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IPv4 DNS Vs. IPv6 DNS – Implementation and Predictions

The Basics of DNS

The Domain Name System (DNS) is referred to by the abbreviation DNS. Within a local network, one of the primary functions of DNS is to translate IP addresses into hostnames (alphabetic names), and the other way around (Kralicek, 2016). DNS is a critical component of the Internet because the IP conversion it performs makes browsing the Internet a much more pleasant experience for the user. Without DNS, users would be forced to navigate the Internet by using numeric IP addresses (IPv4) or hexadecimal IP addresses (IPv6). It is much easier for users to remember hostnames that are composed of easily remembered words, which are typically short and simple. For instance, Amazon.com is an example of a hostname. One of the IPv4 addresses associated with Amazon.com is 205.251.242.103, which is located in the United States. The hostname of Amazon.com is easier to remember for humans than the IPv4 address of the website. DNS is essential because it eliminates the need to remember dozens of web addresses, which is often required. With the development of the internet, DNS has evolved into a global network of databases that resolves IP addresses to support internet traffic. DNS is compatible with both IPv4 and IPv6 networks.

IPv4

In the 1970s, the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) was introduced. Unlike IPv6, IPv4 addresses are made up of 32-bit numeric characters, which allows for approximately 4.3 billion different possible number combinations. As shown in the Amazon.com example above, the 32-bit numbers are made up of four digits separated by periods. There are four possible values for the four numbers, each of which can have a value ranging from 0 to 255. IPv4 is regarded as a network architecture with a classful structure. Despite the fact that there are five classes, only three are frequently used by hosts on networks. Class A network addresses are used by large organisations, such as governments, large universities, large businesses, and large Internet service providers, among others. Class B network addresses are used by medium-sized businesses and organisations. Class C network addresses are used by small businesses, non-profit organisations, and home offices (Panek, 2020).

IPv6

In the 1990s, the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) was developed. The demand for IPv6 was fueled by the expectation that the approximately 4.3 billion address capacity of IPv4 would be exhausted due to the ever-increasing number of devices that required addresses. IPv6 was designed to address this expectation. IPv6, on the other hand,

IPv6, which replaces IPv4, has solved the problem of address exhaustion by using a 128-bit address space instead of the 32-bit address space used by IPv4. Because of this increased address space, IPv4 is capable of providing an exponentially greater number of addresses than IPv4 (3.4 undecillion addresses) (Kralicek, 2016). IPv6 addresses are subdivided into eight groups, each of which contains four hexadecimal digits in hexadecimal format. Every hexadecimal digit can represent four bits in a binary number system. Form x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x is preferred. Each x represents a 16-bit section that can be represented by up to four hexadecimal digits, with the sections being separated by colons between them (Cisco Press, 2017).

Some Advantages of IPv6 over IPv4

Aside from a significant increase in available address space, IPv6 has a number of other advantages over IPv4. When IPv4 was first introduced in the 1970s, there was less emphasis placed on security than there is today. IPv4 required the introduction of security, whereas IPv6 was designed with native security baked in from the beginning. IPv6 makes use of IPSec to provide end-to-end packet encryption, which ensures that data is transmitted across a network in an encrypted fashion.

IPv6 also has the advantage of eliminating the need for Network Address Translation (NAT) (NAT). NAT for IPv4 is a technique for dealing with the limited number of IP addresses that are available. Routing and switching (NAT) is used on routers that sit between two networks. Translation of private addresses on a local network into globally unique addresses that can be forwarded to other networks is performed by this programme. When using NAT, the router that connects the network to the outside world advertises only a single IP address to the rest of the network. If any new incoming packets are received, the network address translation (NAT) process translates them once more to ensure that they are delivered to the correct network device. Because IPv6 eliminates the problem of limited address space, it eliminates the need for network address translation (NAT). Removal of network address translation (NAT) from a network is advantageous because it eliminates a single point of failure. In addition, the removal of NAT means that less processing is required, resulting in greater efficiency and, potentially, faster data transmission speeds in the future.

Comparing IPv4 and IPv6, IPv6 has several configuration advantages. In IPv4, network administrators can manually assign IP addresses or use the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to automate the process (DHCP). DHCP is a protocol that allows temporary IP addresses to be assigned automatically from a pool of available addresses. Following the expiration of the “IP Lease,” the IP addresses are returned to the pool for reassignment. Stateless IP Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC) is a feature of IPv6 that allows IP addresses to be assigned automatically (Hagen, 2014). As soon as a new device is added to a network, it can automatically obtain its own IP address and eliminates the need for dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP).

Broadcast transmissions are supported by IPv4, whereas multicast transmissions are supported by IPv6. It is the transmission of data packets to all users on a network without the need for each user to address the packet(s) individually or for the users to respond to the data packet(s). In IPv4, a broadcast is sent by sending a message to a specific broadcast address. IPv6 on the other hand, was designed with the capability of multicasting in mind. Multicast sends data to a group of hosts that has been predetermined by adding the hosts’ addresses to multicast groups (multicast groups are groups of hosts) (Juniper, 2021). Multicast is more efficient than broadcast because it allows the senders to choose who will receive the transmission, whereas broadcast does not. This results in increased network efficiency because the nodes in the network are not required to continuously listen for and receive broadcast traffic that may or may not be required.

Another difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the level of quality of service (QoS) provided. Quality of service (QoS) is used to control traffic in order to ensure that performance for specific applications is guaranteed. Quality of Service (QoS) is used for bandwidth-intensive applications such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) (VOIP). Phones can communicate over a network using the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) protocol, which eliminates the need for traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) phones. It is possible that the voice quality will be compromised if the data transmission performance (latency or jitter) is poor for VOIP. Quality of service (QoS) information is included in each packet with IPv4, and routers are configured to prioritise critical traffic (like VOIP traffic). Quality of service (QoS) is built into IPv6.

Diferences between IPv4 DNS and IPv6 DNS

When it comes to DNS, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 has no noticeable impact on the user experience. When using IPv6, the user will continue to enter the same hostnames, and the IP address will be resolved in the background in the same way that it is done when using IPv4. Additionally, the process of configuring IPv6 DNS is very similar to the process of configuring IPv4 DNS.

The Domain Name System (DNS) makes use of two types of lookup zones: Forward Zone and Reverse Zone. When a hostname is translated into an IP address, forward lookup zones are used, and when a hostname is translated into an IP address, reverse lookup zones are used. ‘A Records’ are used to represent forward lookup zones in IPv4 address space. ‘A Records’ are only intended to store IP addresses with a length of 32 bits. DNS required a solution that could accommodate the larger IPv6 addresses due to the fact that IPv6 addresses are 128 bits in length. The answer came in the form of the introduction of the ‘AAAA’ record (Quad A) (Liu, 2011). BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) is a free and open-source piece of software that is commonly used for domain name system (DNS) servers. BIND currently supports IPv6, as well as ‘AAAA’ Records. Reverse zone lookups are used to convert hostnames into IP addresses. Reverse zone lookups in IPv6 are accomplished through the IP6.ARPA domain (Pete, 2004). Address and Routing Parameters Area (ARPA) is an abbreviation for Address and Routing Parameters Area. In a similar vein, the IP4.ARPA domain is used for the reverse lookup function in IPv4.
IPv6 DNS has a number of advantages.
The primary advantage of IPv6 DNS is that it makes it possible to take advantage of the advantages that IPv6 has over IPv4. These advantages include a large amount of address space, the elimination of NAT, configuration advantages, multicast support, quality of service, and so on.

IPv6 DNS also has the advantage of being more secure than IPv4 DNS, which is another advantage.

Advantages of IPv6 DNS

The fact that IPv6 DNS is not backward compatible with IPv4 is a disadvantage of using it. Because the IPv6 rollout is a long and drawn-out process that will take many years, DNS servers will be required to respond to both IPv6 and IPv4 requests simultaneously. Because of this requirement, until the IPv6 conversion is completed, the system’s efficiency will be reduced.

IPv6 has the potential to reduce the practise of subnetting. Subnetting is a technique that is frequently used in IPv4 to segment networks in order to maximise the efficiency of the available IP space. Considering that IPv6 provides an exponentially greater number of IP addresses, system administrators may want to reconsider this practise. A side effect of subnetting is that it helps to reduce unnecessary web traffic. As a result of reduced subnetting, there would be an increase in the amount of traffic that would be directed to DNS servers.

Disadvantages of IPv6 DNS

Because IPv6 does not require or permit the use of network address translation (NAT), a security feature found in NAT does not apply to IPv6. NAT conceals the IP addresses and port numbers of an internal network so that they are not visible to the outside world. The fact that IPv6 does not allow for this could be viewed as a disadvantage in this situation. Due to the fact that the concealment of internal network IP addresses is not considered a reliable security feature, this disadvantage may be debatable.

As previously stated, IPv6 assigns IP addresses automatically through the use of SLAAC. The IPv6 end nodes select their own IP addresses through the use of SLAAC. There is a problem because the DNS servers still require reverse DNS records for the IP address selected using SLAAC, but these records are not available to the DNS servers because they are not available to the DNS servers (Internet Society, 2014). In order to address this issue, several recommendations were made and implemented; consequently, the drawback is no longer an issue to consider.

How IPv6 May change the way networks use DNS

How IPv6 may alter the way networks make use of the Domain Name System
In conjunction with the proliferation of new connected IoT devices, the advantages of IPv6, such as the elimination of NAT and increased IP space, will result in a massive increase in traffic to DNS servers. This increase will almost certainly necessitate the expansion of the DNS server infrastructure in order to meet the demand. It will be necessary to increase both processing power and storage capacity. The DNS hierarchy can be thought of as a tree made up of managed zones, with root servers at the very top. Despite the fact that there are only 13 root server addresses available due to IPv4 limitations, there are over 600 different root servers located throughout the world. With the increase in internet traffic and the elimination of IPv4’s limitations, it is possible that additional root server addresses will be implemented.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.