An internet protocol (IP) address is a numerical label assigned to each device which is connected to a network using IP for communication. IP address helps to identify traffic originating from a unique computer on the network. There are two IP versions being used currently- IPv4 and IPv6. The IPv4 continues to the primary IP version accounting for nearly 94% of the total internet traffic. However, with time IPv6 will replace all IPv4 addresses. The key differences between IPv4 and IPv6 are provided below:
The IPv4 is a 32-bit IP address while IPv6 is more secure with 128-bit IP address. IPv4 uses numeric address and its binary bits are separated by a dot. IPv6 uses alphanumeric address and the binary bits here are separated by colon (:). The IPv4 is the fourth version of IP and initially published in 1981. IPv6 is the latest version of IP. It became a draft in 1998 and was established as an internet standard in the year 2017.
In case of IPv4, the basic networking structure needs to be manually configured or through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). The IPv4 also uses several layers to provide better networking performance which also requires proper maintenance of the same. The distinct advantage of using IPv6 is that it does not need to be manually configured like IPv4. It comes with the auto-configuration feature which is an improvement over the manual configuration of IPv4. The auto-configuration feature thus provides an edge to IPv6 in terms of networking performance.
The IPv4 implements the basic constrained network topologies. This is used to restrict mobility and interoperability for the same. The IPv6 allows for embedded interoperability and mobility capabilities for the networking devices. The IPv6 has a distinct edge over IPv4 in terms of mobility capabilities and features.
The IPv4 was not designed with security in mind. The security in IPv4 is dependent on the applications and it does not have any internal layers of security implemented. IPv6 comes with Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) in-built which is usable with proper key infrastructure. This allows it to follow proper layers of secured architecture. Hence, IPv6 is much more secure compared to the IPv4.
In IPv4, there is presence of routing protocol (RIP) supported by the routing daemon. On the other hand, in IPv6, there is no RIP support and it only uses static routes. This makes IPv4 more preferred over IPv6 for routing performance.