IPv4 vs IPv6 Address: Difference between IPv4 and IPv6

What is IPv4 & IPv6 address? What’s the difference between them? In this post, you can learn everything you need to know about the IPv4 vs IPv6 address.

Updated at2022/11/30Arya Munoz

ipv4 vs ipv6 address

IPv4 and IPv6 are the two versions of Internet Protocol (IP) widely used nowadays. They both allow online devices to communicate with each other over the web. But they work and format quite differently. In this article, we will dig into the comparison of IPv4 vs IPv6 address

What is IPv4 address?

IPv4 is the fourth revision of the Internet Protocol and is the most commonly used protocol today. It establishes the rules for how computer network function based on the principle of the packet exchange. Enable diversified devices to connect to the internet and transfer data packets to each other.

IPv4 is a 32-bit address written in four group numbers separated by a period, such as Each group of numbers (also called an Octet) can range from 0 to 255. As a result, the IPv4 can produce 4,294,967,296 (expressed as 2^32)unique addresses in total.

All IPv4 addresses have two parts. The first three octets represent the network ID and indicate which network the device is on. The last octet represents the host ID and identifies the specific device on that network.

What is IPv6 address?

IPv6 is the latest Internet Protocol version, first introduced in the late 1990s as a successor of IPV4. With the growth of internet, increasing number of devices connected to the internet leads to the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, the IPV6 is invented to provide more IP addresses to fulfill the demand.   IPv6 functions the same as IPv4 to some extent. It allows communication and data transfer to happen between devices over a network. IPv6 is a 128-bit IP address that stores 2^128 unique Internet addresses in total. It looks different with IPv4 and relies on colons for formatting, an example looks like this -2001:0de6:0001:0032:0000:8c2e:0370:7834.

IPv4 vs IPv6 difference

Both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are used to identify different network-connected devices. Although they are similar in principle, they differ in the ways how they work. The table below offers details on IPv4 vs IPv6 difference.

Size of IP address32-Bit (4 bytes)128-Bit (16 bytes)
IP address capacity4.3 billion340 undecillions
Addressing methodNumeric address and separated by a dotAlphanumeric address and separated by a colon
Type of AddressesUnicast, broadcast, and multicastUnicast, multicast, and anycast
Number of classesClass A to ENo classes
Address configurationDHCP or manual configurationStateless address auto-configuration
Number of header fields12 (length of 20-60 bytes)8 (fixed length of 40 bytes)
VLSM supportYesNo
Checksum in headerYesNo
Packet sizeMinimum size: 576 bytesMinimum size: 1208 bytes
Packet fragmentationBy routers and sending nodesBy sending nodes only
DNS recordsAddress (A) records, maps hostnamesAddress (AAAA) records, maps hostnames
IP to MAC resolutionBroadcast ARPMulticast neighbor Solicitation
Local subnet Group managementInternet Group Management Protocol (GMP)Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)
Mobility protocolUses Mobile IPv4 (MIPv4)Uses Mobile IPv6

IPv4 vs IPv6 Pros and Cons

IPv4 and IPv6 cannot communicate with each other, but they can coexist on one same device. Why this happen? That's because each one has its pros and cons. Keep reading the details and learn more about the IPV4 vs IPV6 difference.

what's the defference between IPv4 and IPv6

Pros of IPv4

Great encryption - IPv4 takes security measures to encrypt data in its address packets. Both privacy and security are maintained to a higher extent in IPv4.

Simple technology drawings - Contrary to IPv6, which has proven difficult to implement in most topology drawings, IPv4 protocols have simple prefixes. So, they can easily fit on all your topology drawings if you choose IPv4.

System Support - One of the best things about IPv4 protocols is that all systems are capable of handling IPv4 routing easily.

Device Connectivity - IPv4 can connect various devices across a large network without using NAT. Meantime, each device's identity can be verified along with the connection.

Cons of IPV4

Congratulation - IPV4 requires either manual or automatic configuration. DHCP is difficult because its infrastructure needs different management.

Infrastructure - Although IPV4 contains a mobility standard, it is regarded as ineffective. That's because it uses its infrastructure and runs on it.

Limited IP addresses - IPV4 provide a smaller pool of available IP addresses, the depletion of public addresses would be a big problem while using IPv4.

Pros of IPv6

More Unique Addresses - As said before, the IPV6 provides 340 undecillions of unique IP addresses. It's much more than the numbers provided by IPv4.

No Subnetting Problems - IPv6 uses automatic configuration to replace the static IP addresses and make it possible for you to say goodbye to the subnetting problems.

Directed Addressing - IPv6 uses multicast addressing instead of broadcast, which conserves network bandwidths by large data packets being sent across various directions simultaneously.

More mobility - When devices are geographically changed, IPv6 offers seamless connections by avoiding triangular routing. All the subnets can be moved to a new router without any renumbering.

Cons of IPv6

System issues - The IPv6 routing is to be enabled depending on the type of system. If it is enabled manually, the long IP addresses have to be remembered and typed. This task is not so easy.

Topology support - IPv6 module is equipped with extra space, which makes it difficult to fix prefixes on most of the topology drawings.

Devices upgrade - IPv6 is not available to network devices that run IPV4. To make the transformation seamless, expert opinion and extra costs are required to upgrade devices.

How to check my IPv4 or IPv6 address

You can use either one of the “IP lookup” websites or just type“My IP” on Google. They will show your IP address directly. If your network supports both IPv4 and IPv6, Google will always show your IPv6, the IP lookup tools may display both of them.

If you prefer to check IP address manually, here are the steps:

On Windows 10

    1. Go to Settings
    1. Network and Internet
    1. Select either Wi-Fi or Ethernet
    1. Select the connected network
    1. Scroll down to Properties
    1. You will find your IP address under properties.

On Mac

    1. Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences
    1. Click the Network icon
    1. Select the network connected
    1. The IP address is displayed under Status: Connected

Your IP address will disclose many information about you, such as your country, city, region, etc. The Sonics VPN can solve this problem perfectly by masking your real IP address or changing your IP address. It offers 5000+ ultra-fast VPN servers, 40+ virtual locations, and 10000+ IP addresses for you to choose from. Below are the steps for changing IP address with Sonic VPN:

  1. Download and install the VPN app from the Sonics homepage.

  2. Log into the VPN and click the Switch Location button at the bottom.

main face sonics vpn

  1. The available servers will be listed for your option.

sonics vpn server list


This article offers detailed insights into the differences in IPv4 vs IPv6 address. Each one has its value. The IPv6 was created for solving the problem that the world runs out of unique IPv4 IP addresses. But it still hasn’t replaced its predecessor after being built for decades because of the cost and compatibility issues of IPv6. 

With the rapid growth of the Internet, IPv6 can be crucial to Internet health in the long term. We believe that IPv4 and IPv6 will not coexist forever, and IPv6 will finally fulfill its mission.

Sonics VPN - Fast & Unlimited

Access to the Internet

  • Breakthrough the speed limit on network connection
  • Private and safe online surfing
  • Global streaming, gaming, downloading, social networks services
Download Sonics VPN to unblock global entertainments and enjoy fast, safe & private online surfing the Internet.