The acronym IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol Version 4. It is a revision of the Internet Protocol, which specifies standards for Internet data transmissions. The Internet Protocol is used in packet-switched layer networks, such as Ethernet. IPV4 is commonly employed across wired or wireless networks. Each host is required to have a unique IP address to communicate. IPv4 can be automatically or manually configured with different devices. Configurations will be related to network type. The maximum number of host addresses IPv4 can assign to end-users is 232. IPv6 presents a standardised solution to overcome IPv4 limitations.

Internet Protocol Version 4 Addresses

With the broadly adopted Internet Protocol Version 4, every IP address consists of a network ID and a host ID. IPv4 defines the address in a 32-bit format. The 32 bits are usually divided into four fields, each one containing 8 bits. The fields are expressed as a decimal, and a period is placed between them. IPv4 uses the 32-bit addresses for Ethernet communication in five classes. The addresses can be unicast, multicast or broadcast, as defined by Internet standards.

Using IPv4 and IPv6 Unique Addressing

The fact each IP address is individualised has led to concerns over the address supply. Both IPv4 and IPv6 addressing is unique. IPv6 was developed in response to IPv4 limits, with v4 having a capacity to provide about 4.3 billion addresses. This number may not meet future demand. IPv6 specifies longer, 128-bit IP addresses and is slated to replace IPv4. As the gradual transition occurs, systems may have IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, and network equipment providers will build devices for v6 that can run beside IPv4 devices.