IPv6 has been an Internet Standard since July 2017. Although I had heard of it since far back, I never had to know much about it until now. In this post I’m going to explain what are some of the differences between IPv4 (The previous and most widely used standard) and IPv6.
Probably the most commonly known reason behind IPv6 is that we were going to run out of IPv4 addresses soon. An IPv4 address looks like this: 192.168.100.255. In binary it would look something like this: 11000000.10101000.1100100.11111111. That is 32 bits (2^32) which equals 4,294,967,296 values.
IPv6 addresses look a little different. They are represented by 8 groups of 4 hexadecimal digits separated by a colon. For example: 1234:5678:9abc:def1:f00d:1560:0d7a:c055. This is 2^128 different combinations which is a little more than 3*10^38. This is a very high number we’re probably not going to exhaust any time soon.
Because addresses can get very long, a few conventions have been made to make them shorter to write on paper. One of them is that leading zeros in a group can be omitted. For example:
1 2 1234:0abc:9abc:00f1:f00d:1560:0035:0001 1234:abc:9abc:f1:f00d:1560:35:1
The two addresses above are the same.