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IPv4 vs. IPv6: Which should you buy and why?

In the digital age, the growth of the internet and the proliferation of connected devices have prompted a pressing question for businesses and organizations: IPv4 or IPv6? As the two primary versions of the Internet Protocol, they offer distinct features and capabilities. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between IPv4 and IPv6, helping you make an informed decision about which to buy and why.


The IPv4 Legacy

IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4, was the first standardized protocol for assigning unique numerical addresses to devices connected to the internet. It uses a 32-bit address format, allowing for approximately 4.3 billion unique addresses. At the time of its inception, this seemed like an ample number. However, the rapid expansion of the internet and the increasing number of connected devices have led to IPv4 address exhaustion.


The Emergence of IPv6

IPv6, or Internet Protocol version 6, was introduced to address the limitations of IPv4. It utilizes a 128-bit address format, resulting in an astonishing number of unique addresses (340 undecillion, to be precise). This abundance of addresses not only eliminates the concerns of address exhaustion but also brings several significant advantages.


Key Differences: IPv4 vs. IPv6

Address Space:

  • IPv4: Limited to around 4.3 billion addresses.

  • IPv6: Offers an almost inexhaustible supply of addresses, accommodating the growing number of devices.

Address Configuration:

  • IPv4: Typically requires manual configuration or DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) for address assignment.

  • IPv6: Supports stateless autoconfiguration, simplifying the setup process and reducing administrative overhead.

NAT (Network Address Translation):

  • IPv4: NAT is often used to conserve IPv4 addresses by allowing multiple devices to share a single public IP address, but it can introduce complexities.

  • IPv6: NAT is less commonly required due to the vast address space, simplifying network setups.


  • IPv4: Security features like IPsec are optional and often implemented as add-ons.

  • IPv6: IPsec is an integral part of the protocol, enhancing security by default.


  • IPv4: More complex routing tables due to address scarcity.

  • IPv6: Simplified routing tables, which can lead to more efficient network routing.


Factors to Consider When Choosing

1. Current Infrastructure:

If your existing systems are IPv4-based, transitioning to IPv6 may require significant effort and investment.

2. Future-Proofing:

IPv6 offers a practically limitless address space, making it a solid choice for future growth.

3. Security:

IPv6’s integrated security features may be appealing for organizations with high-security requirements.

4. Compatibility:

Consider the compatibility of your devices and software with both protocols.

5. Regional Considerations:

The availability and allocation of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses can vary by region.


The Verdict

So, which should you buy? The answer depends on your organization’s specific needs and circumstances. IPv4 may still be relevant for legacy systems and compatibility reasons. However, for future-proofing your network and taking advantage of IPv6’s superior address space and security features, considering IPv6 is a wise choice.



In conclusion, when it comes to deciding which protocol to invest in, buying IPv4 may be a prudent choice for organizations with extensive legacy systems, compatibility concerns, or existing IPv4 infrastructure. However, it’s essential to consider the long-term scalability and security benefits that IPv6 offers. The decision to buy IPv4 or embrace IPv6 should align with your organization’s immediate needs and its vision for future network growth. Careful evaluation of these factors will guide you toward the most suitable choice for your specific requirements.