IF you have a little bit of internet knowledge, you should know what IP addresses are. If not, let’s get you up to speed: and IP address is a unique set of numbers (and letters) which the network assigned to each device connected to it. For example, when you connect to the internet, your computer gets a unique IP address which looks like this – 192.168.15.10. This is the usual outline of a typical IPv4 address.
But, there is a small problem. The internet has become massive, with millions, even billions of users. And it has slowly, but surely, run out of the old, IPv4 style addresses. The last blocks of these address have their owners now. The successor of the IPv4 is the IPv6. So, let’s hear a little bit more about this new player in town.
The new way to identify network devices is known as the IPv6. The main reason it had to be introduced is, of course, the fact that there weren’t enough IPv4 addresses. But, another equally important reason was the fact that this new system simplifies assignments and provides much better security features.
The transition from one address system to another did not go without problems, however. Most of the average computer users have no idea what IP addresses are, let alone the difference between them. Also, they don’t understand the impact it can have on their everyday computer use. This short guide is, therefore, essential so you can understand what these addresses are, how they work, why are they important and the main differences between them.
How to tell them apart?
As we mentioned, the 32-bit IPv4 is the older technology, based on a set of 4 8-bit number combinations. Thanks to the IP address, a device connected to the internet can safely communicate with another device, send data and exchange information. Without it, computers cannot communicate with each other. It is the essential part of the Internet infrastructure. This technology served the internet community just fine for the past years, but now it is completely depleted, meaning all the IPv4 addresses are reserved.
Meanwhile, IPv6 appeared as the next generation type of address. This is the sixth version of the Internet Protocol, hence the IPv6 name. It works completely the same as the previous version, but the difference is in the size and shape. This protocol uses the 128-bit address code. Due to this, it can support much more individual addresses, a practically inexhaustible number. Experts predict that this type of Internet protocol will keep the Internet running for a long, long time.
So, to tell apart the old from the new protocol, you just have to look at the length and form of the address. The old, IPv4 will be structured as, for example, 192.168.15.12 and the new, IPv6 will look something like this: 2002:ah5:1:2234:0:444:2:5. You can know which one is which just by looking at them.