When it comes to using the internet, a wide array of tools are used to keep track of activity. At the heart of most of these is something called an IP address. Every single internet-based activity involves an IP address. Here’s what an IP address is.
An “IP Address” or “Internet Protocol Address” is a unique string of numbers that identifies a device on the internet or local area network. The term “internet protocol” refers to the set of communications rules regulating the format of data sent via the internet or a local network.
Types of IP Addresses
Internal IP Addresses
Also known as a local IP address, an internal IP address is an address assigned to a device by a network router. These addresses can only be seen and traced by other computers within the private network. Local IP addresses use one of three ranges.
- Class A: 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255
- Class B: 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255
- Class C: 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255
Local IP addresses are only unique within the private network. Since they are only unique within the private network, they are non-routable. They also require no coordination with IANA or an Internet registry.
Public IP Addresses
An internet service provider (ISP) assigns a public IP address to a router. It can be used to communicate outside a private network. Public IP addresses are traceable and can be viewed by other devices connecting to the internet.
They are two versions: IPv4 and IPv6.
Introduced in 1983, IPv4 was the first version of Internet Protocol. These addresses identify devices on the internet using a 32-bit scheme. IPv4 is considered the primary Internet Protocol and carries over 94% of internet traffic.
IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. This newer version is being used to fulfill the need for more internet protocol addresses. It aims to resolve any issues in IPv4 and uses a 128-bit scheme to assign devices.
Dynamic Vs. Static IP Addresses
Both public and private IP addresses can either be dynamic or static.
Dynamic IP addresses are IP addresses that are temporarily assigned to a device and can change. A change usually occurs when the network is rebooted. Most IP addresses are dynamic, as they are easy to manage and don’t require any additional setup.
Static IP addresses do not change once assigned and require extra setup, usually for an additional fee. There’s also a fixed number of static IP addresses available because they are 32-bit numbers, making them IPv4.
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