February 12, 2021
IPv6 refers to the next generation of Internet protocol (IP) that is yet to replace the existing IPv4, the protocol that power’s most of today’s internet. It is intended to solve the need for more IP addresses, as the existing 4.3 billion IPv4 are almost exhausted.

Unlike IPv4 which supports 4.3 billion addresses (32-bit address) IPv6 has the ability to support 2^128 IP addresses (340, 282, 366, 920, 938, 463, 463, 374, 607, 431, 768, 211, 456).

IPv6 addresses are expressed as 8 groups, of four hexadecimal values that are separated by colons.

IPv6 Example

IPv6 functionality

  • Extended address space

As stated earlier, IPv6 supports 128-bit (16-byte) source and destination IP addresses. This eliminates some middlemen technologies and mechanisms such as deployment NATs.

  • Simple Header Format

IPv6’s header has been made simple by moving options and unnecessary information (available in the IPv4 header), to the end of the IPv6 header.

  • Stateful address configuration and Stateless

By using both stateful and stateless configuration (absent DHCP server), and stateful (present DHCP server) it’s simple to configure hosts.

  • Built-In Security (IPSec)

IPv6 has enhanced security features compared to IPv4 because of its support for IPSec security.

  • Extensibility

This is among the main advantages of IPv6 as it provides extensibility to add information in an option part. Unlike IPv4, this protocol can be the same size as the packet itself.

  • Mobility

There are more devices in the world than they were when IPv4 was invented. IPv6 is built to support all these devices including IoT devices, mobile phones, etc. This is because of its ability to capitalize on extension headers and IP autoconfiguration.

IPv6 Vs IPv4

IPv4 IPv6
32-bit addresses 128-bit address
Unachievable end-to-end connection integrity Achievable end to end connection integrity
Manual and DHCP address configuration support Auto and renumbering address configuration support
Security feature depends on the application In-Built IPSec security feature
Supports broadcast message transmission scheme Available anycast and multicast message transmission
20-60 bytes header capacity 40 bytes fixed header
Checksum field available Lack of Checksum field
Decimal address representation Hexadecimal address representation
Uses Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) in MAC address mapping Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) in MAC address mapping
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