An IP Address is a set of numbers that acts as the unique identification for network devices like computers, tablets, smart phones and IoT gadgets. It allows these devices to connect with each other, and lets websites and services know where to send data when you visit them. It’s a vital part of the TCP/IP protocol suite that makes the Internet work.
Every device that connects to the Internet has an IP address. You can find your own IP address if you plug into your router or ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for it. The ISPs use dynamic IP addresses to automatically allocate a different one to every device that connects to their networks. That way, it’s harder for cybercriminals to hack into a device because its IP address is always changing.
An ISP may also offer a static IP address that you can manually configure and set to your device. Both types are necessary because they allow people to open ports used for online what is 192.168.l00.1 gaming, web and email servers, media streaming and creating remote connections. They also ensure that all of your devices can connect to the Internet.
Most networks that handle the Internet traffic are packet-switched. That means they take small units of information, called packets, and then route them to their destination based on the IP addresses in the packet headers. These headers contain other information as well, including the type of data being transferred and how it’s being sent.
The most common type of IP address is the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), which has 32 bits and a maximum of about four billion unique addresses. It’s being slowly replaced by the newer IPv6, which uses 128 bits and has both letters and numbers in hexadecimal format. It has a much larger pool of potential addresses, and it’s easier to read because there are no spaces or punctuation marks.
IPv4 addresses start with a four-digit number in the format x.x.x.x, which is often abbreviated as a dotted quad, i.e., 192.0.2.146. IPv6 addresses look more like this: 2002:db8::8a3f:362:7897. This is due to the fact that it uses a much longer string of numbers.
The IANA, which is a division of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), issues these unique numbers to everyone who connects to the Internet. IANA’s role is to make sure the IP addressing system remains stable and secure. As the number of devices connected to the Internet continues to grow, it’s becoming increasingly important that IANA keep up with demand. The transition to IPv6 is also underway, and that will have its own ramifications for businesses. But for now, there are still enough IPv4 addresses to last a long time. If not, ISPs will have to start reserving dynamic IPs from their large pools. That will require some changes in how their customers connect to the Internet, but it will also provide better security for them and help keep costs down.