IPv4 vs IPv6 1Gbps network performance

Netperf is a benchmark that can be used to measure the performance of a network. I did a simple test over a 1Gb/s ethernet link to compare IPv4 and IPv6 overhead, here are the results:

~ # netperf -4 -H 192.168.2.1
MIGRATED TCP STREAM TEST from 0.0.0.0 (0.0.0.0) port 0 AF_INET to 192.168.2.1 (192.168.2.1) port 0 AF_INET
Recv Send Send
Socket Socket Message Elapsed
Size Size Size
Time
Throughput
bytes bytes bytes secs. 10^6bits/sec
87380 16384 16384
10.03
840.45

~ # netperf -6 -H a:b:c:d::1
MIGRATED TCP STREAM TEST from ::0 (::) port 0 AF_INET6 to a:b:c:d::1 (a:b:c:d::1) port 0 AF_INET6
Recv Send Send
Socket Socket Message Elapsed
Size Size Size
Time
Throughput
bytes bytes bytes secs. 10^6bits/sec
87380 16384 16384
10.04
702.21

IPv4 reached a 100MB/s speed, while IPv6 only 84MB/s. I wouldn’t have expected such a big difference, especially while other benchmarks on the web show little gains with v4. Further testing confirmed IPv6 speed depends too much on the NIC to do a true comparison.

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