Everyone knows that every machine connected to the Internet has a unique address, and that is called an IP Address or IP in short. And since the evolution of the Internet in the early 80’s we have been using the IPv4 or the Internet Protocol version 4 to assign unique addresses to every computer on the Internet.
Difference between IPv4 and IPv6
In this post, I will tell you some of the basics that can be easy to understand. Before we make any difference between IPv4 and IPv6, we need to know some of the basics of IPv4. And finally, I will tell you the difference between these two at the primary level.
To begin with, let us check the IP address of our computer – it looks something like this: 127.128.165.255.
Looking at it for the first time makes no sense, but actually, it does to all the routers that do the processing.
And here is how:
The IP address 127.128.165.255 equals 01111111100000001010010111111111.
If you count the number of bits, it equals 32. Therefore any IPv4 address is 32-bit long.
How is the conversion done?
The 32-bit 01111111100000001010010111111111 is broken down into four chunks, each of 8 bits.
It thus becomes 01111111-10000000-10100101-11111111.
When each 8-bit chunk is converted into decimal and separated by a dot (.), it becomes 127.128.165.255. The last possible address on IPv4 is 255.255.255.255.
Now, when assigning each computer with a unique IP address, the possible numbers are two power 32 equals approximately 4.29 billion. Therefore only 4.29 billion people on earth will use the Internet then. However, there are 5.5 billion mobile phones already! In this way, this addressing system is beginning to get exhausted. The IPv6 or the Internet Protocol version 6 was introduced to overcome this.
IPv6 is a 128-bit long address called a successor of IPv4 and is deployed to upgrade the internet protocol. As we have seen, IPv4 is separated by a dot each after three intervals. In the case of 128 bit IPv6, the separation is done using a colon (:).
Therefore an IPv6 address looks like this : 3aae:1901:4545:3000:200a:fff:fe21:6741
The total number of possible addresses using IPv6 is so long that every machine, including phones, computers, refrigerators, ovens, and so on, can now have a unique address.
To check out whether you are already on IPv6, click here.
This post on Enable or Disable IPv6 to solve Internet connectivity problems in Windows may also interest you.
Is IPv4 or IPv6 better?
IPV6 offers better end-to-end connectivity, multicast, and anycast abilities than IPv4. It has also been tested that sites using IPv6 load faster than those on IPv4. And as we are running out of IPv4, everyone will soon have to move to IPv6. Once everyone does that, we will see all the advanced features.
Will IPv6 make my Internet faster?
While it makes every faster, IPv6 carries a lot more data which can make things slow in some cases. As IPv6 becomes more common, the stack will be optimized, and things will improve.