What Is IP Address?
IP stands for Internet Protocol, It is used to identify any device over intranet or Internet and those devices can be a machine like computer, scanner, printer or anything which we want to use over network. The key purpose of Internet Protocol (IP) is to uniquely identify the device on the network where many other devices having their own unique IP addresses and each device should have unique IP addresses, so we can access them easily by using their IP address.
There are two major versions of IP, IPv4 and IPv6. Most of the computers/machines/devices use IPv4 for identification but now a days IPv6 is also available and it has been started to be used in new devices. So, we can say IPv6 is the future of IPv4.
Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6
The simplest and quicker answer is IPv4 is 32bit version of numeric values while IPv6 is 128bit version of numeric values, wasn't that very simple answer? :) Looks like very simple but the actual detail is not that simple, so let's start from IPv4.
IPv4 is 32bits version of IP which consist of 4 decimal numbers separated by dots, so a typical IP address looks like this 18.104.22.168. Each decimal number consist of 8 bits or 1 byte ranging from 0 to 255. Therefore, if we see how the above IP address looks like behind the scene so it will be like this: 22.214.171.124 => 10110110 . 01001100 . 00010110 . 01111100, if you count each binary value so that will be consist of 8 bits and as it has 4 binary values, so we can calculate it like this 8bits x 4 = 32 bits or 4bytes long IP.
IPv6 is 128bits version of IP which consist of 8 hexadecimal values separated by : (colon). Each hexadeciaml value consist of 16 bits or 2 bytes, so if we calculate then the result will be like 16bits x 8 = 128bits or 16bytes. The question arise here that why we need IPv6 over IPv4, the reason is very simple and quite understandable, now a days networks are becoming larger and larger and larger.... and when we say network is growing up that means more devices are connected with the network so it is very close to cross the limit of IPv4 unique numbers. IPv6 has the ability to allow more devices connected on the network as it has vast capacity of unique numbers. A typical IPv6 address looks like this: 2001:a0:9d38:253c:10d6:d2e:4949:368. One thing which need to be notice that the 2nd value of this IP address is "a0" actually, it is "00a0" but IPv6 omits the leading zeros, which makes this value as "a0".