IPv4 and IPv6 Protocol

Home Articles IPv4 and IPv6 Protocol

· What is IP?

IP refers to Internet Protocol which specifies the technical format of packets and addressing scheme for the machine so that one machine can communicate with another machine in a network. Mostly, network links Internet Protocol (IP) with a higher-level protocol called TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) which establishes a virtual connection between the source machine and destination machine.

· Internet Protocol Versions

There are two types of Internet protocol that are IPv4 and IPv6. IPv6 protocol is the enhanced version of the IPv4 protocol.

  1. IPv4 Protocol

Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is used for identification of devices on the network with use of addressing system. This protocol is designed for use in interconnected systems of packet-switched computer communication networks. It is the most widespread protocol used over the globe for connecting devices in the network. It Uses a 32-bit address scheme which allows 232 IP addresses. IP Address form of IPv4 address is (32-bit address) (Shiranzaei & Zaman Khan, 2015).

  1. IPv6 Protocol

This is the enhanced version of the IPv4 which is developed to fulfilling the requirement for more Internet Addresses. It is also called Internet Protocol next generation (IPng) and it is the newest version of the Internet Protocol in the IETF standard committees in order to replace the current version of IPv4 Address. IP Address form of IPv6 Address is 1ffe:1100:0000:0000:0000:f2ff:fe32:42cf (128-bit address) (Stallings, 1996).

· Comparison Between IPv4 and IPv6

Basis of Comparison



Refers to

Internet Protocol Version 4

Internet Protocol Version 6

End-to-End Connectivity



Address Length

32 bits (4 bytes)

128 bits (16 bytes)

Address Space

It can produce 4.29x109 IP Addresses

It can generate 3.4x1038 IP Addresses.

Address Configuration

It supports DHCP and Manual configuration.

It supports Auto-configuration and renumbering.

Fragmentation Performed by

Sender and Forwarding Routers

Only Sender

Security feature

It depends on the application

IPsec is inbuilt (Durdağı & Buldu, 2010)

Representation of Address

In Decimal

In Hexadecimal



Not Available

Packet flow Identification

Not Available

Its uses flow label field in the header

Encryption and Authentication

Not Provided


Message Transmission Scheme


Multicasting and Anycasting

Packet Size

576 bytes needed, fragmentation optional

1280 bytes needs without fragmentation

Packet Header

·        Does not identify packet flow for QoS handling

·        Includes options up to 40 bytes

·        Includes checksum

·        It contains flow label field which specifies packet flow and QoS handling

·        Not include Checksum

DNS records

·        (A) records, maps host names

·        (PTR) records, IN-ADDR.ARPA DNS domain


·        (AAAA) records, maps host names

·        PTR records, IP6.ARPA DNS domain

IP to MAC resolution

Broadcast ARP

Multicast Neighbor Solicitation

Address configuration

Manual or via DHCP

SLAAC (Stateless Address autoconfiguration) using ICMPv6 (Internet Control Message Protocol version 6) or DHCPv6.







Local Subnet Group Management

IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol)

Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)


Optional, External


Addressing Technique

Its binary bits separated by a dot(.)

Its binary bits are separated by colon (:)

Number of header fields



Length of Header field



IP Address form


Number of Classes

It has 5 different classes Class A to E.

It allows storing an unlimited number of IP Address.

VLSM Support

It supports Virtual length Subnet Mask (VLSM)

It does not support VLSM.

Routing Information Protocol (RIP)


It does not support IPv6. It uses static routes.

Basic features

It uses NAT (Network Address Translation) which enables single NAT address can mask thousands of non-routable addresses which make end-to-end integrity achievable.

It enables direct addressing because of Vast Address Space.

Address Mask

Use for the designated network from the host portion.

Not used.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

It supports SNMP.

It does not support SNMP.

Mobility and Interoperability

It has constrained network topologies to which move restrict interoperability and mobility capabilities.

It provides mobility and Interoperability capabilities which are linked with the network devices.

Optional fields

Has optional fields

Does not have an optional field but it has extension headers.

IPSec (Internet Protocol Security)

It is optional

It is inbuilt


Uses ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to map MAC Address

Uses NDP (Neighbor Discovery Protocol) to map MAC Address

Mobile Device Combability

It is not suitable for mobile network.

It is better suited with a mobile network.

IP Address Lifetime

IP Address assigned from DHCP has a limited time period.

It has two lifetimes: valid and Preferred. With the preferred lifetime always <= valid and after preferred lifetime expires the IP Address is not to be used as a source IP Address for new connections.

Address Mask

According to the number of Hosts

Not used

Address Scope

There are designated private Address ranges and loopback address. The concept of unicast address is not applicable here and all other IP addresses are a global IP address.

Unicast IP Address has two defined scopes which include such as global and link-local and multicast addresses which have 14 scopes.

Address types

Address is categorized into three basic types that are a unicast address, broadcast address and multicast address.

It is also categorized into three basic address that is a unicast address, anycast address and multicast address.

Communication Trace

It is a tool which is used for collecting TCP/IP packets which enter and leave the system.

It also supports.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

It enables the user to send and receive file across the internet or network.

It also supported.

 The benefit of IPv6 over IPv4

  1. Efficiency

IPv6 protocol has removed most of the conflict in the address which is present in IPv4. It enables the more streamlined connection.

  1. Inevitability

IPv6 is an only protocol which is used over the devices in coming some years.

  1. Security

Security is one of the essential factors. IPv6 protocol encrypts and checks packet integrity in order to provide VPN like protection for standard Internet Traffic.

  1. Configuration

IPv6 supports auto-configuration whereas IPv4 supports manual and DHCP.



Durdağı, E., & Buldu, A. (2010). IPV4/IPV6 security and threat comparisons. Procedia - Social And Behavioral Sciences2(2), 5285-5291. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187704281000902X

Shiranzaei, A., & Zaman Khan, R. (2015). Internet protocol versions — A review. IEEE. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7100280/authors#authors

Stallings, W. (1996). IPv6: the new Internet protocol. IEEE Communications Magazine34(7), 96-108. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/526895

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