What is an IP address and are it’s types

IP stands for Internet Protocol is the primary communication protocol used for relaying data across network boundaries. Functions include logical addressing and routing. The first major version of IP, Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), is the dominant protocol of the internet. Its successor is Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which is increasingly being used.

IPv4

IPv4 is a connectionless protocol for use on packet-switched Link Layer networks (e.g., Ethernet). It operates on a best effort delivery model; in that it does not guarantee delivery, nor does it assure proper sequencing or avoidance of duplicate delivery. These aspects, including data integrity, are addressed by an upper layer transport protocol, such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

IP (IPv4) use a 32-bit address that will provide 4,294,967,296 (2¹2) possible addresses and has two parts: Network ID (Portion of the address that represents the network that a device belongs to) and Host ID (Portion of the address that represents the host on a particular network). Network & Host portion of an IP address is decided based on an additional value called the Subnet Mask. Each device on an IP network must have a unique IP address for communication

IP addresses are seen as numbers or numeric values such as 10, 192, 182, etc. However, computers use binary language and translate decimal to binary and vice versa behind the scene.

IP addresses assigned to a host or a computer can be public or private.

Public IP Address

Public IP addresses are IP addresses obtained from an ISP by organization’s to provide services such as web hosting, email, etc. This is similar to that a cell phone number that is required for your make and receive phone calls. If you want to provide a service such as free email for users (like Gmail) or an online shopping mall for your customers, you must have a public IP address assigned to the computer serving such requests.

Regional Internet Registry (RIR) is an organization that manages the IP address allocation and registration within particular regions across the world. Public IP addresses are allocated to ISP’s which in turn is allocated by the ISP to customers.

When you rent or lease an Internet connection from an ISP such as DSL, Cable. Dial-up, etc. you are given only a dynamic IP address that changes in most cases every time you re-connect; ISP’s issue the same IP address to different customers on a rotation basis to reduce the incurred cost. If you want to provide an Internet. based service such as free mails or a website on your computer, you need to get a dedicated or static IP address which can be leased from the ISP for a fixed fee.

Private IP Address

Private IP addresses are addresses used in private networks such as homes and internal office networks. Private IP addresses need not be purchased as it is meant for private use and anyone can use the private address without approval from a regional Internet Registry (RIR); private IP addresses will not connect to public address and vice versa. This is similar to that of extension numbers that can be used only for calling each other telephone numbers with an office.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has directed the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to reserve the following IPv4 address ranges for private networks:

ClassIP Address RangeNumber of Addresses
A10.0.0.0-10.255.255.25516,777,216
B172.16.0.0-172.31.255.2551,048,576
C192.168.0.0-192.168.255.25565,536

Most common use of private addresses is in residential networks; since most Internet service providers (ISPs) only allocate a single public IP address to each residential customer, but many homes has more than one computer or other Internet connected device, such as IP telephones or IP televisions. In this situation, a network address translator (NAT/PAT) gateway is usually used to provide Internet connectivity to multiple hosts that translates private to public IP address and vice versa.

Private addresses are also commonly used in corporate or enterprise networks, which for security reasons, are not connected directly to the Internet. Often a proxy, SOCKS gateway, or similar devices are used to provide restricted Internet access to internal users.

IPCONFIG is a command line utility used for managing IP configuration. IPCONFIG is used typically for viewing IP configuration of a computer; however, additional administrative tasks are also possible using this command.

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