IP Address: Transparent Your Understanding in 10 Minutes
Internet is the network of NETWORKS. Millions of computers are interconnected in this complex web of cables. Through this system, a super-vast flow of works is occurring everyday letting billions of device users find the things they look for without mistake. So it is essential that each device is identified individually. The system that was built up to recognize each and every device distinctively form the other is called IP Address.
General users hardly think of IP or have headache about it. But those who have opted and accustomed to an online life can nohow avoid or ignore this. Here, from NETPLANTER.COM, is a handy guide for all our readers to gain a closer acquaintance with IP Address that will blow out all their confusion, darkness and obscurity of this subject.
We’ll proceed through our Question-Answer model.
What is IP Address
QUESTION: What is this IP Address?
ANSWER: IP (Internet Protocol) Address or simply IP is an address assigned to identify or specify or recognize each and every device connected with internet around the globe. It is actually a series of Number-blocks allotted one for each. A static IP Address is unique.
QUESTION: Why is IP Address necessary? I mean what are its functions?
ANSWER: The following reasons discloses the importance of IP Address —
- IP Address mainly identifies each computer device separately. So, there occurs no hassle between and among the computers in transmitting and storing of data as the starting and ending location of data bear their own identity.
- An IP shows the geolocation, continent, country, state, city, latitude, longitude etc. of the place where the definite computer is physically located.
- There are millions of websites around the globe each of whcih is identified by the site address or Domain name. Technically Domain Name is the user-friendly, memorizable version of IP Address of Server. If the IP (Internet Protocol) system were not developed, we won’t get the super-arranged World Wide Web of today.
IPv4 and IPv6
QUESTION: How does IP address look? How is this address formed?
ANSWER: It is two versions of IP Address that had been developed so far- IP Version 4 (IPv4) and IP Version 6 (IPv6). The formations of two versions are different. First came IPv4 and next, IPv6, actually, came into being to meet up the historic necessity—that is deficiency in IPv4. Let’s clarify these separately-
IPv4 is constructed with four blocks of numbers separated by three dots each of which ranges from 0 to 255. Hence the first IP would look like 000.000.000.000 and the last one 255.255.255.255. So, applying an easy math, we find: If first three Classes remain constant, there are 256 IP Addresses (with 0). Again first two Classes remaining unchanged, the figure is 256*256. In this way, from this set of blocks we find 256*256*256*256 or 4,294,967,296 possible IP Addresses.
Though, originally, this figure appeared vast, now there are much more devices in the world than the figure’s value. Reasonably, all the addresses are going to run out soon. So due to historic obligation of managing and sustaining the IP system, IPv6 did evolve. And it is occupying the place of IPv4 addresses.
IPv6 is also called the IPng meaning IP Next Generation which is the upper well-planned version of IP that contains far more times addresses than IPv4 (Over 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). This figure is massive enough to face the challenges of probable number of devices in future.
IPv4 is a 32-bit addresses but IPv6 introduces 128-bit address-format. In this format, there are eight blocks; each containing 4-digit HEXADECIMAL number separated by seven colon (:) looking like- hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh. Obviously this type of address is strong enough to protect vulnerability from being guessed or hacked.
An example of such an address would look so:
QUESTION: IPv4 is prevailing and IPv6 is on progress. Then won’t these two systems mess IP system up?
ANSWER: This is a timely question indeed. Suppose a municipal area has been done all out development in a mega-plan including construction of roads, building, park and tree plantation etc. by a new Mayor. He likes that the address of every residence be changed in more organized way. What happens in that case? As the old address is popular age by age, sudden change of address can push dwellers to manifold problems. So common practice is that old address is also fixed up on the gate side by side the new one.
Same is the case here. It is the transitional period of replacing the old IPv4 addresses with the new ones of IPv6. The work is in process and may take a few years to be accomplished. So, as you click on a IP Look-up site, you see both the versions are showing or only the old one due to not yet assigning the new one for that definite device. Recently US government declares that all government system shall use IPv6 address. Hence one day of IPv4 may be going to disappear.
QUESTION: Who or which authority assigns IP Address for my device?
ANSWER: In a word, DHCP [Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol] assigns IP Address to the devices. Actually, DHCP is a network protocol that enables every individual computer on the IP network by its server (DHCP Server). Another organization named ICANN [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] is in the core of allocating IP address to every device.
As a matter of fact, ICANN does not assign each computer an individual IP Address directly. It rather allocates blocks of IP Addresses to companies, educational institution and ISP [Internet Service Provider]. ISP then provides IP to each device that uses their connection.
QUESTION: I have purchased a new computer. Now how does assignment of IP Address to my device occur?
ANSWER: Assignment of IP Address directly associated with internet connection. Windows has a function named TCP/IP connection and DHCP server is default for this. When you connect your computer with Internet, your computer system requests IP Address to the Router which is local DHCP server here. This is called DHCP discover message. Responding to the request, DHCP then allocates (leases) an IP Address for your device for a certain period which is called DHCP offer message. This is how you get a temporary IP provided by your ISP.
Types of IP Address
QUESTION: Is there different types of IP Address? If so, what are they?
ANSWER: IP Address can be grouped in following different pair—
- External or Public IP and Internal or Private or Local IP
- Static IP and Dynamic IP
- Dedicated IP and Shared IP
These groups of IP Address are discussable from different backdrops. So you can hardly find them together presented in an organized way which might confuse you to understand all of these IPs. However, we’re going to present all of these group-wise separately which certainly might give you clarity.
Internal or Private or Local IP is closely related with Home Network. It is assigned by your Router or local DHCP server whose provider is your ISP. When you have a number of devices connected to the same WiFi, router will assign each an IP sequentially. This IP usually looks like 192.168.0.101. I have four devices- a PC, Laptop, Android set 1 and Android set 2 which I connect with the same WiFi. Now their IPs show 192.168.0.101, 192.168.0.102, 192.168.0.103, 192.168.0.104 consecutively which may change over time.
The specialty for Local IP is that it is bound in Home Network only. Whole Internet cannot see or reach this.
On the other hand, Your External or Public IP Address is one that is reachable form any corner of the world through internet. Public IP is essential for any publicly accessible network hardware like web server etc. Public IP is also provided by your ISP. This is the address that every ISP uses to forward any Internet request to the specific device. This is an unique address but it can change over time.
However, both Public and Private IP address can be both static and dynamic which we’re going to clarify next.
IP Address (Public or Private) can be both Static and Dynamic. As the name implies, static IP Address is one that never changes (if you don’t want to) and is reserved for your device. And Dynamic IP Address changes as the time passes. It usually happens when you disconnect your router and reconnect it after a certain period.
Actually ISP does not give but leases you an IP for a given period and after that assigned period ends, your IP can change any time. But this doesn’t mean that it is changing after every few days. Experience shows that your IP remains unchanged month after month.
Now a thirst-provoking question may arise: Why does IP Address so change and how does changing IP influence our online activity? Certainly this is a reasonable question and we must settle this in the next step of this tutorial.
Elaboration of Dedicated IP and Shared IP is meaningful only in the context of Server and Hosting. Like others, every commercial Server including web Server (which is also a computer) has also an IP address. For example, google.com server IP is 188.8.131.52 for which, typing in browser https:www.google.com and https:www.184.108.40.206 is the same.
Now suppose you purchased a hosting package for your website from a renowned Web Server. You are not the only one. There are also hundreds of site hosted on the same Server. So, by getting your site hosted, you are actually sharing the same IP Address of your Server with many others. This is called Shared IP.
On the other hand, Dedicated IP Address is one that you use alone for your site’ hosting. As exemplified above, Google use their dedicated IP 220.127.116.11 and nobody else uses it. `
QUESTION: Now let me bring out the previous question: Why does IP address changes though DHCP gives every device one?
ANSWER: I implied the issue earlier a little. Every computer needs an IP address to make the all out internet activities hassle free. But number of devices around the world in increasing everyday. Consequently, IPv4 is running out soon. So distributing an IP for every device has turned difficult and expensive. IP administrators experience that all computers don’t get on running at the same time. There are computers that remain inactive for days together.
In this backdrop, the concept of Dynamic IP came into scenario. This process is like that: ICANN provides a pool of IP Address to the ISP— ISP allots to every device from that pool by rotation. This means as the IP amount is less than the number of device, one IP is given to more than one devices for a certain period and change is brought if necessary.
Beyond this practice, there are also IPs reserved for big institutions or organizations and business farms that extremely need IP stability.
QUESTION: How does Dynamic IP affect my internet activity? Why do I need Static IP?
ANSWER: If you are general user and use internet only to browse, probably neither dynamic nor static IP would affect your activity. A large portion of internet users are not at all aware of whether there is a thing like IP. But if you are a blogger, web developer, youtuber or online marketer, you must have basic understanding of IP Address.
Again if you like to run your own Game Server, Web Server or Mail Server, you must be technically skilled in handling with it. In that case (Server building) having a static IP is precondition because if IP changes, Domain won’t work. Furthermore, if you are the owner or chief of a bank, business organization, IT farm or Educational Institution you might not want your devices be misidentified by any system due to IP instability.
Hence, to avoid probable hassle, you must like to depend on permanent Static IP. It is also easy to find geolocation of a user or device set up with Static IP. Among demerits, Static IP is, to some extent, less secure than the Dynamic as it is easy to track this IP for data mining/stealing purpose.
QUESTION: How can I get my Static IP?
ANSWER: Nowadays ISP usually assigns Dynamic IP. However, you can be the owner of a Static IP on request and for fee from an IP administrator at work. However, we’re going to contribute an exhaustive article soon on the overall process of getting a Static IP Address. Hope waiting.
QUESTION: How do I check my IP Address (both Public and Private) and how to know whether my IP is Static or Dynamic?
ANSWER: This is the most important question in this stage of our exposure. Let’s us guideline this separately-
It’s much easier if you enter a IP look-up site. Below are two of such sites among many. You just enter the site, then you see everything- IP-related information of your device including whether it is Static or Dynamic, IPv4 or IPv6 and so on just reaching the landing page.
Your Public IP can also be found by googling. Open Google and write ‘My IP Address’ in search box and hit Enter. Your IP is displayed on top of the result page.
You can check your Private IP the following way-
WINDOWS: Open ‘RUN’ by pressing ‘WINDOWS LOGO + R’→Write ‘cmd’→ Enter→ In the Command Prompt, write ‘ipconfig/all’→ Hit Enter→ Here find your IPv4 Address in the list.
ANDROID: Setting→ About Device→ Status→ IP Address
QUESTION: I have a Static IP with my laptop. I want to go traveling. If I use WiFi in the hotel room, will this new network show my Static IP?
ANSWER: Your IP Address doesn’t relate to your computer but to the network your device is connected to. So, in new network, not your Static IP but the Dynamic one that was assigned by your new ISP. would show.
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