Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

Before understanding difference between IPv4 and IPv6, you should know about the Internet Protocol (IP) or IP address. It is a unique code for the devices to communicate on the Internet. To date, there are two internet protocol versions, termed IP version 4 and IP version 6. IPv4 was introduced in 1980 to the public but came into effect after 1989 when Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. IPv6 was in the beginning phase of design and development in 1998, whereas it came into force in 2017. While there are various advantages and disadvantages, people are still confused between IPv4 and IPv6. In this article, let us investigate advantages of IPv6 over IPv4 and IPv4 v/s IPv6 examples.

Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

Here, we have shown difference between IPv4 and IPv6 protocols in detail.

What is the Internet Protocol?

Internet Protocol is a method of transferring data from one computer to another over the Internet. It uses a set of rules for routing the information from the host computer to travel through the networks to reach the destination computer. Data sent from the host computer is broken down into smaller parts called packets. Each packet includes the IP information of the destination computer. The IP information is called the IP address, assigned by the Internet to identify devices uniquely.

Types of Internet Protocols

The following are the types of internet protocols:

  • IP (Internet Protocol): Internet Protocol is a set of rules that allow computers to communicate with one another. The IP Protocol ensures that the computer is assigned a specific serial number called the IP address. The IP protocol has two versions: IPv4 and IPv6. Difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is what you will further read in the article.
  • TCP (Transfer Control Protocol): The Transfer Control Protocol breaks the data into smaller parts called packets and exchanges them over the Internet. It also ensures that the packets have information about the source data, destination, and sequence of the data. The TCP is further classified into four layers. First is the Application Layer, which ensures the data is received in the same format as it was sent from the host address. Second is the Transport Layer is in charge of smoothly transferring data from the host computer to the destination computer. It also makes sure to repair errors and control the flow of data. The third is the Internet Layer, which passes the packets from the host computer to the destination computer by connecting independent networks. Fourth is the Network Access Layer, which is responsible for the connection of the computers to the network.
  • UDP (User Data Protocol): The User Data Protocol is connectionless and unreliable. Since there is no connection, there is no system to ensure that the data is received. It can only move a small amount of data at a time. It contains the host and destination computer’s addresses to carry the data to the right spot.
  • POP3 (Post Office Protocol Version 3): POP3 consists of two message access agents (the client and the server). It helps manage and receive mail from the mailbox.
  • SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is designed primarily for sending mail. This protocol works on a set of rules with two programs, sending and receiving mail over the Internet.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): File Transfer Protocol allows the transfer of various file types from the host to the destination computer. These files can be text, multimedia, document, and programs.
  • HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol): HTTP is a protocol used to transfer special format data over the Internet, through the World Wide Web (www), that links other data like text or images. It ensures the proper structuring and transfer of data. It also determines the various actions required in response to the commands the user gives on the web browser.
  • HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure): HTTPS is an extended version of HTTP. It increases communication security over a network with Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security certificate. It is required in cases where the users need to share confidential details.
  • TELNET (Terminal Network): The Terminal Network protocol allows the connection of a system to another over a network. The host computer is called the local computer, whereas the destination computer is called the remote computer. This protocol helps log in to the destination computer via the host computer.

What is the IP Address?

An IP address is a unique number provided to the devices connected to the network to connect to the web. For example, 192. 168. 293. 10.

These addresses might be the same for people connected through wired connections or the modem at a workplace or home. But it is separated through NAT or National Address Translation when accessing public addresses. The modem/router works like a NAT to these IP addresses. It separates the device identity and responds to the devices differently when they want to access the Internet connected to it. Before learning IPv4 vs IPv6, let’s briefly look at the definition.

What is IPv4?

IPv4, or internet protocol version 4, was initially the first version of the Internet for the public use to access the web while getting a unique code for ensuring an identity to browse anything. It is a protocol to use on packet-switched Link Layer networks, which means it is designed for ethernet uses.

IPv4 uses a numeric value to assign the user’s identity on the web. IPV4 uses 32-bit to store its address which comes to 232, which comes to a humongous 4.3 billion addresses (or 4294967296 to be exact).

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is a new protocol with new advanced features to use the Internet and solve the IP address exhaustion problem that occurred in IPv4. IPv6 is a 128-bit IP address that supports 2128 addresses in the calculation, which leads to an infinite number of IP addresses that are hexadecimals separated through colons (:).

What is Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6?

It has been a while now, and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are forcing users to use IPv6 for smooth and stable connections through the routing channel. The user does not know whether they are using IPv4 or IPv6. To identify the difference between the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, here is IPv4 v/s IPv6 example.

  • IPv4:
  • IPv6: 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8888

To compare difference between IPv4 and IPv6, you can compile them in a chart.

IPv4 IPv6
32-bit address length 128-bit address length
4.3 billion address 340 undecillion address
Numeric address Hexadecimal address
Used for unicast, multicast, and broadcast Used for unicast, anycast, and multicast
Packet size: 576 bytes Packet size: 1208 bytes
0 to 255 in Number 0 to FFFF
Separated with a dot (.) Separated with a colon (:)
Consists of 4 octets and 8 bits Consists of 8 octets and 16 bits
Suitable with computers and laptops More compatible with mobile networks
Limited payload due to outdated prototype Bigger payload (Packet Carrying Capacity)
Example: Example: 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8888

Also Read: How to Fix DNS Server Not Responding Error

Advantages of IPv6 over IPv4

After learning what is difference between IPv4 and IPv6, let us look at advantages of IPV6 over IPv4. People still use IPv4 because of compatibility issues, maybe due to the network provider or older system sitting in the corner. IPv4 was at work from the time of LAN cables, and it was very hard for people to afford the technology to go wireless. But since the competition for mass production was at a peak, people started realizing the Internet was overriding, and they switched to a digital lifestyle after that. We have many advantages, and let us check those first.

  • IPv6 does not need any NAT (Network address translation) for accessing the web.
  • It has unlimited IP addresses.
  • There is a good option for flow labeling (Quality of Service).
  • It provides auto-configuration for devices.
  • Also, it has auto authentication and privacy certificate.
  • It is good for multicast routing.
  • Additionally, it has improved mobility and stable connection.
  • IPv6 is more compatible with mobile devices.
  • Websites launch 5% faster compared to IPv4.
  • For mapping, IPv6 uses NDP (Neighbor Discovery Protocol) to MAC address.
  • It does not have a checksum field.

IPv6 Statistics

As the newer version rolled out to the public, people now tend to use individual IPs for their work to avoid clusters. But according to Google Statistics, usage of IPv6 has been raised by 36.85% till 25th Oct 2022 from 0.14% on 4th Sep 2008. It shows that the ISPs are helping the changes come true but slowly.

Graphs of IPv6 adoption
Image from Google IPv6 Adoption

As countries are preparing for IPv6, Web 3.0 is under development by tech companies (NFT, Gaming, Crypto).

World map of IPv6 Adoption per country
Image from Google IPv6 adoption per country

After looking at the differences and advantages, read further to know what is better IPv4 or IPv6.

Also Read: Fix IPv6 Connectivity No Internet Access on Windows 10

What is Better IPv4 or IPv6?

The answer to this question is not necessarily straightforward, even though we have discussed a lot of advantages of IPv6 over IPv4. To decide which is better IPv4 or IPv6, you need to understand your requirements and the requirements of your network. If you are connecting to devices that mostly use IPv4 addresses, it would be better for you to use IPv4 addresses. It might also be better to use IPv4 addresses if you are only focusing on your present requirements and not thinking about the long-term expansion of your network. Overall, IPv6 is better, faster, more secure, and more technologically advanced. It has more features as well.

Also, adding to the points, IP address will be auto enabled and allotted to your device when connected to the Internet according to the state you live in or the services you choose.

IPv4 and IPv6 Together

Despite difference between IPv4 and IPv6, both continue to be in use. Both the IP versions have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. There are also advantages to using them together as well. In this approach, computers and routers run both protocols. Major network vendors support this kind of approach. It is called a Dual stack network. Tunneling and Network Address Translation are other approaches where the use of both IP addresses has turned out to be beneficial.

Who Uses IPv6?

As stated by Google, the global implementation of IPv4 is 34%. In the US, it is said to be 46%. Internet service providers and carrier networks are among the first users of IPv6. Huge companies like Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Telcom, and Comcast have shifted to Dual Stack Implementation, while Microsoft, CERNET, and T-Mobile have shifted to using IPv6. Budget, complexity, and time are factors you should consider before deciding to migrate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is IPv4 still in use?

Ans. As part of discussing IPv4 vs IPv6, you need to know the usage of IPv4. As mentioned earlier, IPv4 is on the verge of exhaustion. It has not been completely exhausted and is still in use because of its compatibility. IPv4 addresses are being sold and reused. There is no official shutdown of the IPv4 addresses. Although transitions are happening to IPv6, many sites have upgraded their system management for IPv6.

Q2. What is the difference between DNS and IP?

Ans. IP or Internet protocol address is just a number assigned to your device to connect it to the web, but DNS is Domain Name Service that translates the alphabetic name to the website IP address. For example, amazon.com is


We hope that this article was helpful and you have understood difference between IPv4 and IPv6. You can use the comment box to let us know if you have any queries or suggestions about any other topic you want us to work on next time.

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Elon Decker

Elon is a tech writer at TechCult. He's been writing how-to guides for about 6 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to cover topics related to Windows, Android, and the latest tricks and tips.

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