What is IP?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the IP protocol for communication. An IP address acts as an identifier for a specific device on a particular network. The IP address is also called an IP number or Internet address.

IP address specifies the technical format of the addressing and packets scheme. Most networks combine IP with a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). It also allows developing a virtual connection between a destination and a source.

What is IPv4?

IPv4 is an IP version widely used to identify devices on a network using an addressing system. It was the first version of IP deployed for production in the ARPANET in 1983. It uses a 32-bit address scheme to store 2^32 addresses which is more than 4 billion addresses. It is considered the primary Internet Protocol and carries 94% of Internet traffic.

Features of IPv4

  • Connectionless Protocol
  • Allow creating a simple virtual communication layer over diversified devices
  • It requires less memory, and ease of remembering addresses
  • Already supported protocol by millions of devices
  • Offers video libraries and conferences

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. This new IP address version is being deployed to fulfill the need for more Internet addresses. It was aimed to resolve issues that are associated with IPv4. With 128-bit address space, it allows 340 undecillion unique address space. IPv6 is also called IPng (Internet Protocol next generation).

Internet Engineer Taskforce initiated it in early 1994. The design and development of that suite are now called IPv6.

Features of IPv6

  • Hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure
  • Stateful and Stateless configuration
  • Support for quality of service (QoS)
  • An ideal protocol for neighboring node interaction


  • IPv4 is 32-Bit IP address whereas IPv6 is a 128-Bit IP address.
  • IPv4 is a numeric addressing method whereas IPv6 is an alphanumeric addressing method.
  • IPv4 binary bits are separated by a dot(.) whereas IPv6 binary bits are separated by a colon(:).
  • IPv4 offers 12 header fields whereas IPv6 offers 8 header fields.
  • IPv4 supports broadcast whereas IPv6 doesn’t support broadcast.
  • IPv4 has checksum fields while IPv6 doesn’t have checksum fields
  • When we compare IPv4 and IPv6, IPv4 supports VLSM (Variable Length Subnet Mask) whereas IPv6 doesn’t support VLSM.
  • IPv4 uses ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address whereas IPv6 uses NDP (Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address.

The major differences between IPv4 and IPv6 are:

IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6)
Encryption and authentication is not provided in IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). Encryption and authentication is provided in IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6)
Header of IPv4 is 20 – 60 bytes. Header of IPv6 is fixed at 40 bytes
Checksumfield is available in IPv4. Checksumfield is not available in IPv6.
Packet flow identification is not available in IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). Packet flow identification is available in IPv6. Flow label field is available in the header.
IPv4 addresses are usually represented in dot-decimal notation, consisting of four decimal numbers, each ranging from 0 to 255, separated by dots. An IPv6 address is represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, each group representing 16 bits.
Sender and forwarding routers performs fragmentation in IPv4 Fragmentation is performed only by the sender in IPv6.
In IPv4, security features relies on application In IPv6, there is an inbuilt security feature named IPSEC.
End to end connection integrity cannot be achieved in IPv4. End to end connection integrity can be done in IPv6.
IPv4 supports DHCP and Manual address configuration IPv6 supports renumbering and auto address configuration.
IPv4 addresses are 32-bit long IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long.
The address space in IPv4 is 4.29 ×109 The address space in IPv6 is 3.4 ×1038
IPv4 has a broadcast message transmission scheme. Multicast and Anycast message transmission scheme is available in IPv6.


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