Exploring the Evolution: IPv4 vs. IPv6

Diffference Between IPv4 vs IPv6

Mahesh Sharma
2 min readApr 17, 2024

In the vast expanse of the internet, communication between devices relies on a complex system of protocols to navigate and transmit data.

At the heart of this system lie IP addresses, unique numerical identifiers that facilitate the exchange of information across networks.

IPv4 and IPv6 are two versions of the Internet Protocol, each with its own set of characteristics and capabilities.

Let’s delve into the differences between IPv4 and IPv6, unraveling the evolution of internet addressing.

IPv4: The Legacy Protocol

IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4, has been the predominant protocol used for internet communication since its inception. It utilizes 32-bit addresses, expressed in dotted-decimal notation (e.g.,, allowing for approximately 4.3 billion unique addresses.

While IPv4 has served the internet well for decades, its limited address space has become a significant bottleneck in the face of the internet’s exponential growth.

IPv6: The Next Generation

IPv6, or Internet Protocol version 6, represents the future of internet addressing, designed to overcome the limitations of IPv4 and accommodate the ever-expanding demands of the digital age.

IPv6 employs 128-bit addresses, exponentially increasing the available address space to a mind-boggling 340 undecillion (3.4 × 10³⁸) unique addresses.

This abundance of addresses ensures that every device, from smartphones to IoT devices, can have its unique identifier, facilitating seamless connectivity and scalability.

Key Differences:

  1. Address Space: IPv4 utilizes 32-bit addresses, allowing for approximately 4.3 billion unique addresses, whereas IPv6 employs 128-bit addresses, providing an astronomically larger pool of addresses to accommodate the growing number of internet-connected devices.
  2. Address Notation: IPv4 addresses are expressed in dotted-decimal notation (e.g.,, while IPv6 addresses are represented in hexadecimal notation with eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons (e.g., 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334).
  3. Header Format: IPv6 features a simplified header format compared to IPv4, with streamlined packet processing and support for more efficient routing and packet handling.
  4. Security and Mobility: IPv6 incorporates built-in security features such as IPsec and provides enhanced support for mobile devices and seamless roaming across networks.
  5. Transition Mechanisms: Various transition mechanisms have been developed to facilitate the migration from IPv4 to IPv6, allowing for coexistence and interoperability between the two protocols during the transition period.

The Transition to IPv6:

While IPv6 offers significant advantages over IPv4, the transition to IPv6 has been gradual due to the entrenched infrastructure and legacy systems built around IPv4.

However, with the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the proliferation of internet-enabled devices, the adoption of IPv6 is becoming increasingly imperative.


In conclusion, IPv4 and IPv6 represent distinct stages in the evolution of internet addressing, each with its strengths and limitations. While IPv4 has served as the backbone of the internet for decades, IPv6 offers a path forward to address the challenges of scalability, security, and connectivity in the digital age.

Embracing IPv6 is essential for future-proofing the internet and ensuring its continued growth and innovation in the years to come.



Mahesh Sharma

Hey, I'm Mahesh Sharma, a passionate digital marketer with 10+ years of experience in the field. I'll be sharing topics such as SEO, SMO, PPC/ SEM.