IPv4 vs IPv6 Comparison: There’s a buzz on the Internet: a brand new web technology offers a more speedy, secure web browsing experience. It’s known as IPv6. However, it turns out that this technology isn’t brand new at all; it’s been steadily spreading across the web since 1998, awaiting its time to shine. The IP technology transmits information across 128 bits and vastly increases over IPv4’s 32-bit predecessor. So what does this mean to the majority of Internet users? When you take it apart from the technology, it becomes clear that this mysterious one is much more simple and accessible than what it appears at first.
In the beginning, it’s essential for people who are just beginning to get online to understand that the Internet is based on a set of protocols that enable computers to communicate with each other. Both computers need to be identified as part of networks for one computer to transmit information to another computer. These identifiers are known as the computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.
It has been the standard method computers have employed to communicate with one another since the advent of IPv4 in the 1990s. It replaced the TCL protocol used in the 70s and 80s. It’s also important to realize that IPv4 addresses are very restricted — only 4,294,967 exist. If you take all the phones, computers, gaming consoles, smartwatches, and tablets connected to the Internet, this amount is tiny!
What is IPv4?
IPv4 refers to Internet Protocol version 4; it was first announced in 1983 by the U.S. government 1983 as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). It succeeds TCL and is built in 32 bits binary code, which can be represented in hexadecimal number code, commonly referred to as Hex Code. Each hex code line specifies the address of every network linked to the ISP and the specific device connected to the network.
What is IPv6?
IPv6 is the successor to IPv4. However, they are two completely different creatures. The most significant difference between these two protocols is how the IP address is written. The Internet Society provides a simple example of these differences, explaining, “The IPv6 address notation is eight groups of four hexadecimal digits with the groups separated by colons, for example, 2001:db8:1f70:999:de8:7648:3a49:6e8, although there are methods to abbreviate this notation. For comparison, the IPv4 notation is four groups of decimal digits with the groups separated by dots, for example, 198.51.100.1.”
Moving between the two is similar to switching between Latin in Latin to English; IPv6 is similar in that it functions like IPv4. It has certain of the same roots but is an entirely different terminology. Note it is true that IPv4 and IPv6 don’t talk to one another at all. This is because most modern computers include an IP address compatible with both internet versions.
However, an IPv4 number does not communicate with an IPv6 address and reverse. If one provider of internet services gives one network device an IPv4 address and another IPv6 address, this is known as “dual stacking” or “dual IP stacking.”
IPv4 vs IPv6 Comparison: Which One Is More Faster?
Since the binary codes are 128 bits within one IPv6 address, instead of 32 bits of IPv4, which is a lot more, there’s a potentially endless virtual space that networks as well as devices to use within an IPv6-based Internet because it’s impossible to explore all the possible combinations and variants.
To comprehend the benefits of IPv6 on a larger scale, it’s essential to understand that numerous corporate and residential networks have hidden huge amounts of computers and internet-connected devices in the shadow of an IPv4 address, using a technique known as Network Address Translation (NAT). In essence, NAT is a separate network that functions as a buffer between the network and the ISP, allowing multiple devices to connect to one IPv4 network address, even if they’re not physically located in the same area.
Naturally, when an additional layer of networking is involved, it will slow data transfer speed. Implementing IPv6 by a network administrator will mean that NAT is not needed since the networked devices can communicate with all devices on the network and speed up their process. However, in practice, this may not be the case, at the very least, for now. Infoblox analyzes the speed differences between the two protocols, pointing out that, in some instances, IPv6 can be slower than IPv4.
Avast clarifies the possible reasons behind this by pointing out that IPv6 has larger packets, which can slow things down. Beyond that, Avast explains that IPv6 networks will become more efficient as the adoption increases and, consequently, it is putting more effort into enhancing the performance of the technology. Therefore, in the future, IPv6 will outpace IPv4, although it might never be always the best alternative at this point in the future.
Is IPv6 an innovative technology?
You’ve likely visited various IPv6 and IPv4-based websites over the last two decades. However, the interval between the time a brand innovative Internet Protocol technology is invented and when established Internet service providers widely use it is quite lengthy. The reason is that IP technology is a fundamental element of the Internet’s infrastructure.
IPv4-trained experts are more adept at working with the existing infrastructure, and it’s usually significant in the event of an alteration to the existing infrastructure, especially when it’s this large and scale. Making the change within an existing ISP’s network has expenses that are hard to quantify; however, even while IPv6 is more secure and has built-in security, a large change could cause new problems for the service provider’s operations and the financial bottom account.
Additionally, many network engineers who work using IPv4 might only be familiar with it, and up to around a decade ago, there was probably no financial incentive to learn the ropes. As a result, it took about 25 years to get IPv6 to arrive at a stage where it’s highly desirable to companies on a big enough scale.
IPv4 vs IPv6 Comparison: Both Are Different.
IPv6 isn’t only an upgrade to a brand new protocol; it’s an entirely different approach to how the Internet functions on the fundamental level. On the other hand, it’s significantly more extensible, giving endless opportunities to expand and extend an entire network, along with that of the Internet and its customers.
But, on the other hand, it took an extended time to get the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to develop and release IPv6. As a result, it’s not much to motivate the internet providers to abandon NAT or, at the very least, add dual stacking. It is still a huge amount of work, time, and cash to implement in an IPv4-based network.
The Internet is reaching an uncharted territory — you can connect modern routers and systems to IPv6 networks, and an awe-inspiring increase in IPv6 is expected to occur quickly. Not only does IPv6 aid in helping to avoid the huge IP address apocalypse which could be happening in 2019, but it also provides an improved and more scalable technology.
When implemented safely, features like IPsec (IP security) can simplify the operation of networks and be more efficient overall. But there’s work to be completed. As of March 18th, 2021, FedTech announced that only 41 percent of the U.S. government’s IP-enabled domains were IPv6-based, in addition to the fact that the government had set a plan to achieve 80percent IPv6-only coverage in 2025. That is why IPv6 is often called a new-gen and a next-gen Internet Protocol technology.