IPv4 and IPv6 Proxy: What Protocol to Choose?
April 6, 2023
To understand the difference, let's state basic concepts. In our case, this is the network address (IP). By the way, IP is an abbreviation of the Internet Protocol. So, when we say IPv4 protocol, it sounds somewhat tautological, but the abbreviation is now so much a part of our everyday life that in most cases it's understood without spelling out.
Every network device has a unique identifier that is calculated mathematically and contains information about the location. The IP address is given out by the provider, and can either remain the same or change each time you get connected. But the general principle is clear to everyone who has ever faced connection issues and had to go deep into the settings, either by themselves or under supervision of a tender voice on the line of the technical support.
For many yeas, IP looked like four blocks divided by the dot, three digits from 0 up to 255 in each. But now this has also changed.
So, what the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?
The most evident difference proxy servers is an IP address format. The four blocks (255.255.255.255) is IPv4 format. It was accepted in the 80-ies of the XX century and encompassed more than four billion addresses. It seems to be a huge number, but the lack of identifiers became obvious pretty soon.
This is when IT gurus developed IPv6 that is unlikely to get exhausted in the nearest future as the number of addresses it contains is more than 79 quadrillion times larger than its predecessor. Such addresses are presented in several blocks of hexadecimal notation (da45 :: e6f5: 2361: e3f5: a5e3d23).
In addition to the IP notation, there are other, more practical differences. A new format is faster and more reliable, the packet routing and processing is more efficient, it has higher useful workload, integrated authentication, private support, and a simpler header.
All in all, there are many differences. There are also nuances, as IPv4 properties are required to solve some of the tasks. Here's the point:
- IPv4 supports broadcast channels. IPv6 supports multicast groups.
- The checksum field can be found only in the old format.
- Just like the concept of variable-length subnet mask.
- IPv4 supports dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) and manual configuration, while IPv6 supports automatic address configuration and relabeling.
- IPv4 uses ARP to map to the MAC addresses, while IPv6 uses NDP for the same purpose.
- The old protocol uses unique public and "private" addresses for the traffic, while the new one – global unique unicast addresses and local addresses.
- IPv4 checks integrity of the transferred data with TCP, and IPv6 — without engaging third-party solutions.
How do these protocols work?
IPv4 uses NAT technology, under which devices have their own addresses, but websites and software can see only one general address. For example, a third-party website will see all company employees in the corporate network as one device. And if all of them choose to log into one portal at the same time, the website may treat such raid of “clones” as the DDoS attack. The general IP address will be locked, and the employees that didn't get to the website in time won't be able to log into.
In IPv6, every device has its own address, so no mess is possible here. The hexadecimal system allows to create 340 undecillions combinations (36 zeros after a digit) that are supposed to be enough for all of us for years. This system allows everyone to create their own subnetworks, if needed.
And one of the main principles underlying a new protocol is IPsec encryption that hides the traffic almost completely. This traffic is difficult to intercept and impossible to decipher, which considerably enhances network security.
Proxy pitfalls: how to check, if a website supports IPv6?
Choosing a protocol is an important matter for proxy server users. IPv6 provides high speed and reliability, but imposes some restrictions.
It takes additional efforts to ensure proxies of a new format are compatible with IPv4 websites, including conversion of network addresses, tunneling and dual stack use.
There are many more IPv6 addresses, so they cost less and are easier to obtain. This is good news, followed by the bad one, though. IPv6 availability encourages using them for DDoS attacks, and that's another reason, why websites don't work with the new format.
So it makes sense to thoroughly assess the tasks you have to handle when choosing IPv4 or IPv6, either private or shared. Still, you can maximize the benefits from using the new-generation solutions, especially if you check compatibility of the websites in question beforehand.
For this, some proxy services offer the checker to test, if any source supports IPv6 access. For example, you can use the Proxy.market offer and check compatibility before ordering proxies from Russia.
Now, this abbreviation should not bewilder you anymore. You can easily use their advantages or mitigate disadvantages. The old version is distributed everywhere, it is easier and more traditional to use, while the new one is faster and more reliable. Someday, IPv6 will become ubiquitous, so we won't need to compare them anymore.
And so far, use the checkers, buy proven IPv6 proxies and all your plans will come true!