Understanding IP Address: An Introductory Guide

| Updated on February 13, 2024

Every computer or device connected to the Internet has been given a specific number called an Internet Protocol (IP) address. They detect any device connected to the Internet, whether it be a web server, smartphone, mail server, or laptop, among other crucial tasks.

Today we will provide necessary information regarding IP address to all those providing core network services so keep reading this article.

What is an IP?

To comprehend an IP address, one must first understand what an IP address is.

Datagrams, data packets, and other types of datagrams transported across a local network or the internet must adhere to a set of rules called Internet Protocol (IP). As it operates on a dynamic computer network, it is a connectionless and datagram-oriented protocol.

An IP never needs a node or link and never uses a central monitor or directory to function. Thus, for a data packet to be correctly transmitted, both the source and destination IP addresses, as well as other crucial information, are required.

What is an IP Address?

Each device connected to a computer network using the Internet Protocol (IP) has a specific address or numerical label known as an Internet Protocol Address (IP address).

IP address illustration: 192.15.2.2

IP addresses, which are used to identify devices on local networks and the internet, enable data transmission between devices, containing location information and facilitating simple communication. A fantastic way to distinguish between various devices, such as computers, printers, webpages, routers, etc., is through their IP addresses.

There are two uses for an IP address:

  • Finding a location
  • host/network interface identification

The global management of IP addresses is done by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Additionally, five regional internet registries (RIRs) oversee them in specific areas and distribute them to regional internet registers, such as those for end users and Internet service providers (ISPs).

How does an IP Address Work?

An IP address functions in the same manner for you as your home address does. You must provide the sender with your home address if you wish to receive a letter or package from a courier. The same is true if you want to receive electronic mail or data from the internet; for the sender to recognize your connected device or computer and transfer the data to it, it needs to have an internet address.

Every internet-connected device, including your computer, tablet, smartphone, smart lighting, thermostat, baby monitor, and anything else needs to have an internet number or address to connect and communicate with other devices by a set of rules or protocols.

Because of this, every website, including Netflix and Amazon, includes an IP address to contact you and send the information you requested. To make it easier for you to find them, they retain a name rather than their IP address, such as Amazon.com and Netflix.com. Otherwise, each time you visited a site, you had to put in this long string of digits. Numbers are harder to recall than names.

You might now wonder how IP addresses are distributed to each device.

You can see that an IP address is expressed as a group of 4 numbers separated by a period in the sample IP address above, which is  192.15.2.2 In this set, each integer can have a range of 0 to 255. Therefore, the entire IP address range can extend from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.

An IP address is assigned by the IANA and is constructed statistically, not at random. IPv4 and IPv6 are the two versions of IP that are most often used. An IP address is represented differently in each version.





Jeremy L. Price

Education

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