An IP address is a 32-bit binary number that uniquely identifies a particular computer on the Internet or internal network. Because binary numbers are hard to read, IP addresses are given in a dotted-quad formal of decimal numbers, each part representing 8 bits of the 32-bit address (for example, 127.0.0.1). Servers are traditionally configured to use a statically assigned IP address whereas normal PCs and other devices are dynamically allocated an IP address by a DHCP server (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).
Technipages Explains IP Address
IPv4 is the most commonly used and recognisable IP address structure with its human-readable dotted-quad format. IPv6 is a more recent and less widely supported address scheme which was designed to counter the critical shortage of IPv4 addresses. IPv6 uses a 128bit address structure, the human-readable format uses sets of four digits separated by colons and has a scheme to simplify the addresses in some circumstances. While the IPv4 address space has been exhausted the IPv6 address space is almost unimaginably large (3.4×10^38 or 34 with 37 zeros afterwards addresses are possible in IPv6 compared to the 4,294,967,296 of IPv4).
A number of private IP address ranges are specified for use only on internal networks, by limiting their use to private networks every private network is able to use the same address space thus saving an incredible amount of IP addresses that would be needed to uniquely refer to every single networked IP address.
Common Uses of IP Address
- IP addresses are usually written and displayed in the human-readable dotted-quad notation.
- The subnet mask or CIDR notation determines how the IP address is divided into network and host parts.
- Dynamic IP addresses are assigned by a DHCP server.
Common Misuses of IP Address
- IP addresses are names given to computers in private networks to identify them more easily.