What is an IPv6?

The Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent IP version designed to address the limitations of IPv4, especially in the areas of Addressing and Security. This protocol was designed to provide additional support for the rapidly evolving device landscape and emerging innovation in industries like automobile manufacture.

IPv6 addressing structure

Unlike IPv4, IPv6 uses a 128-bit addressing system and is alphanumeric. This 128-bit design allows for the provision of an unbelievably large amount of IP addresses. For clarity, while IPv4 only allows up to 4.3 billion addresses, up to 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses are available with IPv6. In terms of structure, addresses under this protocol are represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by a colon.

Here’s a sample IPv6 address – 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:73342

Features of IPv6

  • Increased address space.
  • End-to-end connectivity without NAT.
  • Supports autoconfiguration.
  • Increased routing speed.
  • Support for Anycast.
  • Simplified header.

Types of IPv6 Address

There are three types of IPv6 addresses.


Unicast addresses identify a unique node on a network and usually follow the single sender/single receiver format.


These addresses typically cover a group of devices.


Anycast addresses are typically assigned to sets of interfaces belonging to different nodes.

Benefits of IPv6

IPv6 offers many benefits to users depending on their

  • IPv6 administration is easier since there’s no requirement for DHCP.
  • Routing on IPv6 is seamless and more efficient.
  • IPv6 eliminates concerns associated with private address collision.
  • Security features like authentication and support for privacy are built-in.
  • Improves multicast routing.
  • IPv6 removes the need for Network Address Translation (NAT).
  • Autoconfiguration is available.
  • The total number of IPv6 addresses is unimaginably high.

Drawbacks of IPv6

  • Complete transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will take a considerable amount of time.
  • IPv6 does not communicate with IPv4. This lack of communication means that both protocols have to be jointly adopted on networks for now.

IPv6 vs. IPv4

IPv6 and IPv4 differ in so many ways by design.

Basis for Comparison IPv6 IPv4
Speed IPv6 is potentially faster but is still in its early stages of evolution/adoption IPv4 will eventually be considerably slower
NAT translation Optional Widespread use
Security Built-in Application dependent
Address style Alphanumeric Numeric
Address size 128-bit 32-bit
Support for VLSM Not supported Supported
DNS records AAAA A
Address configuration Autoconfiguration via Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) or DHCPv6 Configuration can be either manually or via DHCP
Checksum availability No checksum fields Checksum fields are available
Network Configuration requirements IPv6 has autoconfiguration capabilities The network must be manually configured on each device

IPv4 still powers most websites globally, which is likely to remain the same for a while longer. This delay is mainly down to the fact that IPv6 and IPv4 cannot communicate with each other. However, many websites and services already support IPv6. This dual system may continue to linger until the adoption rate for IPv6 is high enough.