffers from ARP-related points like spoofing, MAC flooding, and MAC duplicating. IPv6 improves on this through the use of the Secure Neighbor Discovery (SEND) protocol to safe NDP with cryptographically generated addresses. There’s much more on this in this Super User thread.

For most of us, the vital takeaway is that switching over to IPv6 will not repair the most important issues that plague internet-related exercise, like viruses, information theft, monitoring, and so on. While there are basic variations between how IPv6 and IPv4 work, loads of threats are nonetheless very actual whether or not you utilize IPv6 or IPv4.

What You Need to Do to Use IPv6

For end-users that aren’t working net providers or creating networking units, utilizing IPv6 as a substitute of IPv4 is admittedly only a ready sport. You needn’t put together your laptop for IPv6 or be taught something new about IP addresses basically.

There will not come a time if you’re immediately shut off from the web since you didn’t kind in an IPv6 tackle to exchange the previous IPv4 one. IPv6 and IPv4 will proceed to work facet by facet till IPv6 is out there for each gadget across the globe, which is able to take a few years to finish.

You can monitor Google’s stats on IPv6 adoption to see the upward development of IPv6 use by Google customers.

When the transition occurs at your property, in your cellphone, and so on., will probably be as seamless as your IPv4 tackle altering to a special one, one thing that occurs typically and that you simply by no means discover.

However, in case your gadget and ISP assist it, you’ll be able to swap over to IPv6 manually everytime you need. Look for the choice in your router’s settings.

Another space the place you may use an IPv6 tackle is when altering DNS servers. This record of free and public DNS servers embrace some examples of corporations that provide IPv6 variations of their DNS servers.

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