Browsing the internet and not knowing your IP address is like living in a house and being unaware of the address. It’s a technology-driven world, and this might sound a bit surprising to you when we say that a majority of the users on the internet do not know about IP addresses and networks.
Simply put, there are millions of computers and devices connected to the internet, and your device is one of them. How do other devices know that they have to send the data to your device and not others? It all works because of IP Addresses.
IP address, in layman’s terms, is the address of your computer, smartphone, or any other device that you browse the internet on. It is because of this address, that Youtube’s servers are able to send video data to your device. Even Google servers use IP addresses to transmit data to your device.
Even a simple search on the internet uses IP addresses – one for the device and another for the server. That’s how you maintain a connection between two devices, and the connection between multiple devices is called a network.
What does an IP Address Look Like
As all the data in a computer is transmitted in the form or numbers and binary, it is obvious that the basic IP address would be a numeric address as well. Enough spoilers, an IP address looks like this – 43.23.542.232.
It is a set of 4 numbers separated by full stops. Each of the 4 numbers can range from 0 to 255. This is a traditional approach and these digits would range from 0 to 255 in real life as well.
IP Address Shortage
You must be thinking if there are billions of devices connected on the internet, won’t we run out of all the possible combinations of IP addresses that can be possible? It is true, and for your information, we already have run out of all the possibilities of IP addresses. That’s why the old-school IPV4 type address was replaced with the brand new IPV6 type address.
IPV4 vs IPV6
As mentioned above, the IPV4 type IP addresses weren’t enough for the growing community of internet users in the world. That is why a new type was introduced which was named Internet Protocol Version 6, or simply IPV6.
If you like math, IPV4 supports around 4.3 Billion unique addresses and we have already run out of those. On the other hand, the IPV6 type supports 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses, which are way more than we would need right now.
What makes IPV6 combinations so vast and never-ending? The IPV4 type addresses were 32-bit IP addresses whereas IPV6 type is a 128-bit address. Also, only numbers were used in IPV4. On the other hand, the IPV6 address is alphanumeric, which is one of the many reasons for its ‘almost infinite’ combinations.
The examples of IPV4 and IPV6 type addresses are as follows.
18.104.22.168 – IPV4
Providing more addresses does not mean that the IPV6 type is more advanced and superior to the IPV4 type. As you might have noticed, IPV4 type only uses numbers for the generation of IP addresses, thus, using less memory during data transfer. The IPV6 type uses alphabets and numbers for the generation of IP addresses, thus, using more memory during data transfer. Each of the IP address types has some pros and cons associated with itself.
Local IP Address
When your device is not connected to the internet, how do you think the applications inside your computer talk to each other? It is all done through the local IP address. Each computer has the same local IP address also known as the Home Address of the system. The home address of computers is 127.0.0.1.
This IP address is not exclusive to every device because the local address will not be used while connecting to the internet ever. Hypothetically, if it is used, it will be like saying that I live in the second Room in my house to your friend who doesn’t even know your home address.
This address is used by devices and applications that have been installed on your computer. Developers can create local hosting on their systems for testing out their projects. This localhost is generally created on a specific port of the local home address.
Uses of IP Addresses
IP addresses have the most basic usage when it comes to computers and networking. Like humans use addresses to invite friends and family to their home, computers use IP addresses to invite other computers for a connection. This connection once made will ensure the successful transfer of data between the two systems.
As an IP address is unique to a device, it can be used to identify a device on the internet. You can use someone’s IP address and track down their country or Service Provider.
So that was our take on the IP address. This is a crucial topic and must be taught to everyone with an internet connection. The basics and root of a network connection lie within the concept of IP addresses.
An IP address is a unique address assigned to every device on the internet. It is because of this address, that devices are able to communicate on the internet. There are two types of IP addresses, IPV4 and IPV6. IPV4 type supports 4.3 Billion unique addresses and the IPV6 types supports 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses to be exact.