IPv4: A protocol standard
The fourth version of the Internet Protocol is called IPv4. Each IPv4 consists of a twelve-digit number e.g. 18.104.22.168 and runs on 32-bit. However, the addresses were quickly taken. To artificially expand the number combinations, subnets were developed for the IPv4 addresses.
When the complete address space was allocated, IPv6 came in 1999. With the new 128-bit length, an unimaginable amount of IP addresses could be assigned.
Is IPv6 the future of the Internet?
Currently, it is still too early to give an answer. Currently, there are only partial advantages to using an IPv6 protocol. The biggest added value is that each Internet-enabled device can get its own address. The improvement in performance speed remains in the “imperceptible” range of tenths of a second.
The future of the Internet relies on the “Internet of Things”. The refrigerator, the coffee machine, the W-LAN washing machine – all of these will be operated via app in the future. No matter where you can put electronics, GPS tracking works. Items no longer need to be searched for! With IPv6, any device can be connected directly to the Internet.
Similarities and differences IPv4 and IPv6
Common features of IPv4 and IPv6
Both address types (IPv4 and IPv6) are used to identify devices that belong to a network. Both IP protocols have the same task, but differ in extensions and functions.
- Performance: The IPv6 address works with 128-bit instead of 32-bit. IPv6 performs slightly better because it has a CIDR hierarchy that improves routing.
- Autoconfiguration: Configuring a device runs much more conveniently with IPv6. Each router, printer etc. automatically generates an IPv6 address. In the IPv4-based network, each end device must be added manually.
- Multicast addressing with IPv6, resource-intensive data, e.g. multimedia streams, can be sent to multiple destinations. The network bandwidth is reduced.
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IPv4 vs IPv6
Speed in comparison
- Ping: It is assumed that IPv6 has a lower ping when visiting websites. A request from the server of an IPv4 must be converted if the client works with IPv6. A delay in the range of tenths of a second may occur.
- The Google bot saves resources when crawling the web page by immediately recognizing the IPv6 addresses.
- The IPv6 header is capable of including interconnected extensions, which improves speed.
Safety in comparison
Considering the security aspects, IPv6 is technically ahead!
Security measures have been improved with IPv6:
- Secure DNS name resolution
- IPv6 includes identity verification and data consistency to greatly improve network confidentiality e.g. the header has a clearly defined format.
- The SEND protocol closes another security gap. It protects against harmful attacks.
- For encryption with IPv4 with a VPN, the higher layers are claimed. IPv6 brings with IPsec a direct integration in the extension header.
Know-how can also be used to configure security-related aspects in the IPv4 network.
Are leaks still easier with IPv6?
Since every device has an IP via IPv6, monitoring the activities of individual users is easier. Many intelligence agencies can already identify data via IPv6 addresses without much effort. It is safe to assume that governments are already taking advantage of this opportunity for increased surveillance. The use of a VPN client is therefore becoming increasingly important.
What IPv6 can already do and what not?
The advantages for IPv6 are clear. However, there are disadvantages that are not insignificant. At the moment, the application possibilities of IPv4 are greater. This is because all hardware must be upgraded to IPv6.
Due to the poor compatibility of IPv6 with other devices, people rely on IPv4 at the same time. Many PCs offer both IPv4 and IPv6 (=dual stack). Both address formats coexist at the moment.
How to protect the IP address
In any case, a VPN protects to disguise the IP address. Technically, however, it makes no difference whether the usage is via IPv4 or IPv6.
Should a dualstack be used, it is necessary to block the unused IPv6 so that it does not give away the identity. In this case, the IPv6 is blocked by the VPN’s firewall. The second step is to test the security aspects of the VPN. We have already reported on how to test IPv6 leaks .
A look into the future for VPN usage
In the future, there will be fewer VPNs with IPv4, because the allocation authority RIPE, the IPv4 address of the VPN providers successively reduced. More and more VPN providers will switch to IPv6.
At the same time, IPv6 is becoming more relevant due to the development of the “Internet of Things”. VPN services will increasingly optimize for IPv6.