Differences Between IPv4 & IPv6


November 3, 2022 by Ashley

Differences Between IPv4 & IPv6 Which is Secure

Discussing the differences between IPv4 & IPv6 helps you to reach a useful result about the level of their security and speed. IP address stands for Internet Protocol address something like a home address as an identifier. As a numerical label, the two main functions of providing network interface identification and location addressing are served by an IP address. IPv4 and IPv6 are two current versions of Internet Protocol.

In this article, you will learn what the Differences Between IPv4 & IPv6 are to find out Which is Secure. In the end, you know which one is more secure or faster if working or gaming are your priorities. However, on both choices, ordering a well-configured virtual machine is required to make your needs come true.

An introduction to IPv4 & IPv6

You can be happy that you are not living in 1980, and you do not have to memorize or keep the numeric IP address of websites to access them over the internet. DNS helps us to translate numbers into names. When you put the address of your considered website in the URL, you are giving a hide IP address to direct you there.

Previously, you have read an article to discover about Types of IP Addresses & definitions. To review it again, you can refer to What is an IP Address to avoid taking time for repetitive content and cut to the chase to learn What IPv4 and IPv6 are, stay with us.

Stay with us with this article to see in detail what are the differences between IPv4 & IPv6 to find which one is more secure and faster.

All about IPv4

IPv4 is the abbreviation of IP version 4 means to be the 4th version of IP. It is also the first version of IP deployed for production in the ARPANET in 1983. Providing billions of addresses, it is widely used to identify devices on a network. To identify devices connected to the network, it Carries 94% of Internet traffic, and it is known as the primary Internet Protocol that uses a 32-bit address scheme.

The example of IPv4 is like:

Features of IPv4

It is a good idea to check the benefits of IPv4 to consider while comparing with IPv6 to notice the key differences.

  1. Millions of gadgets already support this protocol.
  2. Permit the creation of a basic virtual communication layer over various devices.
  3. A Protocol without Connection.
  4. It is easier to remember addresses and takes less memory.
  5. provides conferences and video libraries.
  6. Offers 12 header fields.
  7. IPv4 has checksum fields.
  8. Supports broadcast and VLSM (Variable Length Subnet Mask)

All about IPv4

All about IPv6

IPv6 is a newer IP version that is the abbreviation of IP version 6. Why IPv6 was deployed? The more end-users are connected to the internet, the more IPv4 addresses are exhausted. So, a new internet address system was required to provide more internet addresses for new users. To resolve the issues of IPv4, it was initiated by Internet Engineer Taskforce was in early 1994. Limited network addresses resources and barriers for multiple access devices to connect to the internet finally was solved by IPv6. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 uses 128-bit address space to allow 340 undecillion unique address spaces.

The example of IPv6 is like: 3ffe:1900:fe21:4545:0000:0000:0000:0000

Features of IPv6

To get closer to the Differences Between IPv4 & IPv6, let’s check the benefits of IPv6.

  1. Support for quality of service (QoS)
  2. Hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure.
  3. An ideal protocol for neighboring node interaction.
  4. Stateful and Stateless configuration.
  5. Allows devices to have a unique address.
  6. The encoding of IPv6 addresses uses a hierarchy similar to CIDR, which simplifies the routing.

All about IPv6

28 Key Differences Between IPv4 & IPv6

IPv4 & IPv6 are both IP addresses that are used to identify machines connected to a network. So, they are almost similar, but they are different in the way they work. So, we need to verify all the related basis differences of them to find out all important differences between IPv4 & IPv6.

Key DifferencesIPv4IPv6
Number of classesOffers five different classes of IP Address. Class A to E.Allows storing an unlimited number of IP Address.
Size of IP addressA 32-Bit IP Address.A 128-Bit IP Address.
ConfigurationIP addresses and routes must be assigned.Configuration is optional, depending on functions required.
Packet fragmentationAllows from routers and sending host Sending hosts only
Packet header.
Does not identify packet flow for QoS handling which includes checksum options. Packet head contains Flow Label field that specifies packet flow for QoS handling.
IPSec (Internet Protocol Security)Optional.Mandatory.
Compatibility with mobile devicesNot suitable for mobile networks since IPv4 address uses the dot-decimal notation.Better suited to mobile networks since IPv6 address is represented in hexadecimal, colon- separated notation.
Packet sizePacket size 576 bytes required, fragmentation optional.1208 bytes required without fragmentation.
Mobility & InteroperabilityRelatively constrained network topologies to which move restrict mobility and interoperability capabilities.IPv6 provides interoperability and mobility capabilities which are embedded in network devices.
SecurityIPv4 was not designed with security in mind. So, it is dependent on applications .IPSec(Internet Protocol Security) is built into the IPv6 protocol, usable with
a proper key infrastructure.
VLSM (Variable Length Subnet mask) supportSupports.Does not support.
Addressing methodIs a numeric address, and its binary bits are separated by a dot (.)Is an alphanumeric address whose binary bits are separated by a colon (:). It also contains hexadecimal.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP)RIP is a routing protocol supported by the routed daemon.RIP does not support IPv6. It uses static routes.
Address MaskIs Used for the designated network from host portionNot used.
Optional FieldsHas Optional Fields.Does not have optional fields. But Extension headers are available.
SNMPSNMP is a protocol used for system managementSNMP does not support IPv6.
ChecksumHas checksum fieldsDoes not have checksum fields
DNS recordsAddress (A) records, maps hostnames.Address (AAAA) records, maps hostnames.
MappingUses ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address.Uses NDP (Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address.
Address configurationManual or via DHCP.Stateless address autoconfiguration using Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) or DHCPv6.
Network ConfigurationNetworks need to be configured either manually or with DHCP. IPv4 had several overlays to handle Internet growth, which require more maintenance efforts.IPv6 support autoconfiguration capabilities.
Number of header fields128
IP to MAC resolutionBroadcast ARPMulticast Neighbour Solicitation
FragmentationFragmentation is done by sending and forwarding routes.Fragmentation is done by the sender.
Dynamic host configuration ServerClients have approach DHCS (Dynamic Host Configuration server) whenever they want to connect to a network.A Client does not have to approach any such server as they are given permanent addresses.
Length of header filed2040
Local subnet Group managementInternet Group Management Protocol (GMP)Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)
Type of AddressesUnicast, broadcast, and multicastUnicast, multicast, and anycast.

IPv4 vs IPv6: Head-to-head Comparison

As you read, IPv6 provided more IP addresses. It also supports multicast addressing, which allows bandwidth-intensive packet flows to be sent to multiple destinations simultaneously, reducing network bandwidth. IPv6 uses the feature of autoconfiguration to allow devices to generate an IPv6 address once it powers up and puts itself on the network. But in IPv4-based networks, you need to do the process of adding devices manually.

IPv6 is capable to configure and enable the hardware to assign multiple addresses to the same device automatically. In this way, it will allow devices to stay connected to several networks simultaneously.

Let’s continue with this article by comparing IPv4 & IPv6 on some basic options.

IPv4 vs IPv6 Head-to-head Comparison

IPv4 vs IPv6: Speed

IPv4 uses NAT (Network address translation) devices that allow a single NAT address can mask thousands of non-routable addresses, making end-to-end integrity achievable. But IPv6 allows direct addressing because of the vast address Space. In this way, when it comes to IPv4 vs IPv6 speed, you may think that IPv6 could not be faster since it does not use NAT. But according to tests of the Web and cloud services provider, Akamai, IPv6 is faster than IPv4. The exact report of this provider is: Sites load 5% faster in the median and 15% faster for the 95% percentile on IPv6 compared to IPv4.

The security blog Sucuri also says that IPv4 and IPv6 delivered the same speed in direct connections and IPv4 occasionally won the test. On the other hand, IPv6 should be a little faster in theory since cycles don’t have to be wasted on NAT. But because of large packets of IPv6, it might be slower. For a final result, while IPv4 networks are mature and customized, IPv6 networks get faster with time and tuning.

So, if speed comes first to you, you must choose IPv6.

IPv4 vs IPv6: Security

IPSec (IP Security) is a series of IETF security protocols for security, authentication, and data integrity. Since IPSec is fully integrated into IPv6, it is known as a secure IP address. However, you have read that IPSec can also be integrated into IPv4. What really makes a difference at this point is that since it’s up to ISPs to implement it, not all companies do.

IPSec helps IPv6 to provide two security headers with two different tasks, but they can be used separately or together.

  • Authentication Header (AH): provides data origin authentication and protection against replay attacks
  • Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP): Delivers connectionless integrity, data origin authentication, protection against replay attacks, and limited traffic flow confidentiality, as well as privacy and confidentiality through encryption of the payload.

On the other hand, IPv6 is capable to make man-in-the-middle attacks significantly more difficult because it is designed for end-to-end encryption.

The same IPSec in IPv6 is now available for IPv4, and it can also have protection if IPSec is implemented on the network. So, the network providers and end users must choose to use it or not because so a properly configured IPv4 network can be as secure as an IPv6 network.

IPv4 vs IPv6: Performance

As you read in the comparing table, the address size of IPv4 and IPv6 are not the same. The main difference between them is that IPv4 is a 32-bit address, whereas IPv6 is a 128-bit hexadecimal address. To support large address demands, IPv6 increases the IP address from 32 bits to 128 bits and is able to not run out in the foreseeable future.

As you read in the article, IPv4 is the 4th version of the Internet Protocol and the IPv6 is the most recent of the Internet Protocol. So, it is clear that IPv6 could be more advanced, secure, and faster compared to IPv4.


In this article, you learned what are the main Differences Between IPv4 & IPv6 to find which one is secure. Getting familiar with IPv4 & IPv6 definitions and benefits helps you find out the key differences between them. After reviewing the table of basic differences, you can check IPv4 & IPv6 through the lenses of 28 main options.

It is estimated that users might migrate to IPv6 permanently, but it takes time since legacy technologies take a long time to die off. According to the report of Internet Society, there are 24 countries in the world where IPv6 totals more than 15% of overall IP traffic, and 49 have topped the 5% threshold. So, slow progress of migration from IPv4 to IPv6 is expected.

​ ​ ​ ​

About the Author Ashley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *