IP Address: A Complete Guide

8/21/2022

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Similar to how mail is given a destination address, which serves as a way of locating for the postman, each network device now urgently needs an IP address due to technological growth.

IP address is an internet protocol relevant for establishing an internet connection. When you connect your system or network device to the Internet, an IP address is another fundamental concept that most people are familiar with.

You may learn a lot more about the subject by reading this article about an IP addresses.

What is an IP Address?

A unique combination of digits and periods is known as an Internet protocol address (IP address), for example, 172.1.1.1. When network equipment connects to the Internet, this series of digits serves as its identification.

When the client device submits a request to the server, transmitted through routers, hubs, and other network nodes, this identity is then utilized to access data and information accessible on the web.

As more network devices connect to the Internet, so does the requirement for an IP address. The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), a division of the ICANN, a company whose goal is to preserve internet security, assigns IP numbers.

Why Use an IP Address?

In addition to being necessary for connecting to the Internet, IP addresses also serve the following purposes:

  1. Identity for the host: This function giving the network accessing device a distinct online identity. This identity serves as a key for the hubs, routers, and switches the system connects to and accesses to access data that is available on the Internet.
  2. Location of the host: As its name implies, the IP address also serves to identify the system’s physical location within the network. This is advantageous because you may identify the attacker using the system’s IP address in case of a hacking problem or spamming.

How an IP Address Works?

You may have internet connection issues while browsing the web due of a server-side issue or an issue with the system’s IP address. But how can you link your machine to your internet service provider?

You will learn how to establish connections in this section of the lesson on what an IP address is:

  1. We can demonstrate how the device connects to the Internet and the part that an IP address plays in that process by going through the steps below:
  2. In the first phase, your computer, smartphone, and other network devices connect to the network device (wi-fi), which indirectly connects your device with the Internet.
  3. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) is responsible for providing the connection if our device accesses the Internet through our home network (ISP). A professional location, on the other hand, offers the network via the corporate network.
  4. Your system’s IP address is now given to it via the network.
  5. The ISP receives the system’s request for an internet connection and uses the IP address to return the desired data to the system. The ISP is in charge of giving your device an IP address and setting up the internet connection to our system.
  6. The system is never given stable IP addresses. Each time you use the network to access the Internet, they are different (ISP). For a different IP address for your machine, you can also speak with your ISP.
  7. If you are traveling or not connected to your home network, a different network (public wi-fi, an airport hotspot, etc.) will create an internet connection for your device and give it a temporary IP address issued by the location network’s ISP.

Types of IP Addresses Used in Computer Networks

IP Address Types According to Their Version

1. IPv4

The Internet and all other computer networks still extensively utilize IPv4, which is the first version of IP addresses.This IP type is represented by four decimal numbers in dotted-decimal form and 32-bit values in binary form (with a range of 0 to 255).However, the dotted-decimal format, 192.168.1.5 or 8.8.8.8, is the standard everywhere.

It can have 232 address spaces since it has 32 binary bits. Although IPv4 addresses have run out, they are still widespread since experts have developed ways to preserve them using NAT (Network Address Translation), IP sharing, private IP space, etc.

A network part and a host part are two ways to divide an IPv4 address. Multiple host IP addresses can be found in the network part (or subnet). The network and host components of an IP address are differentiated using a subnet mask.

2. IPv6

The IETF developed the IPv6 protocol with RFCs 2460 and 8200 to solve the issue of running out of IPv4 addresses.Although IPv6 was designed to replace the more outdated IPv4 many years ago, as of this writing, only 29–30% of all IP addresses are using it.The 128-bit address length of IPv6 allows for 2128 different combinations of unique IPs, giving it a substantially bigger address space.

IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are supported by most hosts in use today, including servers, computers, network infrastructure, client devices, etc.This implies that the host’s network interface can be configured to support both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.An IPv6 address comprises a network portion (routing prefix) and hosts part, similar to IPV4 addresses. The host, however, may have many IPv6 addresses (i.e., a host is assigned a block of addresses).

IP Addresses in a Network Depending on How They Are Used

3. Public IP Address

On hosts connected to the Internet, public IP addresses are utilized. On the whole Internet, each public IPv4 address is unique. On the Internet, only public IP addresses are routable.Even though every public IP address is different, we might have shared public IPs that several hosts utilize. This sharing strategy, often done using NAT overload, was developed to preserve IP address space (or PAT – Port Address Translation).

For instance, a few internal client hosts (laptops, cellphones, etc.) on your home network may each have a private IP address.The WAN interface of your home network device is given a single public IP address that is shared by all of these internal hosts. As a result, utilizing the router’s public IP, these internal hosts may now access the Internet.

4. Private IP Address

The IETF (RFC 1918) developed three IP address ranges that are exclusively usable in internal LAN networks as a solution to save address space. On the Internet, these addresses ARE NOT routable.To access the Internet, a network must use NAT (Network Address Translation) to convert a private IP address into a routable public IP address. Routing and switching (NAT) is often performed by routers, firewalls, home gateways, proxy servers, etc.

To preserve the limited IPv4 address space, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) typically only assign one public IP address to each residential home subscriber. Devices are then given private IP addresses within the home network. In many enterprise networks, the same situation occurs when internal company hosts use private IP address space. To transform internal hosts outgoing traffic to a public IP for Internet access, the border router or firewall then executes NAT.

IP Addresses According to How a Host is Allocated Them

5. Static IP

An administrator will permanently assign a static IP address to a device (it does not change).Public or private IPs are both acceptable for static IP addresses. An illustration of a static public IP is when your ISP gives your business a small range of public IP numbers, and you, as the administrator, set one of these addresses to the WAN interface of your border firewall device. It is a static IP that has been set up.

An additional illustration is a private static IP address. Assume your LAN network has an internal management workstation that is used to oversee other IT hardware or the whole network.It is an excellent idea to provide this management workstation with a static private IP address so that you may permit traffic from this IP for network administration.

6. Dynamic IP

An external server automatically assigns dynamic IP addresses to hosts. A DHCP server is often the server that gives dynamic IP addresses (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server).Additionally, ISPs typically issue home demarcation devices dynamic IP addresses (e.g., ADSL routers, cable modems, etc.).

Here are a few illustrations: An IP address can be received dynamically by a Windows or Linux host. The same occurs with other client devices, such as smartphones and IoT gadgets.

If a host is set up to acquire a dynamic IP address, it searches for a DHCP server when it boots up to obtain an IP address. Responding to the host, the DHCP server selects a dynamic IP address from a pool. This dynamic IP address will change after a while.

Another illustration is a home network router (such as an ADSL router, a cable modem/router, etc.) connected to an ISP. The ISP often assigns this router a dynamic IP address.

From a management standpoint, dynamic IPs are fantastic, especially in internal LAN networks with plenty of hosts. Many hosts don’t require manual static IP assignment.

Other Unique IP Address Types

7. Local Host IP (or Loopback IP)

Every Windows and Linux machine has a localhost IP, which is 127.0.0.1. The matching localhost IPv6 address is::1. A Localhost loopback address is set aside to facilitate communication between hosts within. The host’s NIC card is not affected by traffic delivered to or received from the localhost IP since it is contained within.

Consider the following use case for localhost IP: Assume you have a Linux server with a MySQL database set up. The MySQL is available on port 3306. Setting MySQL to only listen on localhost (127.0.0.1) at port 3306 is an intelligent security practice.

This indicates that the MySQL database will only be accessed through local server processes or services and not across a network outside of the host (thus better security for the MySQL).

8. Default Gateway IP

It is necessary to have a Layer 3 gateway device to which hosts will transmit packets to route them to another network if you want traffic to be routed from one network to another.

9. IP Multicast

A multicast IP is an unique collection of reserved IP addresses used for one-to-many communication.

A single host, such as a video server, delivers traffic to a multicast IP group, and the network switch distributes the traffic to several receiver devices. It is mostly used in multimedia communication (e.g., Video over IP, etc.). (e.g TV set-top boxes).

10. IP broadcast

As the name implies, all hosts in a given Layer 3 segment will receive traffic transmitted to a broadcast IP address. Setting all 1 to the host section of the address yields the broadcast IP.Here are a few instances:

  • The broadcast address for the network subnet 192.168.5.0/24 is 192.168.5.255.
  • The broadcast address for the network subnet 10.2.5.0/16 is 10.2.255.255.

Operational Characteristics-Based IP Address Classification

Unicast Addressing

Unicast addressing is the most prevalent IP address concept in the Unicast addressing method. It is offered via IPv4 and IPv6. Using an IP address designates a single sender and receiver. Both sending and receiving data are possible with it. A single device or host is assigned a Unicast address; nevertheless, a single device or host may have more than one Unicast address.

Broadcast Addressing

Another addressing option in IPv4 is broadcasting addressing. You may handle data for all network destinations with only one transmission action. The most common usage of the IP address 255.255.255.255 is for network broadcast. Additionally, restricted directed-broadcast employs the network prefix and the all-ones host address. No implementation or broadcast is addressed in IPv6. It switches it out for multicast to the multicast addresses specifically designated all-nodes.

Multicast IP Addressing

The principal application of multicast IP addresses is one-to-many communication. The IP multicast group address receives most multicast messages.

In this scenario, routers distribute copies of the packet to all interfaces with hosts with that particular group address subscribed. The packets will only be processed by the hosts that need to receive the message. On that LAN, every other host will reject them.

Anycast Addressing

The stream is not sent to every receiver using anycast addressing method for the data. Just the one that the router determines to be nearest to the network, though.

IPv6 has this IP addressing as a built-in feature. The shortest-path metric is used to implement it on IPv4 using the Border Gateway Protocol. This approach is frequently used in distributed DNS systems and for global load balancing.

OSI Model and TCP/IP Model: 7 Similarities and Differences

We shall examine these two models in-depth in this article. We shall study their layers and the differences between the OSI and TCP/IP models.

Conclusion

You learned about IP addresses in this lesson on “What is an IP Address” and its significance for connecting to the Internet. You also comprehended the process by which IP addresses are issued to systems and how ISPs employ IP address pools to assign IP addresses in accordance with customer needs.

Then, from the article on what is an IP address, you discovered the two primary purposes of an IP address over the network, which were identifying the system and finding the system on the network and also the types of IP addresses.

Do you have any inquiries about this article on what an IP address is? Please feel free to mention them in part below this page designated for comments.