What Is An IP Address?

What Is An IP Address?

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Rashmi
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Jan 13, 2023 17:37 IST

An IP address is a string of numbers separated by periods. It is the network address for your computer or other devices like mobile phones that allows to communicate with another device over the internet. Read the blog to learn more.

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An IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a computer or electronic device when it connects or attempts to connect with another computer or device. “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol”. It allows the identification of a network interface of a computer, a smartphone, or other devices that use the mentioned protocol. This address can be static or dynamic. 

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Those needing a permanent connection require a static (fixed) Internet Protocol Address to be located on the network: a server that hosts a website, an email server, etc. On the other hand, a computer that is assigned a dynamic IP address does not have a fixed number. That is why the identification in question changes periodically.

In short, the IP address can be understood as a label that identifies a device’s interface in a network governed by the Internet Protocol. These identifications, at present, are made up of four numerical blocks, each one formed by numbers from 0 to 255. For example, 205.45.128.30 could be an Internet Protocol Address.

Must Read – What is the Difference Between Internet and Intranet?

Which is the Latest Version of IP?

IPv6 is the latest version of the internet protocol. It ensures network growth and better interconnectivity. This new version replaced the IPv4 address since it got depleted and was challenging to obtain. The address size of IPv6 is 128 bits. The preferred IPv6 address representation is x:x:x:x:x:x:x:x, where x is the hexadecimal value of the eight 16-bit pieces of the address.

Related Read – OSI vs TCP/IP Model: What’s the Difference?

How does Internet Protocol Work?

How does Internet Protocol Work?
  • IP connects with hosts through interfaces. 
  • It converts data into datagrams, where the header info consists of source/destination, metadata, and the payload. 
  • IP encapsulates the data and nests them into packets. It further breaks down data packets and rebuilds them through fragmentation and reassembly, making the received information appear indistinguishable from the sent information. 

You can change your Internet Protocol Address. For example, if you turn your modem or router on or off, your IP address can change. You can also change it by contacting your ISP.

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Private IP Address

Private IP Addresses are used to identify computers or devices within a home or private network. There are three types of private IP addresses:

Class A : from 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255. Used by large private networks, such as corporates.

Class B : from 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255. Used by medium-sized networks, such as SMEs or study centers.

Class C : 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255. Used by medium networks, such as a home. 

Private IP Addresses must be unique for each device, or duplicating them will cause problems on the private network. It would be as if two neighbors had the same name and address, making it impossible to know to whom the delivery should be made.

However, private IP addresses can be repeated. In different networks, in which case, there will be no conflicts because the networks are separated. It is the same way that having two identical addresses in different cities is possible.

You can also explore- What is Safe Browsing & How to Turn It On?

Public IP Address

In a local network, there are several Private IP addresses, usually one Public IP address. A “translator” or NAT (Network Address Translation) will be needed to connect a private network to the Internet. It passes data between the Private IP addresses and the Public IP addresses.

Public IP addresses are always unique. That is, they cannot be repeated. Two computers with such an IP can connect directly. For example, your router with a web server or two web servers with each other.

Your private IP addresses are different from public IP addresses. There will also be computers or devices that may have both. For example:

  • Your router will have a private IP address to connect to computers and devices on your home network. It will also have a public IP address to connect to the Internet. It also gives computers and devices on your home network access to the Internet.
  • Your computer connected to the WiFi connection will have a private IP address. But it will not have a public IP address. It will connect to the internet through the public IP address of your router.
  • Your mobile connected to the WiFi connection will have a private IP address. But it will not have a public IP address. It will connect to the internet through the public IP address of your router.
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Fixed or Dynamic IP Addresses

IP addresses can be fixed or dynamic, depending on whether they remain the same or change. Depending on the case, it will be assigned by the Internet access provider, a router, or the administrator of the private network to which the equipment is connected.

A DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server assigns a Dynamic IP address. It has a specific maximum duration.

A Fixed IP address is manually assigned by the user or the network server based on the client’s Media Access Control (MAC address).

Do not confuse a Fixed IP address with a public one or a Dynamic IP address with a Private one. Actually, an IP address can be Private (either dynamic or fixed), or it will be a Public IP and also be dynamic or fixed. In the case of a Private IP address, it will usually be dynamic to be assigned by the DHCP server.

Can Public Or Private IP Addresses Be The Same?

The answer is no and yes. 

Let’s understand this. 

A public IP address can never be duplicated since each Internet connection is unique. Within a private network, private IP addresses cannot be duplicated either. But it is possible that, for example, a friend of yours does have a private IP address for one of his devices and that it could match a private IP address of your device.

Every home has a network with private IP addresses for its devices. But it doesn’t mean your friend’s home network should have different private IP addresses. 

In each home, there is a router, which assigns private IP addresses to each device that can match the private IP addresses assigned by your friend’s home router to their devices. 

In short, the private IPs of two hosts can be the same if both devices are connected to different public networks.

You can also explore – What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

How To Know Your Private IP Address?

To know your IP address, follow the below step –

Go to System Settings

How To Know Your Private IP Address?

Click the Network & Internet option.

How To Know Your Private IP Address? 2

Click “Change adapter options.” A new window will pop up. 

How To Know Your Private IP Address? 3

 Select the active network on your system and click “View the status of this connection.”

Step 4

Once the corresponding window appears, click on the “Details” button and look for the “IPv4 Address” this is your private IP address.

How To Know Your Private IP Address? 4

Conclusion

Suppose an Internet Protocol Address is not assigned to a device. In that case, that device will not be able to communicate with another device and, therefore, cannot exchange information within the network. Of course, you won’t be able to connect to the Internet either since connecting to the Internet is nothing more than communicating with computers or devices located on a public network. 

We hope this article was helpful.

About the Author
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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio

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