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IPv4 – Wikipedia
Internet Protocol version 4Protocol stackIPv4 packetPurposeinternetworking protocolDeveloper(s)DARPAIntroduced1981OSI layerNetwork layerRFC(s)RFC 791
Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based internetworking methods in the Internet and other packet-switched networks. IPv4 was the first version deployed for production on SATNET in 1982 and on the ARPANET in January 1983. It is still used to route most Internet traffic today,  despite the ongoing deployment of a successor protocol, IPv6.
IPv4 uses a 32-bit address space which provides 4, 294, 967, 296 (232) unique addresses, but large blocks are reserved for special networking methods.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2020)
The IP layer was originally separated in the v3 of the TCP for design improvement, and stabilised in version 4.  IPv4 is described in IETF publication RFC 791 (September 1981), replacing an earlier definition (RFC 760, January 1980). In March 1982, the US Department of Defense declared TCP/IP as the standard for all military computer networking. 
The Internet Protocol is the protocol that defines and enables internetworking at the internet layer of the Internet Protocol Suite. In essence it forms the Internet. It uses a logical addressing system and performs routing, which is the forwarding of packets from a source host to the next router that is one hop closer to the intended destination host on another network.
IPv4 is a connectionless protocol, and operates on a best-effort delivery model, in that it does not guarantee delivery, nor does it assure proper sequencing or avoidance of duplicate delivery. These aspects, including data integrity, are addressed by an upper layer transport protocol, such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
Decomposition of the quad-dotted IPv4 address representation to its binary value
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses which limits the address space to 4294967296 (232) addresses.
IPv4 reserves special address blocks for private networks (~18 million addresses) and multicast addresses (~270 million addresses).
IPv4 addresses may be represented in any notation expressing a 32-bit integer value. They are most often written in dot-decimal notation, which consists of four octets of the address expressed individually in decimal numbers and separated by periods.
For example, the quad-dotted IP address 192. 0. 2. 235 represents the 32-bit decimal number 3221226219, which in hexadecimal format is 0xC00002EB. This may also be expressed in dotted hex format as 0xC0. 0x00. 0x02. 0xEB, or with octal byte values as 0300. 0000. 0002. 0353.
CIDR notation combines the address with its routing prefix in a compact format, in which the address is followed by a slash character (/) and the count of leading consecutive 1 bits in the routing prefix (subnet mask).
Other address representations were in common use when classful networking was practiced. For example, the loopback address 127. 1 is commonly written as 127. 1, given that it belongs to a class-A network with eight bits for the network mask and 24 bits for the host number. When fewer than four numbers are specified in the address in dotted notation, the last value is treated as an integer of as many bytes as are required to fill out the address to four octets. Thus, the address 127. 65530 is equivalent to 127. 255. 250.
In the original design of IPv4, an IP address was divided into two parts: the network identifier was the most significant octet of the address, and the host identifier was the rest of the address. The latter was also called the rest field. This structure permitted a maximum of 256 network identifiers, which was quickly found to be inadequate.
To overcome this limit, the most-significant address octet was redefined in 1981 to create network classes, in a system which later became known as classful networking. The revised system defined five classes. Classes A, B, and C had different bit lengths for network identification. The rest of the address was used as previously to identify a host within a network. Because of the different sizes of fields in different classes, each network class had a different capacity for addressing hosts. In addition to the three classes for addressing hosts, Class D was defined for multicast addressing and Class E was reserved for future applications.
Dividing existing classful networks into subnets began in 1985 with the publication of RFC 950. This division was made more flexible with the introduction of variable-length subnet masks (VLSM) in RFC 1109 in 1987. In 1993, based on this work, RFC 1517 introduced Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR),  which expressed the number of bits (from the most significant) as, for instance, /24, and the class-based scheme was dubbed classful, by contrast. CIDR was designed to permit repartitioning of any address space so that smaller or larger blocks of addresses could be allocated to users. The hierarchical structure created by CIDR is managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and the regional Internet registries (RIRs). Each RIR maintains a publicly searchable WHOIS database that provides information about IP address assignments.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and IANA have restricted from general use various reserved IP addresses for special purposes.  Notably these addresses are used for multicast traffic and to provide addressing space for unrestricted uses on private networks.
Special address blocks
Number of addresses
0. 0–0. 255
Current network (only valid as source address).
10. 0–10. 255
Used for local communications within a private network. 
100. 64. 0/10
100. 0–100. 127. 255
Shared address space for communications between a service provider and its subscribers when using a carrier-grade NAT.
127. 0–127. 255
Used for loopback addresses to the local host. 
169. 254. 0/16
169. 0–169. 255
Used for link-local addresses between two hosts on a single link when no IP address is otherwise specified, such as would have normally been retrieved from a DHCP server.
172. 16. 0/12
172. 0–172. 31. 255
192. 0–192. 255
IETF Protocol Assignments. 
Assigned as TEST-NET-1, documentation and examples. 
192. 88. 99. 255
Reserved.  Formerly used for IPv6 to IPv4 relay (included IPv6 address block 2002::/16).
192. 168. 0/16
198. 18. 0/15
198. 0–198. 19. 255
Used for benchmark testing of inter-network communications between two separate subnets. 
198. 51. 100. 0/24
Assigned as TEST-NET-2, documentation and examples. 
203. 113. 0/24
203. 0–203. 255
Assigned as TEST-NET-3, documentation and examples. 
224. 0–239. 255
In use for IP multicast.  (Former Class D network).
233. 252. 0/24
233. 0-233. 255
Assigned as MCAST-TEST-NET, documentation and examples. 
240. 0–255. 254
Reserved for future use.  (Former Class E network).
Reserved for the “limited broadcast” destination address. 
Of the approximately four billion addresses defined in IPv4, about 18 million addresses in three ranges are reserved for use in private networks. Packets addresses in these ranges are not routable in the public Internet; they are ignored by all public routers. Therefore, private hosts cannot directly communicate with public networks, but require network address translation at a routing gateway for this purpose.
Reserved private IPv4 network ranges
10. 0 – 10. 255
Single Class A.
172. 0 – 172. 255
Contiguous range of 16 Class B blocks.
192. 0 – 192. 255
Contiguous range of 256 Class C blocks.
Since two private networks, e. g., two branch offices, cannot directly interoperate via the public Internet, the two networks must be bridged across the Internet via a virtual private network (VPN) or an IP tunnel, which encapsulates packets, including their headers containing the private addresses, in a protocol layer during transmission across the public network. Additionally, encapsulated packets may be encrypted for transmission across public networks to secure the data.
RFC 3927 defines the special address block 169. 0/16 for link-local addressing. These addresses are only valid on the link (such as a local network segment or point-to-point connection) directly connected to a host that uses them. These addresses are not routable. Like private addresses, these addresses cannot be the source or destination of packets traversing the internet. These addresses are primarily used for address autoconfiguration (Zeroconf) when a host cannot obtain an IP address from a DHCP server or other internal configuration methods.
When the address block was reserved, no standards existed for address autoconfiguration. Microsoft created an implementation called Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA), which was deployed on millions of machines and became a de facto standard. Many years later, in May 2005, the IETF defined a formal standard in RFC 3927, entitled Dynamic Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses.
The class A network 127. 0 (classless network 127. 0/8) is reserved for loopback. IP packets whose source addresses belong to this network should never appear outside a host. Packets received on a non-loopback interface with a loopback source or destination address must be dropped.
First and last subnet addresses
The first address in a subnet is used to identify the subnet itself. In this address all host bits are 0. To avoid ambiguity in representation, this address is reserved.  The last address has all host bits set to 1. It is used as a local broadcast address for sending messages to all devices on the subnet simultaneously. For networks of size /24 or larger, the broadcast address always ends in 255.
For example, in the subnet 192. 5. 0/24 (subnet mask 255. 0) the identifier 192. 0 is used to refer to the entire subnet. The broadcast address of the network is 192. 255.
11000000. 10101000. 00000101. 00000000
In red, is shown the host part of the IP address; the other part is the network prefix. The host gets inverted (logical NOT), but the network prefix remains intact.
However, this does not mean that every address ending in 0 or 255 cannot be used as a host address. For example, in the /16 subnet 192. 0/255. 0, which is equivalent to the address range 192. 255, the broadcast address is 192. One can use the following addresses for hosts, even though they end with 255: 192. 1. 255, 192. 255, etc. Also, 192. 0 is the network identifier and must not be assigned to an interface.  The addresses 192. 0, 192. 0, etc., may be assigned, despite ending with 0.
In the past, conflict between network addresses and broadcast addresses arose because some software used non-standard broadcast addresses with zeros instead of ones. 
In networks smaller than /24, broadcast addresses do not necessarily end with 255. For example, a CIDR subnet 203. 16/28 has the broadcast address 203. 31.
11001011. 00000000. 01110001. 00010000
As a special case, a /31 network has capacity for just two hosts. These networks are typically used for point-to-point connections. There is no network identifier or broadcast address for these networks. 
Hosts on the Internet are usually known by names, e. g.,, not primarily by their IP address, which is used for routing and network interface identification. The use of domain names requires translating, called resolving, them to addresses and vice versa. This is analogous to looking up a phone number in a phone book using the recipient’s name.
The translation between addresses and domain names is performed by the Domain Name System (DNS), a hierarchical, distributed naming system that allows for the subdelegation of namespaces to other DNS servers.
Address space exhaustion
Since the 1980s, it was apparent that the pool of available IPv4 addresses was depleting at a rate that was not initially anticipated in the original design of the network.  The main market forces that accelerated address depletion included the rapidly growing number of Internet users, who increasingly used mobile computing devices, such as laptop computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and smart phones with IP data services. In addition, high-speed Internet access was based on always-on devices. The threat of exhaustion motivated the introduction of a number of remedial technologies, such as Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) methods by the mid-1990s, pervasive use of network address translation (NAT) in network access provider systems, and strict usage-based allocation policies at the regional and local Internet registries.
The primary address pool of the Internet, maintained by IANA, was exhausted on 3 February 2011, when the last five blocks were allocated to the five RIRs.  APNIC was the first RIR to exhaust its regional pool on 15 April 2011, except for a small amount of address space reserved for the transition technologies to IPv6, which is to be allocated under a restricted policy. 
The long-term solution to address exhaustion was the 1998 specification of a new version of the Internet Protocol, IPv6.  It provides a vastly increased address space, but also allows improved route aggregation across the Internet, and offers large subnetwork allocations of a minimum of 264 host addresses to end users. However, IPv4 is not directly interoperable with IPv6, so that IPv4-only hosts cannot directly communicate with IPv6-only hosts. With the phase-out of the 6bone experimental network starting in 2004, permanent formal deployment of IPv6 commenced in 2006.  Completion of IPv6 deployment is expected to take considerable time,  so that intermediate transition technologies are necessary to permit hosts to participate in the Internet using both versions of the protocol.
An IP packet consists of a header section and a data section. An IP packet has no data checksum or any other footer after the data section.
Typically the link layer encapsulates IP packets in frames with a CRC footer that detects most errors, many transport-layer protocols carried by IP also have their own error checking. 
The IPv4 packet header consists of 14 fields, of which 13 are required. The 14th field is optional and aptly named: options. The fields in the header are packed with the most significant byte first (big endian), and for the diagram and discussion, the most significant bits are considered to come first (MSB 0 bit numbering). The most significant bit is numbered 0, so the version field is actually found in the four most significant bits of the first byte, for example.
IPv4 header format
Time To Live
Source IP Address
Destination IP Address
Options (if IHL > 5)
The first header field in an IP packet is the four-bit version field. For IPv4, this is always equal to 4.
Internet Header Length (IHL)
The IPv4 header is variable in size due to the optional 14th field (options). The IHL field contains the size of the IPv4 header, it has 4 bits that specify the number of 32-bit words in the header. The minimum value for this field is 5,  which indicates a length of 5 × 32 bits = 160 bits = 20 bytes. As a 4-bit field, the maximum value is 15, this means that the maximum size of the IPv4 header is 15 × 32 bits = 480 bits = 60 bytes.
Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP)
Originally defined as the type of service (ToS), this field specifies differentiated services (DiffServ) per RFC 2474. [a] Real-time data streaming makes use of the DSCP field. An example is Voice over IP (VoIP), which is used for interactive voice services.
Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN)
This field is defined in RFC 3168 and allows end-to-end notification of network congestion without dropping packets. ECN is an optional feature available when both endpoints support it and effective when also supported by the underlying network.
This 16-bit field defines the entire packet size in bytes, including header and data. The minimum size is 20 bytes (header without data) and the maximum is 65, 535 bytes. All hosts are required to be able to reassemble datagrams of size up to 576 bytes, but most modern hosts handle much larger packets. Links may impose further restrictions on the packet size, in which case datagrams must be fragmented. Fragmentation in IPv4 is performed in either the sending host or in routers. Reassembly is performed at the receiving host.
This field is an identification field and is primarily used for uniquely identifying the group of fragments of a single IP datagram. Some experimental work has suggested using the ID field for other purposes, such as for adding packet-tracing information to help trace datagrams with spoofed source addresses,  but RFC 6864 now prohibits any such use.
A three-bit field follows and is used to control or identify fragments. They are (in order, from most significant to least significant):
bit 0: Reserved; must be zero. [b]
bit 1: Don’t Fragment (DF)
bit 2: More Fragments (MF)
If the DF flag is set, and fragmentation is required to route the packet, then the packet is dropped. This can be used when sending packets to a host that does not have resources to perform reassembly of fragments. It can also be used for path MTU discovery, either automatically by the host IP software, or manually using diagnostic tools such as ping or traceroute.
For unfragmented packets, the MF flag is cleared. For fragmented packets, all fragments except the last have the MF flag set. The last fragment has a non-zero Fragment Offset field, differentiating it from an unfragmented packet.
This field specifies the offset of a particular fragment relative to the beginning of the original unfragmented IP datagram in units of eight-byte blocks. The first fragment has an offset of zero. The 13 bit field allows a maximum offset of (213 – 1) × 8 = 65, 528 bytes, which, with the header length included (65, 528 + 20 = 65, 548 bytes), supports fragmentation of packets exceeding the maximum IP length of 65, 535 bytes.
Time to live (TTL)
An eight-bit time to live field limits a datagram’s lifetime to prevent network failure in the event of a routing loop. It is specified in seconds, but time intervals less than 1 second are rounded up to 1. In practice, the field is used as a hop count—when the datagram arrives at a router, the router decrements the TTL field by one. When the TTL field hits zero, the router discards the packet and typically sends an ICMP time exceeded message to the sender.
The program traceroute sends messages with adjusted TTL values and uses these ICMP time exceeded messages to identify the routers traversed by packets from the source to the destination.
This field defines the protocol used in the data portion of the IP datagram. IANA maintains a list of IP protocol numbers as directed by RFC 790.
The 16-bit IPv4 header checksum field is used for error-checking of the header. When a packet arrives at a router, the router calculates the checksum of the header and compares it to the checksum field. If the values do not match, the router discards the packet. Errors in the data field must be handled by the encapsulated protocol. Both UDP and TCP have separate checksums that apply to their data.
When a packet arrives at a router, the router decreases the TTL field in the header. Consequently, the router must calculate a new header checksum.
This field is the IPv4 address of the sender of the packet. Note that this address may be changed in transit by a network address translation device.
This field is the IPv4 address of the receiver of the packet. As with the source address, this may be changed in transit by a network address translation device.
The options field is not often used. Packets containing some options may be considered as dangerous by some routers and be blocked.  Note that the value in the IHL field must include enough extra 32-bit words to hold all the options plus any padding needed to ensure that the header contains an integer number of 32-bit words. If IHL is greater than 5 (i. e., it is from 6 to 15) it means that the options field is present and must be considered. The list of options may be terminated with an EOOL (End of Options List, 0x00) option; this is only necessary if the end of the options would not otherwise coincide with the end of the header. The possible options that can be put in the header are as follows:
Set to 1 if the options need to be copied into all fragments of a fragmented packet.
A general options category. 0 is for control options, and 2 is for debugging and measurement. 1 and 3 are reserved.
Specifies an option.
Indicates the size of the entire option (including this field). This field may not exist for simple options.
Option-specific data. This field may not exist for simple options.
The table below shows the defined options for IPv4. The Option Type column is derived from the Copied, Option Class, and Option Number bits as defined above. 
Option Type (decimal / hexadecimal)
0 / 0x00
End of Option List
1 / 0x01
2 / 0x02
7 / 0x07
10 / 0x0A
11 / 0x0B
12 / 0x0C
15 / 0x0F
25 / 0x19
30 / 0x1E
68 / 0x44
82 / 0x52
94 / 0x5E
130 / 0x82
131 / 0x83
Loose Source Route
133 / 0x85
Extended Security (RIPSO)
134 / 0x86
Commercial IP Security Option
136 / 0x88
137 / 0x89
Strict Source Route
142 / 0x8E
Experimental Access Control
144 / 0x90
IMI Traffic Descriptor
145 / 0x91
Extended Internet Protocol
147 / 0x93
148 / 0x94
149 / 0x95
Selective Directed Broadcast
151 / 0x97
Dynamic Packet State
152 / 0x98
Upstream Multicast Pkt.
158 / 0x9E
205 / 0xCD
Experimental Flow Control
222 / 0xDE
The packet payload is not included in the checksum. Its contents are interpreted based on the value of the Protocol header field.
Some of the common payload protocols are:
Internet Control Message Protocol
Internet Group Management Protocol
Transmission Control Protocol
User Datagram Protocol
Open Shortest Path First
Stream Control Transmission Protocol
See List of IP protocol numbers for a complete list.
Fragmentation and reassembly
The Internet Protocol enables traffic between networks. The design accommodates networks of diverse physical nature; it is independent of the underlying transmission technology used in the link layer. Networks with different hardware usually vary not only in transmission speed, but also in the maximum transmission unit (MTU). When one network wants to transmit datagrams to a network with a smaller MTU, it may fragment its datagrams. In IPv4, this function was placed at the Internet Layer, and is performed in IPv4 routers, which thus require no implementation of any higher layers for the function of routing IP packets.
In contrast, IPv6, the next generation of the Internet Protocol, does not allow routers to perform fragmentation; hosts must determine the path MTU before sending datagrams.
When a router receives a packet, it examines the destination address and determines the outgoing interface to use and that interface’s MTU. If the packet size is bigger than the MTU, and the Do not Fragment (DF) bit in the packet’s header is set to 0, then the router may fragment the packet.
The router divides the packet into fragments. The max size of each fragment is the MTU minus the IP header size (20 bytes minimum; 60 bytes maximum). The router puts each fragment into its own packet, each fragment packet having following changes:
The total length field is the fragment size.
The more fragments (MF) flag is set for all fragments except the last one, which is set to 0.
The fragment offset field is set, based on the offset of the fragment in the original data payload. This is measured in units of 8-byte blocks.
The header checksum field is recomputed.
For example, for an MTU of 1, 500 bytes and a header size of 20 bytes, the fragment offsets would be multiples of.
These multiples are 0, 185, 370, 555, 740 etc
It is possible that a packet is fragmented at one router, and that the fragments are further fragmented at another router. For example, a packet of 4, 520 bytes, including the 20 bytes of the IP header (without options) is fragmented to two packets on a link with an MTU of 2, 500 bytes:
Fragment offset(8-byte blocks)
The total data size is preserved: 2, 480 bytes + 2, 020 bytes = 4, 500 bytes.
The offsets are
On a link with an MTU of 1, 500 bytes, each fragment results in two fragments:
Again, the data size is preserved: 1, 480 + 1, 000 = 2, 480, and 1, 480 + 540 = 2, 020.
Also in this case, the More Fragments bit remains 1 for all the fragments that came with 1 in them and for the last fragment that arrives, it works as usual, that is the MF bit is set to 0 only in the last one. And of course, the Identification field continues to have the same value in all re-fragmented fragments. This way, even if fragments are re-fragmented, the receiver knows they have initially all started from the same packet.
The last offset and last data size are used to calculate the total data size:.
A receiver knows that a packet is a fragment, if at least one of the following conditions is true:
The flag “more fragments” is set, which is true for all fragments except the last.
The field “fragment offset” is nonzero, which is true for all fragments except the first.
The receiver identifies matching fragments using the foreign and local address, the protocol ID, and the identification field. The receiver reassembles the data from fragments with the same ID using both the fragment offset and the more fragments flag. When the receiver receives the last fragment, which has the “more fragments” flag set to 0, it can calculate the size of the original data payload, by multiplying the last fragment’s offset by eight, and adding the last fragment’s data size. In the given example, this calculation was 495*8 + 540 = 4500 bytes.
When the receiver has all fragments, they can be reassembled in the correct sequence according to the offsets, to form the original datagram.
IP addresses are not tied in any permanent manner to hardware identifications and, indeed, a network interface can have multiple IP addresses in modern operating systems. Hosts and routers need additional mechanisms to identify the relationship between device interfaces and IP addresses, in order to properly deliver an IP packet to the destination host on a link. The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) performs this IP-address-to-hardware-address translation for IPv4. (A hardware address is also called a MAC address. ) In addition, the reverse correlation is often necessary. For example, when an IP host is booted or connected to a network it needs to determine its IP address, unless an address is preconfigured by an administrator. Protocols for such inverse correlations exist in the Internet Protocol Suite. Currently used methods are Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) and, infrequently, reverse ARP.
History of the Internet
List of assigned /8 IPv4 address blocks
List of IP protocol numbers
^ Updated by RFC 3168 and RFC 3260
^ As an April Fools’ joke, proposed for use in RFC 3514 as the “Evil bit”
^ “BGP Analysis Reports”. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
^ “Where is IPv1, 2, 3, and 5? “. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
^ “A Brief History of IPv4”. IPv4 Market Group. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
^ “Understanding IP Addressing: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know” (PDF). 3Com. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 16, 2001.
^ Cotton, M. ; Vegoda, L. (January 2010). Special Use IPv4 Addresses. doi:10. 17487/RFC5735. RFC 5735.
^ a b c d M. Cotton; L. Vegoda; R. Bonica; B. Haberman (April 2013). Special-Purpose IP Address Registries. Internet Engineering Task Force. 17487/RFC6890. BCP 153. RFC 6890. Updated by RFC 8190.
^ a b c d Y. Rekhter; B. Moskowitz; D. Karrenberg; G. J. de Groot; E. Lear (February 1996). Address Allocation for Private Internets. Network Working Group. 17487/RFC1918. BCP 5. RFC 1918. Updated by RFC 6761.
^ J. Weil; V. Kuarsingh; C. Donley; C. Liljenstolpe; M. Azinger (April 2012). IANA-Reserved IPv4 Prefix for Shared Address Space. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). 17487/RFC6598. ISSN 2070-1721. RFC 6598.
^ S. Cheshire; B. Aboba; E. Guttman (May 2005). Dynamic Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses. 17487/RFC3927. RFC 3927.
^ a b c J. Arkko; M. Vegoda (January 2010). IPv4 Address Blocks Reserved for Documentation. 17487/RFC5737. RFC 5737.
^ O. Troan (May 2015). B. Carpenter (ed. ). Deprecating the Anycast Prefix for 6to4 Relay Routers. 17487/RFC7526. BCP 196. RFC 7526.
^ C. Huitema (June 2001). An Anycast Prefix for 6to4 Relay Routers. 17487/RFC3068. RFC 3068. Obsoleted by RFC 7526.
^ S. Bradner; J. McQuaid (March 1999). Benchmarking Methodology for Network Interconnect Devices. 17487/RFC2544. RFC 2544. Updated by: RFC 6201 and RFC 6815.
^ a b M. Vegoda; D. Meyer (March 2010). IANA Guidelines for IPv4 Multicast Address Assignments. 17487/RFC5771. BCP 51. RFC 5771.
^ S. Venaas; R. Parekh; G. Van de Velde; T. Chown; M. Eubanks (August 2012). Multicast Addresses for Documentation. 17487/RFC6676. RFC 6676.
^ J. Reynolds, ed. (January 2002). Assigned Numbers: RFC 1700 is Replaced by an On-line Database. 17487/RFC3232. RFC 3232. Obsoletes RFC 1700.
^ Jeffrey Mogul (October 1984). Broadcasting Internet Datagrams. 17487/RFC0919. RFC 919.
^ “RFC 923”. IETF. June 1984. Retrieved 15 November 2019. Special Addresses: In certain contexts, it is useful to have fixed addresses with functional significance rather than as identifiers of specific hosts. When such usage is called for, the address zero is to be interpreted as meaning “this”, as in “this network”.
^ Robert Braden (October 1989). “Requirements for Internet Hosts – Communication Layers”. p. 31. RFC 1122.
^ Robert Braden (October 1989). p. 66. RFC 1122.
^ RFC 3021
^ “World ‘running out of Internet addresses'”. Archived from the original on 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
^ Smith, Lucie; Lipner, Ian (3 February 2011). “Free Pool of IPv4 Address Space Depleted”. Number Resource Organization. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
^ ICANN, nanog mailing list. “Five /8s allocated to RIRs – no unallocated IPv4 unicast /8s remain”.
^ Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (15 April 2011). “APNIC IPv4 Address Pool Reaches Final /8”. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
^ “Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification”. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
^ Fink, R. ; HInden, R. (March 2004). 6bone (IPv6 Testing Address Allocation) Phaseout. 17487/R
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What’s the Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6? – Guru99
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.
Now in this IPv4 and IPv6 difference tutorial, we will learn What is IPv4 and IPv6?
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.
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.
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.
Features of IPv4
Following are the features of IPv4:
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
Features of IPv6
Here are the 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 vs IPv6
Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6 Addresses
IPv4 & IPv6 are both IP addresses that are binary numbers. Comparing IPv6 vs IPv4, IPv4 is 32 bit binary number while IPv6 is 128 bit binary number address. IPv4 address are separated by periods while IPv6 address are separated by colons.
Both are used to identify machines connected to a network. In principle, they are the same, but they are different in how they work. Below are the main differences between IPv4 and IPv6:
Basis for differences
Size of IP address
IPv4 is a 32-Bit IP Address.
IPv6 is 128 Bit IP Address.
IPv4 is a numeric address, and its binary bits are separated by a dot (. )
IPv6 is an alphanumeric address whose binary bits are separated by a colon (:). It also contains hexadecimal.
Number of header fields
Length of header filed
Has checksum fields
Does not have checksum fields
12. 244. 233. 165
Type of Addresses
Unicast, broadcast, and multicast.
Unicast, multicast, and anycast.
Number of classes
IPv4 offers five different classes of IP Address. Class A to E.
lPv6 allows storing an unlimited number of IP Address.
You have to configure a newly installed system before it can communicate with other systems.
In IPv6, the configuration is optional, depending upon on functions needed.
IPv4 support VLSM (Variable Length Subnet mask).
IPv6 does not offer support for VLSM.
Fragmentation is done by sending and forwarding routes.
Fragmentation is done by the sender.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
RIP is a routing protocol supported by the routed daemon.
RIP does not support IPv6. It uses static routes.
Networks 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.
Widespread use of NAT (Network address translation) devices which allows single NAT address can mask thousands of
non-routable addresses, making end-to-end
It allows direct addressing because of vast address
Use for the designated network from host portion.
SNMP is a protocol used for system management.
SNMP does not support IPv6.
Mobility & Interoperability
Relatively constrained network topologies to which move restrict mobility and interoperability capabilities.
IPv6 provides interoperability and mobility
capabilities which are embedded in network devices.
Security is dependent on applications – IPv4 was not designed with security in mind.
IPSec(Internet Protocol Security) is built into the IPv6 protocol, usable with
a proper key infrastructure.
Packet size 576 bytes required, fragmentation optional
1208 bytes required without fragmentation
Allows from routers and sending host
Sending hosts only
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
Address (A) records, maps hostnames
Address (AAAA) records, maps hostnames
Manual or via DHCP
Stateless address autoconfiguration using Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) or DHCPv6
IP to MAC resolution
Multicast Neighbour Solicitation
Local subnet Group management
Internet Group Management Protocol GMP)
Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)
Has Optional Fields
Does not have optional fields. But Extension headers are available.
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) concerning network security is optional
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) Concerning network security is mandatory
Dynamic host configuration Server
Clients 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.
Uses ARP(Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address
Uses NDP(Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address
Combability with mobile devices
IPv4 address uses the dot-decimal notation. That’s why it is not suitable for mobile networks.
IPv6 address is represented in hexadecimal, colon- separated notation.
IPv6 is better suited to mobile
IPv4 and IPv6 cannot communicate with other but can exist together on the same network. This is known as Dual Stack.
IPv4 vs. IPv6 Benefits – What is it? | ThousandEyes
What is IPv6?
IPv6 is the next generation Internet Protocol (IP) address standard intended to supplement and eventually replace IPv4, the protocol many Internet services still use today. Every computer, mobile phone, home automation component, IoT sensor and any other device connected to the Internet needs a numerical IP address to communicate between other devices. The original IP address scheme, called IPv4, is running out of addresses due to its widespread usage from the proliferation of so many connected devices.
What is IPv4?
IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol version 4. It is the underlying technology that makes it possible for us to connect our devices to the web. Whenever a device accesses the Internet, it is assigned a unique, numerical IP address such as 99. 48. 227. To send data from one computer to another through the web, a data packet must be transferred across the network containing the IP addresses of both devices.
Why Support IPv6? What are the benefits of IPv6?
IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the sixth revision to the Internet Protocol and the successor to IPv4. It functions similarly to IPv4 in that it provides the unique IP addresses necessary for Internet-enabled devices to communicate. However, it does have one significant difference: it utilizes a 128-bit IP address.
Key benefits to IPv6 include:
No more NAT (Network Address Translation)
No more private address collisions
Better multicast routing
Simpler header format
Simplified, more efficient routing
True quality of service (QoS), also called “flow labeling”
Built-in authentication and privacy support
Flexible options and extensions
Easier administration (no more DHCP)
IPv4 uses a 32-bit address for its Internet addresses. That means it can provide support for 2^32 IP addresses in total â around 4. 29 billion. That may seem like a lot, but all 4. 29 billion IP addresses have now been assigned, leading to the address shortage issues we face today.
IPv6 utilizes 128-bit Internet addresses. Therefore, it can support 2^128 Internet addresses—340, 282, 366, 920, 938, 463, 463, 374, 607, 431, 768, 211, 456 of them to be exact. The number of IPv6 addresses is 1028 times larger than the number of IPv4 addresses. So there are more than enough IPv6 addresses to allow for Internet devices to expand for a very long time.
The text form of the IPv6 address is xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx, where each x is a hexadecimal digit, representing 4 bits. Leading zeros can be omitted. The double colon (::) can be used once in the text form of an address, to designate any number of 0 bits.
With Dual-IP stacks, your computers, routers, switches, and other devices run both protocols, but IPv6 is the preferred protocol. A typical procedure for businesses is to start by enabling both TCP/IP protocol stacks on the wide area network (WAN) core routers, then perimeter routers and firewalls, followed by data-center routers and finally the desktop access routers.
ThousandEyes Support for IPv6
With IPv6 becoming more prevalent in cloud provider and consumer access networks, you may already be on the path to IPv6 deployment with your network and applications.
If you are looking to understand IPv6 in your environment there are three things you should be monitoring:
IPv6 DNS resolution
IPv6 traffic paths
IPv6 BGP prefixes and routes
ThousandEyes has support for IPv6 so that organizations can utilize IPv6 across all of their test types (web, network, voice, routing) and agent types (cloud, enterprise, endpoint).
ThousandEyes Cloud Agent support for IPv6 is provided on six continents allowing global coverage for organizations. ThousandEyes also supports the use of dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 Enterprise Agents. Enterprise Agents can have both addresses assigned and executes tests based on a user-defined preference for only IPv4, only IPv6 or a preference for IPv6.
Frequently Asked Questions about ip v 4
What is IP vs IPv4?
Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6 AddressesBasis for differencesIPv4Size of IP addressIPv4 is a 32-Bit IP Address.Addressing methodIPv4 is a numeric address, and its binary bits are separated by a dot (.)Number of header fields12Length of header filed2026 more rows•Oct 7, 2021
What is the meaning of IP 4?
IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol version 4. It is the underlying technology that makes it possible for us to connect our devices to the web. Whenever a device accesses the Internet, it is assigned a unique, numerical IP address such as 99.48. 227.227.
Is IPv4 better than IPv6?
The Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is more advanced and has better features compared to IPv4. It has the capability to provide an infinite number of addresses. It is replacing IPv4 to accommodate the growing number of networks worldwide and help solve the IP address exhaustion problem.