What is an IP Address?
Last modified: February 23, 2020
There is a lot mentioned about IP addresses when it comes to the internet, yet few people know what it is. An IP address refers to the identification of your network hardware and it supports your computer or device connecting to the internet. An IP address is made up of a random assortment of numbers and characters. However, most people will see an IP address like this:
Every device that is connected to the internet will have a unique IP address. This includes computers, laptops, TVs (connected to the internet), tablets, mobile phones, etc.. Therefore, there are billions, if not more, IP addresses currently in use. The requirement is fulfilled by the IP version known as IPv6.
There is also an older version of IP known as IPv4. There are more than four billion possible IP addresses with IPv4. However, the latest version, IPv6 has increased the number of possibilities. Therefore, there are trillions of possible addresses, which should be more than enough values to cater for all these devices.
An example of an IPv6 address would be: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.
There are several types of IP addresses. The first is known as private IP addresses. This is the address of your device as it is connected to a home or business network. All your devices connected to the internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) will have a unique IP address.
A private IP address cannot be accessed from devices that are outside of the network. They are also not unique because there are a limited number of devices on a local network.
There is also a public IP address. This is the address that connects you to the world.
Any private and public IP addresses can be either static or dynamic. When you can configure your IP address manually and fix them to a network, they are called static IP addresses. You cannot change static IP addresses automatically.
Dynamic IP addresses configure automatically when you set up a router to the internet. IP addresses on your network are distributed by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol which can be the router that connects your network to the internet.
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