IP Addresses Explained

FAQs, Getting Started

Every computer has a particular number associated to be able to work properly and efficiently on the internet or any local network. This exclusive or unique number is called an address because it makes possible for a computer to be identified, recognized by other computers and also to communicate with them.

This unique address is called an IP address (Internet Protocol address) that computers make use of to identify and converse with each other on an internet network.

IP Address explained: IP Address Format

IP addresses consist of 32-bit binary strings which are generally seen as four numbers separated by periods and look something like 127.0.0.1.

The decimal numbers are merely a convenient way of encoding the numbers so that administrators and others find it easier to recognize them.

Initially, IP addresses were divided into five classes as shown below. Classes A, B, and C are the most important: the first bits determine which category an address belongs to, and the classes differ in how much of the address is taken up with the network address and how much with the host address.

IP address explained - IP address format

IP addresses explained: IP Address classes

So, IP addresses are now classified as given below:

Class A: An IP addresses between 1.0.0.0 and 127.255.255.255. The first byte recognizes the networks, the next 3 bytes the host. For example, here we have 127 networks and 16.777.216 hosts.

Class B: IP addresses between 128.0.0.0 and 191.255.255.255. The first 2 bytes recognize the networks, the next 2 bytes the hosts. Here the first byte is restricted to 128 – 191, so we have 65536 hosts and 16384 networks.

Class C: IP addresses between 192.0.0.0 and 223.255.255.255. The first 3 bytes recognize the networks, the last byte the hosts.

Class D: it is used when just one host is propagating and all the others are receiving.

Class E: Only for the future utilization

Now, how are the IP addresses created?

IP addresses are supervised and created by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority generally assigns super-blocks to Regional Internet Registries, who in turn allocate smaller blocks to Internet service providers and the enterprises.

Differences Between IPv4 and IPv6

When the IPv4 protocol of assigning host addresses was introduced, nobody would have imagined that there would be 4 billion devices connected to a large-scale network. That was back in the 70s and before the age of the Internet.

More IPs are needed

In time, it became clear that more addresses would be needed and in 1999 the IPv6 was proposed. The IPv6 was introduced to overcome the IP address space shortage in addition to providing other benefits.

IPv4 vs. IPv6

IP Address Explained - IPv4 vs. IPv6IPv4 is a 32-bit address protocol while IPv6 is a 128-bit protocol. A 32-bit address space implemented using IPv4 allows for 4, 294, 967, 296 possible addresses. That is slightly above 4 billion addresses. A 128-bit address space, on the other hand, implemented using IPv6 would have 3.4 x 1038 possible addresses. It is hard to conceive if all these P addresses will ever be consumed.  Well, consider this, with IPv6 there are 6.65 x 1023 addresses for every square meter on Earth.

Looking closely at the syntax of these two protocols, IPv4 is delineated in dotted-decimal formats separated along 8-bit boundaries. IPv6, however, is divided along 16-bit boundaries. IPv4 is represented in 4 blocks of 8-bit binary while IPv6 is in groups of 16-bit hex values separated by colons.

Bigger payload

Another notable difference is that IPv6 supports a bigger payload than IPv4. This difference can be seen in the header information contained in the IPv6 packets. The packet headers define the payload length, hop limit, source and destination address all of which affect the payload. While many of the fields found in IPv4 packet headers are still found in IPv6, there is a slight difference in the information or naming of the fields.

At the moment, IP tunneling is employed to allow IPv4 and IPv6 addresses interconnection and make it possible to run both address types. Also, most devices and networks that have IPv6 support also support for IPv4 addresses.

What is a Private IP Address?

An IP address shows two things: first the network to which the computer fits in and the host, which is the number of the computers. IP addresses can be classified as private IP addresses (where computers are not connected directly to the Internet) and public IP addresses (where computers connected directly to the Internet).

An IP Address is a sequence of numbers used to identify your computer.  This works in much of the same way as your home address or phone number works.  You must provide the post office or phone network a specific place for it to forward the information. Learn about private IP address.

Private IP address

Because there is a limit of possible IP Addresses, a private address is used to identify a network of computers.  For instance, if I were to buy ten computers for my small business, I could use one “Private IP Address” to identify my network instead of using a separate address for each computer.

The network uses a type of configuration known as NAT (Network Address Translation), which can identify each computer as belonging to my network.  It then can take any information that’s generated and connect it to the internet, sending it to any number of other IP Addresses.

Using a private IP address will not make your computer invisible. Even though your computer IP address is something like 10.0.0.x inside the network, outside your network, your computer has the IP of the network.

Dynamic vs. Static IP Addresses

IP Addresses explained - Dynamic vs. Static IP

An IP address can be static or dynamic. The system administrator allocates static IP addresses to every computer, and dynamic IP addresses are allocated by another device connected to the network.

When the computer is linked to a local area network (LAN), for instance in the corporate network or at home, the IP address is decided while organizing the network and is generally static. Such IP addresses can be, for example, 192.168.0.1, also known as private IP addresses.

On the other hand, when connecting to the internet network, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) decides the IP address which will recognize your PC when it is connected via modem to the internet, known as a public IP address. IP addresses for linking to the internet considered a wide area network (WAN) and can be dynamic or static, depending on the Internet Service Provider.

Because IP addresses are limited, there is not always enough to go around.  To make sure everyone can connect to the Internet, the system is separated into static IP addresses and dynamic IP addresses.

Static IP address

Static IP address is designed to provide the user with a more stable identification.  Think of this as a phone number.  You have a standard phone number in which people can locate your phone and contact you.  It remains the same unless you explicitly decide to change it.  A static IP Address works in much the same way, in that it is used as a permanent ID.

Dynamic IP address

dynamic IP address is for the opposite.  Think of it as a pay phone.  It is a temporary identification to allow you to connect to the Internet.  Just like a pay phone, though, you can only make “outgoing” connections.  It means that you cannot accept incoming calls because the “number” changes when you disconnect.  Even if you were to reconnect immediately, the chances of you receiving the same IP address is very small.

So, if your ISP (Internet Service Provider) delivers dynamic IP addresses(most of them do), your IP address is different every time you connect to the internet. It does not mean that your IP is hidden or that you are untraceable. Every ISP has a predefined range of IPs; so your IP address can be identified as belonging to your ISP. Plus, all ISP do log their traffic; so they do know they have allocated you a certain IP at a certain moment in time.

Even if you have dynamic IP addresses, you need to hide your IP id you what to browse anonymously. The good news is that you have been banned from a forum or certain sites based on your IP you can create a new account with no problems.

IP Address Management

What is involved in IP address management? In simple terms, this involves the maintenance of all the network information about network IP addresses.

A network administrator will need to do this to find out the amount of free address space he has, what subnets are in use, how large the subnets are, where they are located and who is using them. While network management has remained virtually unchanged since the early beginnings of the TCP/ IP protocol, the scope and sophistication of the tools in network management have completely changed. What are some of the tools used in network management?

Domain Name System

One of these is the DNS. Domain Name System defines the namespace of hierarchical domains by breaking domains into zones and centralized lines for administrative purposes. In short, DNS is a distributed database that has locally maintained network info that is also available globally.

Programs called name servers are used to implement DNS by contacting other name servers and storing the collected information organized into zones. For the quickly growing internet, DNS removed bottlenecks in networks but at the same time created zone database file complexity, decentralized information and lacked the ability to easily store additional host information.

Commercial IP address management

Commercial IP address management software became available in the mid-1990s and offered such features as centralized management, a graphical user interface, consistency, dynamic DNS and was both extensible and customizable. It also allowed the reporting of network information and activities.

Tools like Plesk and IP Address Manager (IPAM) help network engineers not only manage networks but also locate and resolve IP network problems. Some of the features of these 4th generation tools include periodic checking and scanning of IP addresses to determine what IP addresses are available, scanning of the Active Directory, hierarchical representation of the network in a graphical user interface, end-to-end IP details like the Port Numbers, contact details and history of IP allocations. Alerts can also be configured where emails can be sent when an IP becomes available or used.

Tracking the Location of an IP Address

Sometimes you may need to find out the exact location of an IP address. For example, if you pick up a proxy from a proxy list, you get only the country where the proxy is located.

What is location lookup?

To find out the exact location of the IP, you should perform a location lookup. There are many sites/services that can do this. My favorites are XMyIPGeoBytes IP Locator, and IP2Location.

GeoBytes shows a Google map of the city, along with a bunch of other information (country, city, latitude, longitude, distance to nearby cities, etc.) about the location itself.

GeoBytes IP Address Locator

IP2Location also offers the name of the ISP (Internet Service Provider).

IP2Location

More info about the IP address

If you want more information on an IP address, you can do a WHOIS search also. ARIN WHOIS Database gives you information on who hosts a certain IP address and their registration information.

Should you hide your public IP address?

If your IP address isn’t hidden, virtually anyone with Internet access can track you directly to your home. Everyone can see this information, including hackers! I would say that most of the time you don’t need to worry by exposing your public IP address, but you have to consider hiding your IP while using public Wifi, while traveling or while accessing sites that look suspicious.

How to hide your IP address?

There are many different ways available to hide and change your IP address so you can have better security while messing around on the Internet or conducting business. You should use special programs or proxy servers to help your network be more secure or keep your browsing habits out of the eyes of snoopers. It’s easy to find out your IP address and even the IP addresses of others. If you are concerned about security, definitely take steps to keep yours obscured.

Would you like to find out more the best services for hiding your IP address? Then check the following hide IP tools.

IP addresses explained –  Conclusion

To conclude, an IP address is a unique identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network which is required so that computer can be recognized and can communicate with other computers in an internet network.

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1 comment… add one
  • Ron Jul 15, 2008

    I’d like to play an online games but it is exclusive only in philippines terittory, im now in saudi arabia, Can you help me use ip that belongs to philippines.

    Thanks

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