What is an IP Address?
Last updated on March 25th, 2023 by RGB Web Tech
The internet and networks use the TCP/IP protocol as a means of communication for computers. Each of these computers must have a unique set of numbers called an IP address. IP addresses are not as complicated as it might sound.
What Does IP Address Mean?
The term “IP address” simply means Internet Protocol Address. The IP address is a unique set of numbers given to computers so that they can communicate with one another across the internet. Computers and other devices connected to the internet can be pinpointed by using this IP address. It is similar to a mailing address; no two houses/computers have the same address.
Types of IP Addresses
1. Private IP Addresses: These are for use within a home or business and cannot be used for public use. Home or business networks use a router to connect to the internet, keeping the limited amount of public IP addresses open. These networks may also include devices which do not need to connect to the internet but to communicate with each other such as a printer.
2. Public IP Addresses: Home and business routers used to connect each device to the internet, receive a public IP address from their internet service provider. Public IPs are also called Internet IP addresses because this is the unique IP address which accesses the public internet directly.
3. IP Version 4 (IPV4) Addresses: This type of address uses 32 binary bits which includes any range of numbers from 0-255. The numbers are grouped in four sets of one to three numbers, separated by a single dot. An example of an IPV4 address is 18.104.22.168. With only 32 bits to create unique addresses, the number of available addresses is decreasing rapidly. IPV6 was created to increase security and the number of available IP addresses.
4. IP Version 6 (IPV6) Addresses: IPV6 addresses are the newest version which some networks are switching. They use 128 binary bits and have eight groups of four hexadecimal numbers, separated by a colon. A colon can replace four zeros in one group. IPV6 addresses can contain numbers 0-9 and letters a-f. The letters a-f represent numbers 10-15.
5. Dynamic IP Addresses: Temporary IP addresses. Due to the limited number of available static IP addresses, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) temporarily assigns an IP address to computers which join a network. These are typically used by Internet Service Provider (ISP) companies so that they can offer service to more customers.
6. Static IP addresses: These IP addresses are preferred when connecting computers to one another for online gaming or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). The consistency of a static IP address makes data mining easier; therefore, static IPs are generally considered less secure.
How to Find Your IP Address
Each device has its own unique way of locating your IP address.
1. Public IP Address: Public IPs are simple to find if you use a website such as WhatIsMyIPAddress.com.
2. Private IP Address: You can find the IP address using the Command Prompt for Windows PC or Mac OS, then ipconfig command.
The rapid growth of the Internet is having a significant impact on security and internet protocols. Many web users used the Internet for their own gains. Many criminals have tried to use the Internet as a tool to extort from other users. However, through IP addresses, computers can be traced by the authorities to their physical location to find perpetrators and those in trouble.
Most devices that we use come with GPS devices pre-installed. An excellent example of this would be in vehicles, mobile phones, and even motor boats. In the event, you go boating, or you take a drive around an unfamiliar area, and you get lost, your IP address can be traced from the last point of activity, and you can be easily found and rescued.
Personal Internet Safety
If you ever receive threatening or harassing emails from other users, authorities can find who this is by locating their IP address. Also, if your computer is ever lost or stolen, it can be tracked down with the IP address if anyone else attempts to log onto the Internet with your computer or mobile device.
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