Every internet user comes across these two terminologies i.e. IPv4 and IPv6. So what exactly are they? What do they mean? How do they differ from each other?
Well these are two generations of Internet Protocols where IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol version 4 and IPv6 for Internet Protocol version 6.
IPv4 is a protocol for practice on packet-switched Link Layer networks (e.g. Ethernet). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based inter-networking methods in the Internet, and was the first version implemented for production in the ARPANET in 1983. IPv4 uses 32-bit source and destination address fields which limits the address space to 4.3 billion addresses. This limitation encourages the development of IPv6 in the 1990s.
On the other hand, IPv6 is more advanced and has better features as compared to IPv4. It has the ability to offer an infinite number of addresses. It is replacing IPv4 to lodge the growing number of networks worldwide and help resolve the IP address exhaustion problem. IPv6 was developed & implemented by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
IPv6 utilizes 128-bit Internet addresses. Therefore, it can support up to 2^128 Internet addresses i.e. 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to be exact. That’s a lot of addresses, so many that it requires a hexadecimal system to display the addresses. In other words, there are more than enough IPv6 addresses to keep the Internet operational for the entire solar system.
The Benefits of IPv6
While increasing the pool of addresses is one of the most often-talked about benefit of IPv6, there are other important technological changes in IPv6 that will improve the IP protocol:
- No more NAT (Network Address Translation)
- No private address collisions
- Better multicast routing
- Simpler header format
- Built-in authentication and privacy support
- Flexible options and extensions
Have a look at the infograph :