What Is an IP Address: Learn All The Details, Definition, And Examples
Whenever you are working with the internet to get connected to the world, there’s a common term that arises on your mind. And that basic term is what is an IP address and what is the definition of it. There are other questions also that you might think of about this IP address. Though according to some experts, IP address is a unique series of digits separated by dots, yet it’s not clear to most of us that how it works.
How this address is being assigned to each device that we are using. Therefore, in this article, we are going to discuss all the aspects of an IP address.
What is an IP Address?
If you search on the internet about an IP address, then you might get a lot of results. But most of these results will say that an IP address is nothing but a sequence of unique numbers that are assigned to each device. With the help of these IP addresses, devices can interact with each other.
In simple terms, IP address or IP is a unique address that helps to identify a device connected to the internet via WiFi or a LAN cable. It allows other systems to recognize your own system using the internet protocol with some added security layers. However, there are two primary IP addresses which are IPv4 and IPv6. Each of them holds their own uniqueness as well as functionality.
Types of IP Addresses and Their Features
As a computer user, you should be familiar with the two versions of IP addresses. But you might not have a clear idea about the types of IP addresses and the various features they offer you. In this section, you are going to get a brief about all of them along with their features. Usually, there are two types of IP addresses like the Static IP address and Dynamic IP addresses.
Static IP Address
This kind of IP addresses is something that you cannot change yourself and that’s why it’s called Static IP addresses. However, as a result of network administration, these IP addresses might be changed. Providing the most reliable way for communication is always the primary purpose of a static IP address.
They serve as the permanent internet address and can help you achieve so many details about the device. These details include the continent, country, region, city, and other details which can describe the location of your computer.
The Internet Service Providers or ISPs work here as a helping hand to provide information about the locale of the device. There are several websites, that can let you look up the IP address of your computer.
Dynamic IP Address
In case you are wondering about what is the other category of IP address apart from the static one, then this is it. The dynamic IP address is the second category that we are going to discuss in this section. You can say that these IP addresses are temporary IP addresses that come with multiple computers.
Whenever the computer gets connected to the internet, it gets that temporary IP address assigned to it. These IP addresses come from a pool of IP addresses where different computers share their own addresses.
As the number of static IP addresses is limited, hence there’s too much importance of dynamic IP addresses. For different purposes, multiple ISPs reserve all the IP addresses they have assigned to their clients. You should also know that when it comes to security, dynamic IP address leaves the static one behind. And this is because the static IP addresses are much easier to track than the dynamic IP addresses.
Versions of IP Addresses
You already know there are two types of IP addresses that you can see in the above section. Now, let’s know about the two famous versions of this IP address which are IPv4 and IPv6. In this section, we are going to discuss them in short for your convenience.
IPv4 Or IP Version 4
Since its inception, IPV4 has not undergone so many changes as it was supposed to. IPV4 uses 32-bit addresses which is more than 4 billion IP addresses used by different devices globally. This kind of addresses comes as 8-Bit field representation. Each of the 8-Bit fields represents a byte for specifically the address of this version.
The formatting of the address is also known as dotted-decimal format and the reason to call it so is already discussed. The bytes of this IP address has two different parts like the network and the hosting part.
IPv6 Or IP Version 6
When it comes to the latest version of the IP addresses, IPv6 is the one that you should think of. Since the world of the internet is growing rapidly, the requirements of the IPv4 are also increasing. With the intention to replace the IPv4, IPv6 came into action.
For some special cases, there are ranges of these IP addresses have been reduced. You can use the IPv6 addresses with the representation of four hexadecimal numbers in 8 groups. And instead of using the dot separation method, this version uses a colon to separate the digits of the addresses.
The Major Differences Between IPv4 and IPv6
Addresses in IPv4 come with 32 bits whereas the addresses in IPv6 come with 128 bits across the globe. There are several reserved addresses which have reduced the usability of the addresses of both the versions. Other considerations are also there when it comes to assigning IP addresses to multiple devices. Each of these versions come with their own numbering format.
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As per the IPv4 is concerned, the numbering system followed here is done using the decimal format. Whereas the IPv6 comes with the hexadecimal formats for the convenience to read them. Though it’s true that address in both of the versions is nothing but binary, yet we use these decimal and hexadecimal formats for our convenience.
To Sum it up
So, that’s all you need to know about the different aspects of IP addresses. You can easily understand what is an IP address in simple terms and what are the versions that come with IP address. It also discussed the types of IP address and its features. Hope, the write was able to inform you about everything that you need to know about an IP address.