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Differences between IPv4 and IPv6 – Linksys Official Support
The Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is a protocol for use on packet-switched Link Layer networks (e. g. Ethernet). IPv4 provides an addressing capability of approximately 4. 3 billion addresses.
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.
One of the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 is the appearance of the IP addresses. IPv4 uses four 1 byte decimal numbers, separated by a dot (i. e. 192. 168. 1. 1), while IPv6 uses hexadecimal numbers that are separated by colons (i. fe80::d4a8:6435:d2d8:d9f3b11).
Below is the summary of the differences between the IPv4 and IPv6:
IPv4IPv6No. of bits on IP Address32128FormatdecimalhexadecimalCapable of Addresses4. 3 billioninfinite numberHow to ping ping
Advantages of IPv6 over IPv4:
IPv6 simplified the router’s task compared to IPv4. IPv6 is more compatible to mobile networks than IPv4. IPv6 allows for bigger payloads than what is allowed in IPv4. IPv6 is used by less than 1% of the networks, while IPv4 is still in use by the remaining 99%.
Checking the computer’s IPv6 AddressHow to verify if your system is capable of IPv6 connectivityLinksys devices that support IPv6
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IPv4 vs. IPv6: What’s the Difference? | Avast
IPv4: a brief history
Before we get into the differences between the two IP address protocols, what’s IPv4? Well, an IP address is a string of numbers that is assigned to a device to identify it on the internet. It is an address, just as the number and street of your home is an address. While your home address is used to send you mail, your IP address is used to send packets of data that you request.
Internet Protocol version 4, generally referred to as IPv4, was developed in the early 1980s. An IPv4 address comprises four numbers, each ranging from 0 to 255, which are separated by periods. For example, Avast’s IP address is 5. 62. 42. 77. There is more to IP addresses, and it helps to understand the essentials of TCP/IP as well, but these are the basics.
Every website has an IP address; we just don’t use them anymore, typically. In the early days of the internet, it was necessary to know a website’s IP address in order to navigate to it. Then, the Domain Name Service (DNS) came along, which translates numbers into names. So when you type in “ the DNS translates that back to 5. This enables us to navigate the web much more conveniently, as it’s much easier to recall a website’s name than its IP address.
Have we run out of IPv4 addresses?
IPv4 has a theoretical limit of 4. 3 billion addresses, and in 1980, that was more than enough. But as the internet grew and went global, we quickly ran out of addresses, especially in today’s era of smartphones and IoT devices.
The internet has been running out of IPv4 addresses since the 1990s. While clever engineers have found ways around the problem, it wasn’t long before a more permanent fix became the goal. Developed to solve these capacity issues for good, IPv6 was needed when IPv4 could no longer support the load.
At present, IPv4 coexists on the internet with its newer version, though eventually, everything will use IPv6. Replacing old IPv4 equipment would be prohibitively expensive and disruptive, and so IPv6 is being slowly rolled out as older IPv4 hardware is retired.
IPv6: the future of the web?
Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6, was first introduced in the late 1990s as a replacement for IPv4. Even then the builders of the internet realized IPv4’s limitations and the eventual shortage.
IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, allowing for a theoretical 340, 282, 366, 920, 938, 463, 463, 374, 607, 431, 768, 211, 456, or 340 undecillion addresses. IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, with the groups being separated by colons. One example might be “2002:0de6:0001:0042:0100:8c2e:0370:7234, ” but methods to abbreviate this full notation exist.
In addition to increasing the supply of IP addresses, IPv6 also addressed IPv4’s many shortcomings — chief among them being security, which we’ll delve into more later.
IPv4 vs. IPV6
The advent of IPv6 brought more functionality, in addition to more IP addresses. For example, IPv6 supports multicast addressing, which allows bandwidth-intensive packet flows (such as multimedia streams) to be sent to multiple destinations simultaneously, reducing network bandwidth. But is IPv6 better than IPv4? Let’s find out.
IPv6 has a new feature called autoconfiguration, which allows a device to generate an IPv6 address as soon as it powers up and puts itself on the network. The device begins by looking for an IPv6 router. If one is present, the device can generate a local address and a globally routable address, allowing access to the wider internet. In IPv4-based networks, the process of adding devices often has to be done manually.
IPv6 allows devices to stay connected to several networks simultaneously. This is due to interoperability and configuration capabilities that enable the hardware to automatically assign multiple IP addresses to the same device.
Next, we examine the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 through the lenses of speed and security.
IPv4 vs. IPv6: Speed comparison
How do IPv4 and IPv6 compare when it comes to speed? The security blog Sucuri ran a series of tests in which they found that in direct connections, IPv4 and IPv6 delivered the same speed. IPv4 occasionally won the test.
In theory, IPv6 should be a little faster since cycles don’t have to be wasted on NAT translations. But IPv6 also has larger packets, which may make it slower for some use cases. What really makes a difference at this point is that IPv4 networks are mature and thus highly optimized, more so than IPv6 networks. So with time and tuning, IPv6 networks will get faster.
IPv4 vs. IPv6: Security comparison
IPv6 was built with more security in mind. IP Security (IPSec) is a series of IETF security protocols for security, authentication, and data integrity, and it’s fully integrated into IPv6. The thing is, IPSec can also be fully integrated into IPv4. It’s up to ISPs to implement it — and not all companies do.
IPv6 is designed for end-to-end encryption, so in theory, widespread adoption of IPv6 will make man-in-the-middle attacks significantly more difficult.
IPv6 also supports more-secure name resolution. The Secure Neighbor Discovery (SEND) protocol adds a security extension to the Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP), which handles discovery of other network nodes on a local link. By default, NDP is not secure, so it can be susceptible to malicious interference. SEND secures NDP with a cryptographic method that is independent of IPsec.
Thanks to native IPSec, IPv6 provides two security headers which can be used separately or together: the Authentication Header (AH) and Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP). Authentication Header provides data-origin authentication and protection against replay attacks, while 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. IPv4 can also have this protection if IPSec is implemented on the network.
IPv4 has been significantly updated over the years, so the difference between IPv4 and IPv6 security is not extraordinary. The same IPSec in IPv6 is now available for IPv4; it’s up to network providers and end users alike to embrace and use it — so a properly configured IPv4 network can be as secure as an IPv6 network.
Avast SecureLine VPN is currently compatible only with IPv4, but keeps your IP completely hidden with bank-grade encryption to maintain safety and anonymity online.
Additional benefits of IPv6
IPv6 allows for binding a public signature key — one-half of an asymmetric encryption system, the other being the private key — to an IPv6 address. The resulting Cryptographically Generated Address allows the user to demonstrate “proof of ownership” for a particular IPv6 address and validate their identity. It is impossible to retrofit this functionality to IPv4 with the current 32-bit address space constraint.
The new protocol also enables end-to-end connectivity at the IP layer by eliminating the need for Network Address Translation (NAT) — one of the workarounds designed to conserve IPv4 addresses. This transition opens the door for new and valuable services. Peer-to-peer networks are easier to create and maintain, and services such as VoIP and Quality of Service (QoS) become more robust.
Also, IPv6 brings the ability to belong to many networks simultaneously, with a unique address on each network, and the ability to combine multiple enterprise networks without readdressing.
Ultimately: Is IPv6 better? Usually, but not always. If you’re asking yourself, “Should I use IPv6? ” read on before making your decision.
How to disable IPv6 on Windows, Mac, and Linux
Since very few VPN services support IPv6, IPv6 traffic on your physical NIC may leak information about your online activity or your hardware MAC address. For that reason, if your ISP does support IPv6, but you use a VPN like SecureLine VPN, you should disable IPv6 on your system.
The first thing to do is determine if your ISP supports IPv6. Comcast most notably does and makes a lot of noise about it. However, plenty of big-name ISPs do not, such as Spectrum (which you may know as Time Warner or Road Runner). This site will help you determine if your ISP supports it.
If the IPv6 connectivity test says “Not supported, ” then you are OK and your IPv6 address isn’t leaking. Spectrum falls into this category. If the test for IPv6 connectivity says “Supported, ” then you should consider disabling the IPv6 in your operating system.
Instructions for disabling IPv6 are available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Why don’t we switch to IPv6 permanently?
We will, in time. Legacy technologies take a long time to die off, and the switch to a replacement is never as fast as its supporters would prefer. There will be a permanent migration to IPv6, but it will take decades to achieve. The Internet Society reported last year that there are 24 countries in the world where IPv6 totals more than 15% of overall IP traffic, and 49 that have topped the 5% threshold. So migration from IPv4 to IPv6 is progressing very slowly.
How to Protect your IP address
Why protect your IP address? With your location showing, you expose yourself to a variety of security and privacy issues, such as:
Packet sniffing: Hackers can observe your IP traffic to find out sensitive information about you such as your online banking activity.
Surveillance: Your ISP, snoops, and even governments can spy on your web Websites can see your location and discriminate against you based on it. They can block content and even raise prices.
Avast SecureLine VPN hides your IP address and anonymizes your online activity to keep you safe online. Take back your online privacy in just one click.
Are You Using IPv6 Yet? Should You Even Care? – HowToGeek
IPv6 is extremely important for the long-term health of the Internet. But is your Internet service provider providing IPv6 connectivity yet? Does your home network support it? Should you even care if you’re using IPv6 yet?
Switching from IPv4 to IPv6 will give the Internet a much larger pool of IP addresses. It should also allow every device to have its own public IP address, rather than be hidden behind a NAT router.
IPv6 is Important Long-Term
RELATED: What Is IPv6, and Why Does It Matter?
IPv6 is very important for the long-term health of the Internet. There are only about 3. 7 billion public IPv4 addresses. This may sound like a lot, but it isn’t even one IP address for each person on the planet. Considering people have more and more Internet-connected devices — everything from light bulbs to thermostats are starting to become network-connected — the lack of IP addresses is already proving to be a serious problem.
This may not affect those of us in well-off developed countries just yet, but developing countries are already running out of IPv4 addresses.
So, if you work at an Internet service provider, manage Internet-connected servers, or develop software or hardware — yes, you should care about IPv6! You should be deploying it and ensuring your software and hardware works properly with it. It’s important to prepare for the future before the current IPv4 situation becomes completely unworkable.
But, if you’re just typical user or even a typical geek with a home Internet connection and a home network, should you really care about your home network just yet? Probably not.
What You Need to Use IPv6
To use IPv6, you’ll need three things:
An IPv6-Compatible Operating System: Your operating system’s software must be capable of using IPv6. All modern desktop operating systems should be compatible — Windows Vista and newer versions of Windows, as well as modern versions of Mac OS X and Linux. Windows XP doesn’t have IPv6 support installed by default, but you shouldn’t be using Windows XP anymore, anyway.
A Router With IPv6 Support: Many — maybe even most — consumer routers in the wild don’t support IPv6. Check your router’s specifications details to see if it supports IPv6 if you’re curious. If you’re going to buy a new router, you’ll probably want to get one with IPv6 support to future-proof yourself. If you don’t have an IPv6-enabled router yet, you don’t need to buy a new one just to get it.
An ISP With IPv6 Enabled: Your Internet service provider must also have IPv6 set up on their end. Even if you have modern software and hardware on your end, your ISP has to provide an IPv6 connection for you to use it. IPv6 is rolling out steadily, but slowly — there’s a good chance your ISP hasn’t enabled it for you yet.
How to Tell If You’re Using IPv6
The easiest way to tell if you have IPv6 connectivity is to visit a website like This website allows you to connect to it in different ways — click the links near the top to see if you can connect to the website via different types of connections. If you can’t connect via IPv6, it’s either because your operating system is too old (unlikely), your router doesn’t support IPv6 (very possible), or because your ISP hasn’t enabled it for you yet (very likely).
If you can connect to the test website above via IPv6, congratulations! Everything is working as it should. Your ISP is doing a good job of rolling out IPv6 rather than dragging its feet.
There’s a good chance you won’t have IPv6 working properly, however. So what should you do about this — should you head to Amazon and buy a new IPv6-enabled router or switch to an ISP that offers IPv6? Should you use a “tunnel broker, ” as the test site recommends, to tunnel into IPv6 via your IPv4 connection?
Well, probably not. Typical users shouldn’t have to worry about this yet. Connecting to the Internet via IPv6 shouldn’t be perceptibly faster, for example. It’s important for operating system vendors, hardware companies, and Internet service providers to prepare for the future and get IPv6 working, but you don’t need to worry about this on your home network.
IPv6 is all about future-proofing. You shouldn’t be racing to implement this at home yet or worrying about it too much — but, when you need to buy a new router, try to buy one that supports IPv6.
Image Credit: Adobe of Chaos on Flickr, hisperati on Flickr, Vox Efx on Flickr
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Frequently Asked Questions about ipv4 vs 6
Which is faster IPv4 or IPv6?
IPv4 occasionally won the test. In theory, IPv6 should be a little faster since cycles don’t have to be wasted on NAT translations. But IPv6 also has larger packets, which may make it slower for some use cases. … So with time and tuning, IPv6 networks will get faster.May 8, 2020
Should I enable IPv4 or IPv6?
Switching from IPv4 to IPv6 will give the Internet a much larger pool of IP addresses. It should also allow every device to have its own public IP address, rather than be hidden behind a NAT router.Sep 22, 2016
What is difference IPv4 and IPv6?
The main difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the address size of IP addresses. The IPv4 is a 32-bit address, whereas IPv6 is a 128-bit hexadecimal address. IPv6 provides a large address space, and it contains a simple header as compared to IPv4.