IPv4 vs IPv6 – What’s the Difference?

IP address or Internet Protocol is a numerical label that helps to connect devices online. The first IP version was IPv4, and IPv6 is the most recent IP version. Let’s have a good read to understand IPv4 vs. IPv6, key differences, and benefits of each.

IPv4 vs IPv6

Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4):

IPv4 refers to the Internet protocol version 4. It is the most extensively used IP version hence considered the most significant internet protocol. It uses the addressing system to identify devices on a network and holds up to 94% of internet traffic.

The reason behind the significance of IPv4 is its capability of storing more than four billion addresses with its 32-bit address scheme. However, alone IPv4 couldn’t support the load as new devices continue to come online. Consequently, to overcome this issue, a new internet protocol version (IPv6) was rolled out to manage more internet addresses.

Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6):

Internet protocol version 6 or IPv6 is the new addressing system. It is also known as the Internet protocol next generation or IPng. This recent IP version is fundamentally managing the load of all the upcoming internet addresses.

IPv6 is an upgrade and the successor to IPv4 because it uses a 128-bit address space that offers up to 340 undecillion unique address space. Despite its impeccable storing capacity, the next-generation Internet protocol hasn’t been widely implemented.

Why IPv6 is Not Mainstream Yet

Although IPv6 has a larger address space, still its adoption will take a long time. There are some practical reasons and based on that this next generation IP version is yet to be accepted by the majority. Below I am outlining a few shortcomings associated with IPv6.

A website that supports IPv4 cannot be accessed through a device or ISP that supports IPv6. Your device must be compatible with both protocols to access the IPv4 website. Advanced electronic devices and routers are compatible with the latest IP version. It means that all the ISPs, devices, and operating systems must upgrade their systems to support both versions and to further avoid disruptions. But, running both protocols will be costly.

In addition to the cost, IT companies don’t find it cost-effective to upgrade systems unless it’s necessary. These companies will not completely adopt IPv6 until the world will be totally running out of the IP addresses. Therefore, IPv6 is not fully implemented yet.

IPv4 and IPv6 – The Rundown

  • IPv6 is better in terms of security. IPv4 is not much secure and may carry malware to the ICMP (The Internet Control Message Protocol). That’s why various corporate firewalls block IPv4. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 ICMP packets are more secure using IPSec, which is quite safe.
  • IPv6 brought more functionality than IPv4. The IPv6 auto-configuration feature enables devices to generate their IPv6 address when connected to the network. Whereas, IPv4 uses manual and DHCP address configuration to help devices communicate with each other on the network.
  • IPv6 is better than IPv4 in terms of connectivity. IPv4 is compatible with 32 bit IP addresses whereas, IPv6 supports 128 bit IP addresses providing unlimited IP addresses for the devices to directly communicate to the internet without NAT.
  • IPv4 networks are well optimized and mature than IPv6 plus IPv6 also contain larger packets that may be a cause of slower speed. However, it is anticipated that with time and tuning, IPv6 will increase its speed.

Key Differences between IPv4 vs IPv6

Supports 32-bit address lengthSupports 128-bit address length
Runs manual DHCP address configurationRuns Auto-configuration
The security of IPv4 depends on applicationsIPv6 has proper security structure called IPSec
IPv4 contains checksum fieldsIPv6 doesn’t have checksum fields
Not suitable for mobile networks because of its dot-decimal notationIPv6 supports mobile networks and uses hexadecimal numbers, colon-separated notation
Supports Multicast, Broadcast, and Unicast addressesSupports Anycast, Unicast, and Multicast addresses

How FastestVPN Protects your IP Address?

FastestVPN uses strong 256-bit encryption and smart DNS leak protection to protect your IP address from accidental leaks. Without using a VPN, your IP address will be exposed. Hackers can easily read your IP traffic and extract confidential information.
Moreover, it’s easy for your ISP and Government to spy on your online activities, which can result in geo-blocking and ISP throttling. The best way to avoid surveillance and throttling is through a VPN.


IPv6 will be the future of the web since it offers more functionality than IPv4. The internet protocol next generation is emerging as the finest replacement of its predecessor fairly organizing the supply of IP addresses across the network and proving to be less complex and more efficient than the IPv4.

Packet fragmentation is done via sending and forwarding routesPacket fragmentation is processed by the sender

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