Digital Library, Domains, IP Address

#Digital Literacy-What is an IP address?

Posted on - 4 min read
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Pratham Yogendra
Content Writer

An IP address is a numerical form of a website or a computer’s location over the Internet. The reason why it’s called an IP address is that it follows a certain set of internet protocols or rules. Meaning, the “IP” in an IP address stands for internet protocol.

Think of it this way, you are looking to purchase a house at a location x. Whilst registering the property, the location x will be registered as latitude and longitude on a scale. And, this latitude and longitude will serve as an address for anyone to locate you.

Similarly, an IP address serves as the latitude and longitudinal coordinates of a website or a computer on the Internet. Here, it uniquely identifies a device that is connected to the Internet. 

For example, at the time of this content piece being published, the IP-Addresses of two websites stand:

1.Nexgi.com : 172.67.152.176

2. Google.com :172.217.17.110

How does an IP address work?

To understand this, you’ll need to know that there are two versions of an IP address. 

1.IPV4:      

Any valid IPv4-address consists of three dots separating four sections of digits. These sections are generally termed as N.N.N.N where each section consists of decimal digits from 0 to 225. 

When you enter an IPv4-address, the computers find it difficult to understand the decimal numbers. So, they convert it to a set of eight 1’s and 0’s or binary to be able to understand and redirect you to the website/computer on the network.

How does it convert the decimal digits?

The goal here is to help a computer (which only understands 1 and 0) to understand a number, it converts each section of the four digits to a set of eight binary numbers, For example, Google’s IPV4 address stands as:

10101100 . 11011001 . 10001 . 1101110

Every X here represents a bit. And, IPv4-address is a 32 bit address. And, to estimate the number of devices that can be connected, these 32 bits are supported by a base 2.

Meaning, A total of 2^32  =4294967296 devices are supported by an ipv4 connection.

2.IPV6:

The functioning of an IPV6 is rather bit similar to an IPv4-address. But, the key difference is that it’s a 128 bit hexadecimal address. In simple terms, it consists of 8 sections of hexadecimal characters separated by 7 dots. Each section consists of 4 hexadecimal characters.

HexaDecimal characters : It’s a system of characters that contains a combination of digits from 0-9 and alphabets from A-F.

How does it convert the hexadecimal characters?

It converts 8 sections of hexadecimal characters to a set of 128 digits. And each section is  represented by a combination of 16 zeroes and ones. 

For example, an N.N.N.N.N.N.N.N is an example of an IPv6-Address where N represents hexadecimal characters. Meaning, An IPv6 Connection supports a total of 2^128  = 3.402823669209385e38 devices.

What are the types of IP addresses:

1.Static:

 A fixed IP Address assigned to a device on a network is called a static IP. It is ideal for businesses as it provides permanently fixed-ip addresses.

2.Dynamic

An IP address is assigned to a host of computers from a range of IP addresses is called as a dynamic IP address.

For Example, you connect your computer to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider.Meaning, for you to be able to access the Internet, the ISP assigns your computer a fresh IP address, every time it connects to the Internet.

The IP address assigned by your isp will be from a range of IP addresses which your ISP maintains.

Which type of IP address should you prefer for your business?

For any S&ME, We’d suggest for you to go with Dynamic IP address as it optimizes your investment. And, if you are a large corporation that deals with File Transfer Protocol, EMail Servers, VPN Servers and Web Hosting Services, we’d recommend you to prefer a static IP address.