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What is the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?

Arooj Fatima

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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An IPInternet Protocol address is a set of labeled numbers allotted to any device that is associated with a computer network that utilizes the Internet Protocol to communicate.

An IP address serves as an identifier for a particular device on a specific network.

There are two types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.

What is IPv4?

IPv4 represents version 4 of the Internet Protocol. This updated version is the commonly used form for IP addresses.

It is a 32-bit address written in four numbers that are separated by the period (.) symbol (e.g., 65.93.29.1365.93.29.13). Each device has a different IPv4 address.

The figure below shows some of the properties of IPv4.

What is IPv6?

IPv4 provides four billion addresses, but these addresses are not enough to uniquely identify every device on the internet.

IPv6 stands for Internet Protocol version 66, which is the sixth improvement of the Internet Protocol and the heir to IPv4.

It works similarly to IPv4 in that it provides the different IP addresses required for Internet-enabled devices to communicate. However, it has an important exception: it uses a 128128-bit IP address.

The figure below shows some of the properties of IPv6.

IPv4 versus IPv6

The following table highlights some of the differences between the two internet protocols.

IPv4

Length of Address

3232-bit address length.

Method of Addressing

Numeric address where binary bits are divided by a period (.).

Address Configuration

Provides manual and DHCPDynamic Host Configuration Protocol configuration.

Number of IP Addresses

Limited number of IP addresses, i.e., 44 billion.

Virtual Length Subnet Mask

Supports VLSMVirtual Length Subnet Mask which means it can convert IP addresses into different sizes of subnets.

End to End Connection Integrity

End-to-end connection integrity can be achieved.

Security

Does not provide security.

Address Representation

Expressed in decimal notation.

Fragmentation

Achieved by senders and forwarding routers.

Authentication

Does not provide authentication and encryption.

IPv6

Length of Address

128128-bit address length.

Method of Addressing

Alphanumeric address where binary bits are divided by a colon (:).

Address Configuration

Provides manual, DHCPDynamic Host Configuration Protocol , auto-configuration, and renumbering.

Number of IP Addresses

A massive number of IP addresses, i.e., 340340 undecillion different addresses.

Virtual Length Subnet Mask

Does not support VLSMVirtual Length Subnet Mask which means it cannot convert IP addresses into different sizes of subnets.

End to End Connection Integrity

End-to-end connection integrity can not be achieved.

Security

IPsecInternet Protocol Security provides security.

Address Representation

Expressed in hexadecimal notation.

Fragmentation

Fragmentation is achieved by senders only in IPv6.

Authentication

Provides authentication and encryption.

Advantages of IPv6

Some of the main advantages of IPv6 over IPv4 are listed below:

  • Auto-configuration.
  • Header format is simpler.
  • NATNetwork Address Translation is not required anymore.
  • Simpler and more efficient routing.
  • Private address collisions are not needed.
  • Multicast routing is improved.

RELATED TAGS

communitycreator
ip address
ipv4
ipv6

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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