IPv4 vs. IPv6: Which one should you use?
Posted by Sam Thomas on 16 January 2017 02:12 PM

IPv4 vs. IPv6: Which one should you use?


What is IPv4?

IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol Version 4. It is, in short, the essential technology that makes it possible for us to connect our devices to the web. Whether it is a PC, a Mac, a tablet or a smartphone, whenever a device connects to the Internet, a unique numerical IP address is provided, enabling us to communicate and send data via the web.

Routing most of the Internet traffic today, IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, which means it can support 2^32 IP addresses in total; approximately 4.3 billion addresses. While this number may seem a lot, due to the demand of the ever-growing Internet, the need for a newer and more advanced version is now required as the web continues to expand.

What is IPv6?

Developed in the 1990s and introduced in the early 2000s, IPv4's successor is IPv6. A system that "will not only offer far more numerical addresses, but will simplify address assignments and additional network security features,” IPv6 is the answer to the limitations caused by its predecessor.

Designed to supplement and eventually replace the 25-year-old IPv4 protocol, the biggest benefit of IPv6 is that it offers a much longer 128-bit address. The expanded capacity will enable trillions, instead of billions, of new Internet addresses to be readily available, supporting the vast expansion of the Internet not only as we know it today, but in the future.

The connectivity among Google users is continuously being measured and monitored. In the past five years particularly, there has been a massive increase of users of IPv6 vs. IPv4, from just over 1% in early 2010 to just fewer than 16% measured today.

How can you use IPv6 as a consumer?

Should you invest in IPv6 as a consumer? Definitely! With the diminution of IP addresses, it could mean that, eventually, your favourite Internet programmes, online games, and applications may slow down or even stop working altogether. Internet-connected devices will struggle to communicate with each other, thus making video or audio difficult to run.

Increasing the IP address pool was always the main drive in the development of IPv6, and with a lot of systems already supporting IPv6, dating as far back as Windows XP SP 1 and Mac OS X 10.2.

To make the swap, check your devices support IPv6. Most operating systems and network systems today do so, but if your networking equipment isn’t IPv6 capable, you may need to upgrade your devices. You can also ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for an IPv6 address if you’d like to be ahead of the curve.

Using IPv6 on your website

At PAC Web Hosting, we offer unrivalled website hosting services to power your website. If you’d like to use an IPv6 address for your website, get in touch with a member of the PAC Web Hosting team today. With years of experience in the industry, we can help you migrate to a new IP address safely and effectively, eliminating downtime and ensuring success.

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