IP stands for Internet Protocol. IP addresses are used in the TCP/IP Protocol to help devices, routers, and servers communicate with each other.
An IP address is a unique identifier assigned to your home or office network by your internet service provider (ISP). Every device connected to the network, such as your work laptop or personal iPad, also has an IP address.
If you’re configuring a device to access your network, you’ll need to know its IP address. Data needs to know which internet-connected device it’s reaching. We can compare the IP address to the postal service. For the postal service to work, every house needs to have its own and unique address. For you to send a letter successfully, you'll need to write the destination address on the envelope. Only that way, when you send your letter, the serviceman knows exactly where to deliver it. Computers work in the same way. It works much like a regular address, pinpointing the location of any device or system in the network around the world.
An IPv4 address is 32-bits (232) in size. It was decided to split all of the available addresses into groups called classes. The idea was to make address allocation scalable.
IP address is divided into 5 classes - class A, class B, and class C. Class D and E.
Private class A addresses are between 10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255
Private class B addresses are between 172.16.0.0 - 188.8.131.52
Private class C addresses are between 192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255
There are around 4 billion IPv4 addresses and between the years 2011 and 2018, IPv4 addresses started running out. The Internet Protocol introduced IPv6 to add trillions of new addresses. IPv6 addresses include letters along with numbers and instead of dots to separate the sections, they use colons. The IPv6 address space is 128-bits (2128) in size.
The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is still in process and will take years to complete. Not all networks support IPv6 and most devices still use IPv4. Some large network providers and ISPs have adopted IPv6 while maintaining an alternate IPv4. There’s no official shut-off date for IPv4, it will keep existing as more and more ISP’s and large websites adopt IPv6.
We hope this article helped you get a better idea of IP address. If you are looking to learn more about IP addresses and how it works, you may contact LARUS and we will be more than happy to offer you more industry advice.