Jan 8, 2023 1 min read

IPv4 and IPv6 Differences

IPv4 and IPv6 Differences

Internet protocol version 4 (IPv4) is one of the most commonly used protocols and serves as an internationally recognized standard using for the internet. It was developed in the United States in the 1980’s by the Defense Advanced Research Project (DARPA). IPv4 allows for the formation of a system that uses logical addresses to send and receive network traffic. IPv4 served as the foundation of the very first version of the internet known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) in 1983 (Hiley, 2022). Below is a diagram that illustrates how a IPv4 address is designed.

IPv4 is a 32 bit numerical address separated into four octets by a decimal, each one octet being byte (e.g. Because IPv4 uses only a 32 bit numerical address it is inherently limited to around 4.2 billion addresses. Hundreds of millions of these addresses are are what are known as reserved addresses for private services. This reduces the total number of available addresses for the public to use. Because of this limited supply there is a need to transition to internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) which is a complicated processes as IPv6 is not compatible with IPv4 (Geeks for Geeks, 2022).

IPv6 is the latest development of the internet protocol addressing standard which presents additional security features, scalability and many promising opportunities. IPv6 was released to the public in 2017 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Unliked its predecessor, IPv6 is a 128 bit hexadecimal address separated into eight quadrants, each being composed of two bytes (e.g. 1111:0ab8:0000:0000:0000:8b1e:0370:7777). Because IPv6 uses a 128 bit address the scalability is much larger than IPv4. It is estimated that there are more than 300 trillion IPv6 addresses available (Tech Target, 2020).

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