IP address: What is it?

An IP address is short for Internet Protocol Address. Numbers designated to various computer network interfaces are known as IP addresses. Computers rely on binary number to communicate with other hosts. You might be accessing, but the computer translates this into a number to perform the desired action.

Do you need it?

Any device connected to the internet is dependent on these addresses to communicate across the internet.

Without IP addresses, manual data transfer would be required. This means USBs, CDs, and DVDs will be used to copy-paste data from one device to another. IP addresses are required to make communication and connectivity a seamless process.

Difference between Unique and Private IP address

Private IP addressPrivate networks like your home or office network use private IP addresses.

These addresses are not accessible to the entire internet. Other services available on the internet can be acquired by private IP addresses that are backed by NAT (Network Address Translator).

On the other hand, Unique IP addresses are allocated and managed by a set of registered entities. These unique addresses share and route data across the internet.

One too many addresses?

Typically, one IP is allocated to a residential connection, which hosts a block of multiple private addresses to each device connected to the network. On an average, each internet user requires around two or more unique IPs.

IP address versions

Currently, there are two versions of IPs: IPv4 and IPv6. These two versions are narrated in a slightly different manner. IPv4 is a long string of numbers ranging from 0-225, which is separated with dots to make it readable. E.g.

IPv6 addresses are narrated with a longer string of hexadecimal digits, separated by colons. E.g. 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.

What is the distribution system?

The address allocation process follows a strict hierarchy. IANA is the regulatory authority of these addresses.

ICANN is in charge of allocating IPs to 5 different Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). These regional registries then further allocate IP blocks to small network operators and ISPs. Small network operators and ISPs then further designate addresses to private internet connections.

Does every device need an IP?

If a device use is limited to local use, a local context IP can be used to access a local network. But if you want a device to access multiple services available on the internet, a unique IP is necessary.

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