Best Walkthrough to Understand the Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

To access the internet from our devices, you require an IP address, which acts as a unique address for the device. But there are two versions of IP addresses to choose from, IPv4 and IPv6. In this tutorial on 'IPv4 vs IPv6', you will understand the differences between the IP address and which IP to choose for our system.

What Is an IP Address?

Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a set of rules and a method designed to allow the device to access the internet and serve as a unique identification medium.


An Internet protocol address (IP address) is designed to have a unique combination of numbers and periods, such as This combination of numbers acts as an identity for the system when it connects to the internet for accessing data.

Further in this tutorial on ‘IPv4 vs IPv6’, you will look into the need for understanding the difference between the IPv4 and IPv6 for assigning addresses for the system.

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Versions of IP Address

To meet the increasing demand of the IP address for network devices, the original IP version, i.e., IPv4 (IP address version type 4), will not be able to cover the need of users, so to overcome the situation of IP address unavailability, IPv6 (IP address version type 6) address were introduced.



IP addresses in version 4 type are designed to be of 32-bit type binary format and contain around 232 addresses, and these addresses were sufficient as a primary requirement.


The addresses in this address type range from 0 to 255 in terms of 0s and 1s, with four octets, each of them separated by a period (.). The network device uses the binary format, whereas the numerical format is used for the host's reference.


An IPv6 address type is designed of 128 bits from which 4 are hexadecimal digits, and it created eight sets, with each block containing 16 bits separated by a colon (:).



The total number of addresses in IPv6 address type is around 320 undecillion.

IPv4 vs IPv6

The difference between IP addresses of version types 4 and 6 can be made based on multiple features and applications, which are:

  • Address Length



IPv4 is composed of 32-bit address length and is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP).

IPv6 is composed of 128-bit address length and is the latest updated version of the Internet Protocol (IP).

  • Address Configuration Settings



Requires manual and DHCP configuration for communication with the network.

IPv6 configuration depends according to the requirement of the system and supports manual, and auto-configuration.

  • Address Size



IPv4 consists of approximately 4 billion addresses.

IPv6 addressing consists of 320 undecillion addresses.

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  • Address Fields



IPv4 address is numerically based with 4 fields separated by a dot (.).

IPv6 address is alphanumeric based consisting of 8 fields separated by a colon (:).

  • Address Encryption and Authentication



In the case of IPv4 addressing no encryption or authentication services are initiated.

IPv6 provides proper encryption and authentication services for the address.

  • Address Routing Performance



In the case of Ipv4, it follows routing protocol (RIP), for functioning, hence more preferred over IPv6.

In the case of IPv6, no routing support protocol is applied. It uses static routes for functioning.

  • Address Security Function



IPv4 does not provide any mandatory security measures, and it depends on the application being used.

IPv6 provides, integrated Internet Protocol Security {IPSec} over different levels of the network architecture.

  • IP Classes



In the case of IPv4, it has 5 types of classes, Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E.

IPv6 type addresses do not include any class type.

  • Address Integrity



IPv4 settings do not allow to configure integrity settings.

IPv6 type addresses allow configuring integrity settings.


In this article on 'IPv4 vs IPv6', we understood the need for an IP address in the system followed by understanding which IP address type to choose for our network device through the detailed explanation of the difference between both the types.

If you want to further know about the working and configuration of both IPv4 and IPv6 address types, you can visit Simplilearn's Advanced Executive Program In Cyber Security course and gain more knowledge on the working of the network models and configuration.

Do you have any questions related to this tutorial on ‘IPv4 vs IPv6’? If yes, feel free to mention them in the comment section at the bottom of this page. Our team will help you solve your queries ASAP.

About the Author

Anmol KapoorAnmol Kapoor

Anmol is a Research Analyst who aims to become a Data Scientist one day. He enjoys Data Management systems and analysis. You will find him reading a book when he is not working.

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