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Difference Between IPv6 and IPv4? Explained

All internet users know about IP (Internet Protocol). It is the IP which makes the internet to work.

At present, there are two IP versions, i.e., IPv4 and IPv6. IPv6 is an emerging and developing upgrading to the IP. The IPv4 was the first stable version of the Internet Protocol whereas, IPv6 has replaced IPv4.

The sixth version of Internet protocol got finalized in 1998. Today the internet users are still on the route of switching to the latest version of the IP.

There are many questions which might bother a user about their IP versions. Users might think what the need for switching the IP version is? How will it affect internet usage? Well! The simple answer is ‘’YES’’. There is a need to changing your IP version from IPv4 to IPv6, and it positively affects the users.

In this article, we are going to look carefully at how both IP versions differ from each other and which one is the best option to use.

IPv4: Working

The IPv4 uses a 32-bit address. It allows collecting more than 4 billion of the IP addresses. It is known as the primary IP, and it holds 94% of internet traffic.

Following are the features of IPv4:

  1. It has connectionless protocols.
  2. This IP version allows making a simple virtual communication layer over expanded devices.
  3. It provides the facility of video libraries and conferences.
  4. It has already supported protocols by millions of other devices.
  5. IPv4 needs less memory to remember the addresses.

IPv6: Introduction and working

It is the new version of Internet protocol. It is a result of fulfilling the need for more internet addresses. It intends to solve the problems with are linked with IPv4. It uses 128-bit address and is also known as Internet Protocol next generation (IPng).

The IPv6 is becoming favorite day by day. Many modern routers and operating systems are providing support for the protocol. Also, ISPs are rolling out IPv6 capabilities to most of the users at all time. The major ISPs are also offering some functionality of IPv6, even though they are deploying it at different rates around the developing world.

Following are the features of IPv6:

  1. IPv6 offers hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure.
  2. It provides a stateless configuration.
  3. This version supports quality of service.
  4. It is an ideal protocol for neighboring node interaction.

Differences Between IPv4 and IPv6:

The following points highlight the significant difference between the two versions of the Internet Protocol. Let’s have a look:

IPv4:

  • It is a 32-bit IP address.
  • It has 12 header fields
  • The IPv4 is a numeric IP address whose binary bits are separated by a dot.
  • It uses the SNMP protocol for system management.
  • The types of IP addresses are unicast, multicast, and broadcast.
  • It uses address mask for the designated network from the host portion.
  • It has optional fields.
  • Users have to configure a recently installed system before it communicates with some other systems.
  • It supports Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM).
  • It offers five different classes of IP addresses.

IPv6:

  • It is a 128-bit IP address.
  • It has eight header fields.
  • The IPv6 is an alphabetic IP address whose binary bits are separated by colons.
  • The IPv6 doesn’t support the SNMP protocol.
  • The type of IP addresses is unicast, multicast, and anycast.
  • It does not use any address mask.
  • It doesn’t have any optional fields but does have extension headers.
  • In this version, the configuration is optional.
  • It does not support VLSM.
  • It allows an unlimited number of IP addresses.

Which is Better to Use? IPv4 or IPv6?

Of course, in all ways, IPv6 is a better option than IPv4. The main reason to switch to IPv6 is that IPv4 just had 4 billion IP addresses which mean in future the demand for more IP addresses will eventually increase.

 Users won’t run out of IP addresses while using the IPv6 network.

The more significant number of IP addresses in IPv6 network means that every device can have its address. At present, routers do have a unique address, and the individual devices which are connected to these routers are given a common address. The data sent to the router is then redirecting to its final destination from there.

Furthermore, it is better to use IPv6 because it is efficient and effective than IPv4. IPv6 has better routing functionality, better support for P2P networking, and simplification in data packet headers is all much improved and better than IPv4.

Which is More Secure? IPv4 or IPv6?

The IPv6 is equally safe and secure as IPv4. When Ipv6 got launched, it compels the companies to use IPSec (an encryption standard) and encrypt internet traffic. Because of encryption, anyone who wishes to intercept the internet traffic is unable to read it.

For encrypting and decrypting data computer resources are needed and which means that money is also required. The IPSec can be implemented on IPv4 too, and it proves that the security of both versions is equally the same.

Some experts often argue that the users of IPv6 are more at risk than those who use the IPv4 network. There are ISPs which uses transition technologies, i.e., IPv6 tunnels. These technologies make users vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

ISPs usually used tunnel broker to give users their IPv4 network access to IPv6 content. By using the packet injection and reflection attacks, hackers can target the IPv6 tunnel. However, the performance of tunnel brokers differs from each other. Some might provide better security than the other.

The auto-configuration is another security issue which comes with IPv6. The auto-configuration allows devices to allocate themselves the IP addresses without the need for a server. All these addresses are created by using a device’s unique MAC address. Every computer, phone, and router does have this MAC address.

The MAC address creates a unique identifier which third-parties use to track specific users and recognize their hardware. Operating systems like Windows, MAC OSX, IOS devices by default have enabled privacy extensions so that it won’t trouble the users.

Does IPv6 Affect VPNs?

On IPv4 network, all VPNs operate exclusively. If a user submits a request for any website which defaults to an IPv6 address so, it will solve it by using an IPv6 DNS server which is outside the VPN’s network.

The process is known as IPV6 leak. It can disclose the user’s original location to a geographically blocked site and app like Netflix. Moreover, if the website is set up in a way that it detects such leaks so, it might prevent you from viewing the content.

There are few VPN providers which support IPv6 networks. The main reason is the extra cost of running an IPv6 DNS server. To get on board with IPv6, the users are recommended to first disable it from their phones, tablets, and computer. The option is available in the internet connection setting based on the device being used.

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