What’s IPV4 and IPV6… And what thing lead to the need to IPV6?


What’s IPV4 and IPV6… And what thing lead to the need to IPV6?

In: Technology

Those are the adresses of the Internet. When devices communicate with eachother, they say sth. like “no. 369, here is the current weather forecast”.
IPV4 and IPV6 define the length of the adress and therefore the maximum of users at the same time.
IPV4 is widely spread and running out of adresses, that is why IPV6 is comming: longer adresses for more users.

IP addresses, including IPv4 and IPv6, are a piece of data used to tell apart one computer from another in a network. Quite like your home address (or PO box in a mail office)

IPv4 has one major problem, which is that it can only store 32 bits of data (about 4 billion different addresses). Imagine filling out a billing address form, but the address field has a 10-character limit. Meanwhile, there are more than 4 billion IPs needed on the internet. The number looks like much, but it’s really not since some computers take more than one IP address. Some even take up a whole group of them (a subnet).

Which is why IPv6 is a thing. It’s basically a longer version of IPv4 which lets you store more data in it.

Though, the internet and the entities managing them have used funky methods to prevent filling up these 4 billion IP addresses, because switching to IPv6 is a hassle and only a few percent of software and hardware support IPv6.

IP addresses are just like street addresses for the internet. They identify the location of a particular service on the internet, and just like delivering mail in the real world you need a source and destination address for a package or email to get to its destination on the internet.

When IPv4 was invented the internet was much smaller and they couldn’t have predicted that the internet would get as big as it has with everything from phones, to TVs, to fridges connected to the web.

IPv4 has 4,294,967,296 possible addresses (in practice a lot less than that) and due to a combination of decades of mismanagement and overuse we were running out of addresses.

IPv6 was invented to solve that problem and has 2^128 or 340 trillion trillion trillion possible addresses.

It solved a number of other problems too, but that’s the basics.

Basically the same thing. Both IPV4 and IPV6 are a way for computer to differentiate one another on a network (like the Internets). They’re basically addresses.

As for why IPV6 was made, well simply because there is one slight limitation with IPV4. IPV4 due to the way its made can only ever have a bit more than 4.2 billions addresses. Of course when people were creating it, they asked themselves “When are we gonne need more than 4.2 billions addresses?”

Well the answer was mid 2000 to 2010. They didn’t know nor expected that. So they started working on an alternative which is now known as IPV6 with 3.4 x 10^38 addresses available. Safe to say, we’re not getting there for a while… But it was too late.

One of the funny thing with computers is that when there is an issues, some people try to change things so we have a solution while other just re-use what exist. IPV4 is still widely used mostly because we chose to layer IPV4 on top of one another. If you have 4 devices at home that use the same WIFI, all of them go through a modem. That modem as an IP address. That modem has an IP address that can be available to everyone else, so they can easily talk to you. On the other hands, the devices behind have a different IP address. To reach them you need to give them the IP of the modem THEN the IP of the devices. they basically layered IPV4 on top of another. This can of course be done again and again, for example with a provider IP, modem IP, device IP. Can even go further if needed with country > provider > modem > device.

Basically, we could layer it as many time as we want. Best part, it mostly re-use what already exist and required little to no change on the network. Everything still work the same way it did for the vast majority of computer WITHOUT requiring the massive component upgrade that IPV4 to IPV6 would have required from the whole infrastructure. That’s why we still mostly use IPV4 today.