What is an IP Address?

IP Address
What is IP Address?

IP refers to “Internet Protocol”, and the “address” means a unique number that gets connected to the activities occurring online. It detects the location of digital devices and recognises other devices.

It was developed in the 1970s and knows all about the process of information exchange among devices. The information is sent over the network in discrete parts known as packets, composed of the data from senders and a header containing metadata about it.

The IP address allows computers to send and receive information. It is in numerical forms, but now letters have also been included in that. The domain names are also present there because there are human-readable addresses containing words. Example: network world.in. The domain name system enables the requests to reach the correct IP address.

Versions of IP address

1) IPv4 address: The history of IPv4 goes back to the 1980s when the internet was a private network for military purposes. These are 32-bit numbers, and the aggregate number of potential addresses with the length is 232. Its address could look like 

2) IPv6 address: The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) introduced the idea of IPv6. These are 128-bit numbers implying that there are 2128 potential addresses. It has 340 undecillion addresses (the number 340 followed by 36 zeros) and is likely to come in place of IPv4. Its address could look like 4ggr:1925:5656:7:600:t4tt:tc54:98vt with four hexadecimal digits.

According to the International Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), “Both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are generally assigned in a hierarchical manner.

Parts of IP address

  1. Network id: It tells which network is operating and contains the first three numbers of the address. Example: Home network:, so 192.168.1 is the network ID.
  2. Host id: It is the particular device on that network where generally the router is .1, and each following device gets allocation like .2, .3 and further goes on.

Following are the types of IP addresses:

  • Private IP address: The address gets linked with the home or business network. If someone has a few different devices linked to one ISP (Internet Service Provider), all the devices will have a unique private IP address. It can’t be tracked from devices placed outside of the home or business network. It does not maintain uniqueness as devices on this network are in a limited range. To find out the private IP address of an existing machine, one could use different strategies such as if the person is a Windows user, he goes to the command prompt and enters the command ipconfig. If one is a Mac user, one needs to enter the command ifconfig in the Terminal application. One can go to WiFi settings to figure out the IP address for iPhone and Android users. Example:
  • Public IP address: It is the key IP address to which one’s home or business network is linked, and it further connects to the global users. It maintains its uniqueness for all, and the address is given to the router by the ISP.
  • Static and Dynamic address: The addresses mentioned above, such as private and public IP, can be static or dynamic. Static addresses are those IP addresses that one assesses manually and place them to the network of a specific device. It cannot alter automatically, whereas the dynamic IP address assesses automatically and allocates an IP to the network after establishing the router with the internet. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) handles the distribution of IP addresses. The internet router can assign an IP address to a particular network in-home or any business-related space.