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differences, advantages and the future of the Internet

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IP addresses play an important role when connecting devices to the Internet. There are two main types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. But what’s the difference between the two? Let’s take a closer look at what IPv4 and v6 are and their advantages and disadvantages.

IPv4 versus IPv6

IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) is the older of the two IP address types, introduced in 1983 and used by ARPANET at the time. This allows up to 4.3 billion unique IP addresses to be allocated on the World Wide Web or public part of the Internet. This may sound like a lot, but with the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smart home devices, the number of available IP addresses is getting smaller and smaller. Still, this is now less of a threat than you might think. After all, public WWW typically uses only one IP address. The device itself is placed in a private LAN and occupies only one private IP, such as 192.168.0.xxx. This type of private address can be easily assigned by any router or his DHCP server. Public addresses are not reserved for this purpose.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the newer of the two types, standardized in 1995 and first introduced in 1998. This allows you to assign 340 unique IP addresses. This unimaginable number is to ensure that enough IP addresses will be available for all devices and applications on the Internet in the distant future.

Differences between IPv4 and IPv6

One of the most obvious differences between versions 4 and 6 is the number of IP addresses available. As mentioned earlier, IPv4 allows for up to 4.3 billion IP addresses, while IPv6 allows for 340 IP addresses. Another difference is the length of the IP address. An IPv4 address consists of 32 bits and is represented in the format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. Entering such addresses manually is still relatively straightforward. However, IPv6 takes the cake in terms of length. These addresses consist of 128 bits and are represented in the format xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx. You can use not only digits, but also HEX values, that is, all letters a to f and digits 0 to 9 in some cases.

Would you like to use IPv4 instead of IPv6?

Both IPv4 and IPv6 are valid internet protocols and are used interchangeably today. However, as the number of available IPv4 addresses dwindles, IPv6 is increasingly seen as the future of the Internet, although the transition could take several more years. Since both types exist at the same time, the transition is smooth. However, as an end user, it doesn’t matter which protocol you use on the WWW.

IPv6 is a newer and more future-proof option, but IPv4 is still widely used. Many older devices and networks only support IPv4 and it can be difficult to switch them to his IPv6. However, it is important to note that IPv4 addresses are in short supply and it may become increasingly difficult to obtain new IPv4 addresses in the future. Therefore, we recommend supporting both IPv4 and 6 and gradually migrating to IPv6. If your provider already offers v6, then of course you can already use the new standard.

IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time with Fritzbox

Many modern routers and networks, such as Fritzbox, support both IPv4 and IPv6 standards. This means that both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses can be assigned when setting up the Fritzbox, so both variants can be used. However, this also means that the desired standard must be enabled or disabled in the network settings of Windows 10 or 11. If both are active at the same time, all traffic will go through v6.

pros and cons

Both protocols have very specific strengths and weaknesses, so using both standards at the same time is often the sensible solution. IPv4 has the advantage of being ubiquitous and widely supported, while IPv6 has the advantage of having more addresses and is generally easier to manage. However, IPv4 has the drawback of having a very limited number of addresses available compared to v6, and IPv6 has the drawback that older devices and networks may not support it.

Is IPv6 faster than IPv4?

IPv6 offers better features and enhancements, but it doesn’t outperform IPv4 in terms of speed. Rather, it depends on other factors such as the speed of your internet connection and the performance of your internal network. Both protocols can send data quickly in packets. However, the main advantages of IPv6 are support for large numbers of devices and ease of address management.

Convert internet protocol

One way to convert IPv6 traffic to IPv4 is by using so-called tunneling technology. IPv6-over-4 tunnels, or IPv4 to IPv6 tunnels, embed v6 data in IPv4 packets, allowing IPv6 packets to traverse IPv4 networks. This allows IPv6 endpoints to access IPv4 resources even if the IPv4 network does not have native IPv6 support. There are many different tunneling protocols that can be used such as Teredo, 6to4, ISATAP. However, one of the drawbacks of tunneling technology is that it adds overhead that can affect speed and latency.

Switching from IPv6 to IPv4

Switching from IPv6 to the older IPv4 protocol (also called downgrading) can be necessary for a number of reasons. One common reason is that a particular application or device is only compatible with his IPv4 and therefore does not work as expected in an IPv6 network. Another reason might be that the IPv6 network is not working stably due to some error or problem and he needs to switch back to IPv4 temporarily. To switch from IPv6 to 4, either disable his IPv6 support in your router or network device, or use special software that can tunnel IPv6 packets into his IPv4 packets. Note, however, that downgrading to IPv4 is not the best long-term solution. IPv4 addresses will run out and may not be fully available in the future.

If you want to use a specific protocol in Windows 10 or 11, or just want to see what your current settings are, you can easily do that from your network settings.

IPv4 vs IPv6: Accessing network settings
IPv4 vs IPv6: Accessing network settings

[スタート]in the menu[ネットワーク接続の表示], then right-click the network connection you are currently using. Select Properties to open another window with information about the selected connection.

Network connection properties
Open network connection properties

Now you can see the enabled protocols in the list. A standard Windows 11 installation has both v4 and v6 protocols enabled at the same time. This rarely causes problems on the network. Especially in a mixed environment. For example, your computer may not appear in your network environment, or you may not see open games on your LAN because the game is not running on the same protocol as another computer.

List of Internet Protocols (IPv4 and IPv6)
List of Internet Protocols (IPv4 and IPv6)

If you want to change this, simply turn the desired protocol on or off. For example, local networks can hardly take advantage of IPv6. On the contrary, it is an efficient way to bypass all firewalls on your computer, especially third-party firewalls. Since this standard is sufficient and you don’t need to enter long IP addresses, it makes sense to disable IPv6 and continue using v4 on your LAN.

How is your trip going?

IPv4 vs IPv6 is an important topic. Since its introduction in 1983, Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) has been the primary method for identifying and connecting devices on the ARPANET then and today’s Internet respectively. With the growth of the Internet and online devices, IPv4 addresses are gradually running out. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) was created to solve this problem.

IPv6 provides a much larger number of possible addresses and improves the efficiency and scalability of the Internet. Another important aspect when weighing IPv4 and IPv6 is security. This is because IPv6 provides built-in support for security protocols such as IPSec. Overall, IPv6 offers various advantages over IPv4. As such, it will sooner or later become critical for businesses and organizations to migrate their networks and devices to IPv6. Either way, communication and networking for all devices is a decisive factor for success in the digital world.

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