Comparative Essay

IPv4 and IPv6

Networks usually pair IP with a protocol called TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), which is used to establish virtual connections between source and destination.

IP works in a way similar to a postal system, in that it allows for addressing of packages and dropping them in the system though no direct link exists between recipient and sender. TCP/IP, meanwhile, establishes connections between hosts so as to allow them to send messages to and fro for some time.

IPv4 and IPv6 are two versions of Internet Protocol. IPv6 is an upgrade to the Internet Protocol. IPv6 and IPv4 are expected to coexist for some time.

IPv6 is a lot more efficient than IPv4 due to several improvements over IPv4. IPv6 was first defined in RFC 2460 and is an absolute implementation of the network layer of the TCP/IP protocol. In the following are some of the major differences between the two.

  • ¬†Address of both the protocols: There is a difference between the address of IPv4 and IPv6. The address of IPv4 is 32 bits (4bytes) while the address of IPv6 is 128 bits (16 bytes). It is difficult to imagine how many more addresses are present for IPv6 in contrast to IPv4.
  • Packet size: The packet size for IPv4 is of 576 bytes with an option of fragmentation. Meanwhile, the packet size for IPv6 is 1280 bytes without the fragmentation.
  • Packet Header: The IPv4 packet header does not recognize packet flow for QoS (Quality of Service) handling while the IPv6 consists of a flow label field specifying packet flow for QoS handling. The packet header for IPv4 includes a checksum while the packet header for IPv6 does not include any checksum.
  • ICMP: ICMP is an important component in IPv6. Unlike the fundamental messages found in IPv4, IPv6 includes a large number of new ICMP messages.
  • Greater efficiency of routing: Unlike in IPv4, the routers in IPv6 do not need to fragment the packets which are considered as an intensive process which slows a network down.
  • Built in a quality of services: IPv4 does not acquire any technique to differentiate between bulk data transfers and delay-sensitive packets, whereas IPv6 acquires this ability and does not require any extensive workarounds.

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