Home Tech IPv4 Vs IPv6: A Complete Definitive Comparision Guide

IPv4 Vs IPv6: A Complete Definitive Comparision Guide

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The exponential growth in the demand of the internet has forced the users to think about the Internet Protocol or the IP. There are different variants of the Internet Protocol such as IPv4 or IPv6, in this article, we will be going to discuss ipv4 vs ipv6 comparison between protocols and find out which one is better for you.

What is IP?

IP stands for Internet Protocol is a protocol or one can say “a set of rules” which aims to move your data across the networks and sends it to the target location. It governs the exchange or transmission of data between devices on a separate network.

When you send data to a target location via the internet, that data is stratified and then transformed into packets as they can’t be transported in one go.

After the completion of the division process, destination IP tags are pasted to it and then the transportation process starts.

Another thing that the readers need to know is that every system has a unique Internet Protocol.

Follow these steps to check your IP configuration in Windows 10.

Step 1: Launch the Command Prompt by either searching it out from the start menu or by the RUN box(Win + R), type “cmd” and hit enter.

Step 2: type the “ipconfig” command and hit enter.

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if you are using the mac, open the terminal by searching in the spotlight search (Press command Key + Space bar) or directrly open from the terminal and enter the below command.

For wired connection enter the  ipconfig getifaddr en1 command

For Wireless connection, enter the ipconfig getifaddr en0

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The reason for assigning an IP address to each computer or server is to ensure that the packet is sent to a target location without it getting lost in the way.

What is IPv4?

After the introduction of Internet Protocols in the early 1980s, the developer for some reason added “v4” to the first version. Being almost 40 years old IPv4 protocol is still serving the internet savvy Millenials.

IPv4 Vs IPv6 A Complete Comparision Guide

There can be 4 billion unique addresses in IPv4 and at this moment all of those 4 billion unique addresses are used.

Internet Protocol v4 is a 32-bit long number, which has different classes and is separated by dots(.).

Their usual format is “x.x.x.x” in this x is a number ranging from 0 to 255. In this value of a single entity, “x” in this case, is 8-bits. Which then is multiplied with 4 as there are four entities to make the whole protocol 32-bit long.

Another thing that you should know, most of us are still not using IPv6. You might be wondering didn’t I say that all the 4 billion unique addresses that IPv4 is providing are used? Yes, they are, but you still are able to send the message to a target location because of Network Address Translation or NAT.

NAT or Network Address Translation:-

NAT or Network Address Translation is used to translate a set of IP address to another set of IP address. It is used to overcome the scarcity of IPv4 addresses.

Before understanding the working of NAT we should first understand what private and public addresses are.

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Public Addresses are publicly registered on the internet. You can not go on the internet without any public IP address.

On the other hand, Private IP addresses are different they are not publicly registered and you can’t access the internet with just this IP. They are only used internally such as in one’s home or business.

Your router assigns your devices a private IPs. For example, you might have different devices connected to a single router, so, they need a public IP address to use the internet.

Now, the router to which these devices are connected will provide them the private IP address. Then these private IP addresses will be translated by NAT in the router to the one public IP address that we have been assigned. 

Limitations of IPv4:-

Even though IPv4 has served the users for almost 4 decades now, but there are some flaws that need our attention.

1. Address space shortage

Over the years, the demands for the internet has seen exponential growth, which leads to scarcity of address space. After doing every possible permutation and combination IPv4, now is failing in proving IP addresses.

2. Insecure Communication

IPv4 has security problems as it was designed with no security patches. To know the reason we should have a look at the history of the Internet.

The internet was first developed to serve the US military’s private use and later on, it was made available for the common users, therefore, they didn’t consider any security patches.

3. Slow speed

When IPv4 was introduced its speed was highly appreciated but looking at it now after the decades of human development one can easily say that it is fast enough to meet the current requirements.

Future of IPv4:-

The dawn of IPv6 will eventually lead to the fall of IPv4 but the day is long.

Because of the growing population and the demand of the internet IPv4 address isn’t able to meet their needs, NAT is an alternative but isn’t very prominent. Therefore, developers are trying to push IPv6.

Therefore manufacturers are trying to make devices, servers, and router compatible with IPv6 and then they will start rolling them out.

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the latest version of Internet Protocol. As there are certain limitations of IPv4 as mentioned earlier, a new protocol IPv6 was introduced in the 1990s.

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This protocol is 128-bit long because of this it provides whopping 340 undecillion addresses. 

IPv6 is divided into 8 groups containing four hexadecimal entities.

Sample IPv6 address:3ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf

The developers are pushing this protocol therefore, it is fair to say it as a future of Internet Protocol.

IPv4 Vs IPv6: What’s The Difference

It is time to rectify and answer the age-old discussion “IPv4 vs IPv6”. 

IPv4 provides just 4 billion unique addresses, which might sound a lot but after doing a few statistics, permutation and combinations you will realize that it is not enough to serve all the computers in the world and to provide them with a unique address and without a unique address you can not ensure that the packet will reach the target destination.

But as mentioned earlier, the IPv6 provides a 128-bit address which allows almost 340 undecillion addresses which is enough for every person on earth to have billions of addresses for every device they own.

Apart from the necessity of using IPv6 because of lack of address in IPv4, the IPv6 users will get additional features which IPv4 users won’t, they are:-

Autoconfiguration:-

If you want your IPv6 address to be generated automatically the moment you turn your device then you should be looking at the new feature introduced in IPv6 called Autoconfiguration. This speeds up the process of establishing a network. 

First of all the device will scan for an IPv6 router, then after getting the knowledge of its presence it will create a local address and a global address, which will help the device to access the different networks.

But this is not the case in IPv4 as the process is not automatic and eventually is slower than IPv6 in the creation of a network.

Multiple connections at a time:-

Because of the fact that in the IPv6, systems can communicate, exchange, and make use of information at one time, automatic assigning of multiple IPs is possible which eventually allows a device to have multiple connections at a particular time.

Quicker(or not?):-

Theoretically speaking IPv6 is faster than IPv4. But theories are not true all the time. The developers claim that since there is no need for IPv6 to undergo the whole Network Address Translation process it should be quicker its v4 variant. 

But one needs also consider the fact that IPv6 works with larger packets, therefore, it may lack in speed a bit.

According to some of the researchers, there is no particular difference in terms of speed among IPv6 and IPv4 at this point in time because IPv6 is a lot younger and will increase its speed after undergoing the kind of optimization that IPv4 has gone through.

More Secure(or Will be):-

Again this is a close call but what makes an IP secure or any other communication protocol for that matter is the encryption technique that it has used.

IPv6 works on the IPsec technique, in this technique the data is randomly jumbled in a non-readable format, so that, the hacker can’t retrieve your personal information.

IPsec is used commonly but still, the use is not enough to make it as common as SSL because of the fact that, in order to change the encryption technique one needs to change the computing resources which according to some businesses is not economical.

IPsec technique is not reserved for IPv6 only it can be used on IPv4 as well, therefore, one can not say which one is more secure.

According to some developers, IPv6 is a bit more insecure than the IPv4 because of the fact that it is the transitional phase.

Since the technology is in a transitional phase many Internet Service Providers tend to use Tunnel Broker to provide the users with IPv6 which is not very secure technology. But the developers have promised to make IPv6 more secure.

Another celebrated feature that made IPv6 insecure is autoconfiguration. Since this feature enables automatic IP generation with the help of MAC addresses, hackers can easily track the created unique identifier. This is a very unusual threat as your OS has protection installed.

Does VPN not support IPv6

If you are into using a VPN and want ultimate privacy then you might want to stick to IPv4 at this moment. If your website has an IPv6 address then your customer might not be able to use a VPN on it. To understand this let’s understand the IPv6 leak.

Since the development of IPv6 is in the transitional phase the VPN developers haven’t consider developing a tunnel for IPv6. Therefore, if your Internet Service provider is providing you with an IPv6 address then you might have to face an IPv6 leak.

Which is more common IPv4 or IPv6, and why

Even though developers are trying to push IPv6 over IPv4 but they still aren’t able to do that and most of us are still using IPv4.

The reason is compatibility, in order for the ISPs to start using IPv6 the router manufacturer, telecom developers, and other internet providers must come to the same page.

The transition is a transitional process and permanent migration is in process, but it will take years and years to achieve that.

According to the Internet Society, among 195 nations of the world, only 24 countries use 15% of their IPs as IPv6 and rest are still using IPv4. Therefore, one can easily assume that the process is slow but will eventually get there.

How to disable IPv6 and IPv4 on Windows 10

Even though, we don’t recommend doing this as there are some applications that run on IPv6 but still for some technical or experimental reason you want to do that they follow the prescribed steps.

To disable IPv4 and/or IPv6 use the following steps.

Step 1: Launch Settings by start menu and then clicking on the settings icon placed at the bottom-left side of the menu.

Step 2: From the appeared screen click on the “Network and Sharing” option.

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Step 3: Now, click on “Change Adapter Option” under change your settings.

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Step 4: Right-click on the Wifi option from the appeared screen and then click on “properties” from the appeared list.

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Step 5: You will be redirected to the Wifi Properties, there, under the section titled “This connection”, you need to un-tick “Internet Protocol Version 6(IPv6)” and/or “Internet Protocol Version 4(IPv4)”, and then click “OK”.

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Restart your computer in order to confirm the setting changes. Now, you have disabled your computer’s IPv6 and/or IPv4.

Note: We don’t recommend you doing that as there are some applications that need that.

How to disable IPv6 on MAC:-

We are going to disable IPv6 from the network preferences, but before that, you need to do one thing.

Launch the terminal window and then type “networksetup -setv6off Wi-Fi” and hit enter. (If you are on an ethernet connection then replace that Wifi with ethernet)

You will see a security box, titled “network setup is trying to modify the system network configuration”, you need to type your password there and click on “modify configuration”.

Step 1: First we need to go into our Network Preferences under the system preferences.

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Step 2: Now you will be redirected to the Network portal, there you need to select “Wifi” and then click on “Advanced…”.

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Step 3: Now under the TCP/IP tab, you will see “configure IPv6” click on that select off.

You can even turn the IPv6 with the same steps.

Note: this is not recommended.

If you are terminal over then, type in command networksetup -setv6off “Wi-Fi”. If you are using Ethernet as well, type in networksetup -setv6off Ethernet.

Wrap-up:-

In this article, we have converted the Internet Protocol version 6 and 4 and ipv4 vs ipv6 comparison. Let’s wrap thing up by looking at a few key points from the article:-

  • The Internet Protocol abbreviated as IP is used to governs the exchange or transmission of data between devices on a separate network
  • IPv4 is the version four of internet protocol which is a 32-bit long number, and are separated by dots(.). Their usual format is “x.x.x.x” in this x is a number ranging from 0 to 255. In this value of a single entity, “x” in this case, is 8-bits.
  • NAT or Network Address Translation is used in IPv4 to translate a set of IP address to another set of IP address.
  • IPv6 is 128-bit long because of this it provides whopping 340 undecillion addresses. And is divided into 8 groups containing four hexadecimal entities.

When it comes to differences between IPv6 and IPv4, on paper IPv6 is way ahead of IPv4 because of its Autoconfiguration and IPsec feature but since the technology is in the transitional phase therefore there is no practical difference.

To disable IPv6 and IPv4 in Windows 10, launch Settings, then click on Network and Sharing>Change Adapter option>Wifi>Properties and then untick Internet Protocol Version 6(IPv6) and/or Internet Protocol Version 4(IPv4).

To disable IPv6 in MAC, launch terminal and type  “networksetup -setv6off Wi-Fi” and hit enter. The head to Wifi icon>Network Preferences>Wifi>Adavanced>TCP/IP>Configure IP and then turn it off.

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