IPv4 and IPv6 are two forms of internet protocol, with IPv6 being the newer, more advanced version. The internet protocol (IP) is responsible for managing the addressing and routing of data packets across the internet. A protocol is a set of rules governing the way data is transmitted over a network. Here is an explanation of the differences between IPv4 and IPv6.
IPv4 is the fourth version of internet protocol that debuted in 1983. The protocol is primarily used to provide connectivity to the vast majority of devices that make up the internet. IPv4 uses a 32-bit address space, which provides the equivalent of around 4 billion addresses. IPv4 employs several different types of address classes, each with a specific range of possible values for their octets.
IPv4, however, is not without its drawbacks. Its 32-bit address space only provides enough room for about 4.3 billion unique addresses, which may seem like a lot, but the internet's rapid growth has caused a shortage of addresses. One of the primary reasons for this problem is the popularity of mobile devices and the "internet of things," which has increased the number of devices that require an IP address.
IPv6 is the latest version of internet protocol that was introduced in 1998. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address space which provides approximately 3.4 x 10^38 addresses, which is an enormous amount compared to IPv4. The protocol also employs a hierarchical addressing scheme that reduces routing overhead.
One of the key features of IPv6 is address auto-configuration, which eliminates the need for DHCP, making it easier to deploy IPv6 on a network. IPv6 also offers improved security and QoS (quality of service). For security, IPv6 offers IPsec as an integral part of the protocol, which encrypts data packets and protects them from being tampered with or changed.
IPv6 is quickly becoming the standard for future networks because of its superior features like a larger address space, better security, and robustness. In summary, IPv4 is an older protocol that's running out of space, while IPv6 is the new protocol that offers a much higher space allocation, better security, and QoS. The world is moving to IPv6, but IPv4 will continue to be used, at least for the foreseeable future, as most networks will continue to support it during the transition period.