Let’s Demstify The ‘IP ADDRESS’: Uses and Types of IP addresses

While dealing with network connections, whether LAN, wi-fi, connecting the phone to a laptop or even while sharing through a wireless medium we always see a 32-bit number like 45.79.151.23. Have you ever wonder what it is? What is this IP address “Internet protocol”?

So, folks before into crazy IT definitions. Let me simplify IP address to you all. An IP address simply provides your device an address on the wide network using TCP/IP similarly like your house address in order to provide data a correct path to reach its correct destination in the network. The address provides the unique serial number to the device on the network which links your online activities.

Today, the internet is another fundamental like air, water, soil and fire, we cannot imagine our life without it. Everyone is on the internet today connected through computers laptop mobile and other devices and every time you logged into internet IP address is right there working for you. And with so much information and misinformation about IP address, let me make it easier to understand.

LET’S KNOW IP Address FROM BEGINNING

Each time you logged into the internet for email chat shop etc. you send a request for information and the exact information has to come to your path, it is exactly where IP address plays its game.

Basically, you’re indirectly connected to the internet, you’re connected to the network, the network is connected to the internet which provides you or grants you to access the internet. That network might be your Internet service provider (ISP) at home, or a company network at work, or a wireless network at a hotel or coffee shop any restaurant or even when you’re on the road. But with millions of computers on the Internet, how can your single computer jump right in and get you your work or personal emails have done without any problems?

“Internet Protocols” THE REAL PLAYERS

To make sure to you can access the desired things on the internet your device is attached to a network which works on the well-prescribed rules and regulations called Protocols. The exchanging of data to and fro as per your desired access is done according to the IP address provided by the network. It is responsible for addressing, delivering and routing your online requests precisely. It attaches an “electronic return address” to all your online requests and activity for you. The address it uses is the IP address for your connection.

Internet Protocol: Types of IP Addresses

When you’re at home, an IP address is assigned to your computer by your Internet service provider. Since they are the ones giving you access to the Internet, it’s their role to assign an IP address to your computer. Your Internet activity goes through them, and they route it back to you, using your IP address.

But don’t get attached to it. Don’t ink your IP address to your arm, because it’s not really yours. Even at home, it can change if you do something as simple as turn your modem or router on and off. Or you can contact your Internet service provider and they can change it for you if needed. Plus, if you go on vacation and take along your laptop, your home IP address doesn’t go with you. It can’t because on vacation you’ll be using another network to connect to the Internet.

So, when you’re at any shop in another city or state (or just down the road) and you’re using their WiFi to get your email, you’re using a different (and temporary) IP address, one assigned to your laptop on the fly by the ISP for that shop’s Internet provider.Same thing happens when you travel. As you move from the airport to your hotel to the local shop, your IP address will change each and every time.

But you don’t have to think about it at all or open the hood of your computer and flip switches. It all happens thanks to the intelligent design behind the Internet, wireless networks and all those Internet Protocols your computer uses.

IPv4

IPv4 is most common and widely used IP address another one is IPv6. So, the IPv4 is a 32-bit number separated by 4 periods and these numbers can be from 0 to 255, like, 1.21.160.245. When con­struct­ing a net­work, IP addresses can be assigned ran­domly pro­vided that each IP address is a unique address, this unique­ness is essen­tial to avoid send­ing data to mul­ti­ple des­ti­na­tions or to the wrong destination.

And to maintain this uniqueness the IP Address is broadly classified into two classes

  1. STATIC IP ADDRESS
  2. SHARED IP ADDRESS

Thus, using more than one site on an IP address is called a Shared IP address. If a site has its own IP address and shares with no one else, it is called a Static IP address.

You can always access a site which has a static IP address by using its IP address alone, but you can not access a site using a shared IP address by typing in the IP address alone because when you type in a shared IP address you arrive at the server but the server does not know which site you are looking for as you have not told it which domain name you want.

ip address, internet protocol

Is it important to have a Static IP address?

The main reason to have a static IP address for your site is that you can use SSL encryption on a static IP address only. In order to transmit sensitive data over the internet, it must be encrypted to prevent someone from intercepting the information. In case if the site needed the anonymous ftp access (anyone can download files of the site), the site needs to have a static IP address. Other than these two reasons there is no need for a site to have its own IP address.

BILLION OF IP ADDRESSES ARE AVAILABLE:

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) will generally assign either a static IP address (always the same) or a dynamic address (changes every time one logs on). ISPs and organizations usually apply to the InterNIC for a range of IP addresses so that all clients have similar addresses. There are about 4.3 billion IP addresses. The class-based, regulation addressing scheme places heavy restrictions on the distribution of these addresses.TCP/IP networks are inherently router-based, and it takes much less overhead to keep track of a few networks than millions of them.

CLASSES OR RANGE OF IP ADDRESS:

TCP/IP defines five classes of IP addresses: class A, B, C, D, and E. Each class has a range of valid IP addresses. The value of the first octet determines the class. IP addresses from the first three classes (A, B and C) can be used for host addresses. The other two classes are used for other purposes (class D for multicast and class E for experimental purposes).

IP CLASS LEADING BIT SIZE OF BIT FIELD IP ADDRESS RANGE NO. OF HOSTS AND CLASS PROVIDES
CLASS A 0 8 1.0.0.1 to 126.255.255.254 Sup­ports 16.7 mil­lion hosts on each of 126 networks.
CLASS B 10 16 128.1.0.1 to 191.255.255.254 Sup­ports 65,534 hosts on each of 16,382 networks.
CLASS C 110 24 192.0.1.1 to 223.255.254.254 Sup­ports 254 hosts on each of 2 mil­lion networks.
CLASS D 1110 NOT DEFINED 224.0.0.0 to 239.255.255.255 Reserved for mul­ti­cast groups.
CLASS E 1111 NOT DEFINED 240.0.0.0 to 254.255.255.254 Reserved for future use, or Research and Devel­op­ment Purposes.

IP CLASSES:

Class A:

  • It was designed to meet the needs of large networks such as for multinational companies.
  • This class will only support 126 networks, but each network can support 16,777,214 hosts.
  • Class A addresses always have the first bit of their IP addresses set to “0”.
  • Class A networks have an 8-bit network mask, the use of a leading zero leaves only 7 bits for the network portion of the address, allowing for a maximum of 128 possible network numbers, ranging from 0.0.0.0 – 127.0.0.0. Number 127.x.x.x is reserved for loopback, used for internal testing on the local machine.

Class B:

  • Class B was designed to meet the needs of medium networks, like hospitals, colleges.
  • This class will support 16,384 networks, and limited to 65,534 hosts per network.
  • Class B addresses always have the first bit set to “1” and their second bit set to “0”
  • Since Class B addresses have a 16-bit network mask, the use of a leading “10” bit-pattern leaves 14 bits for the network portion of the address, allowing for a maximum of 16,384 networks, ranging from 128.0.0.0 – 181.255.0.0.

Class C:

  • Class C was designed to meet the needs of small networks, like coffee shops or computer center.
  • The number of hosts per network will be small, however, it will support many more networks.
  • Class C supports 2,097,152 networks, but only 254 hosts per network.
  • Most new connections are assigned Class C addresses. However; if Class C does not meet the requirements of an organization, multiple and multiple Class C addresses can be assigned to fill the need for Internet connectivity (because has mentioned Class C only supports 254 hosts per network, so if their network is large they will have to use many of them).
  • Class C addresses have their first two bits set to “1” and their third bit set to “0”.
  • Since Class C addresses have a 24-bit network mask, this leaves 21 bits for the network portion of the address, allowing for a maximum of 2,097,152 network addresses, ranging from 192.0.0.0 – 223.255.255.0.

Class D:

  • Class D addresses are used for multicasting applications.
  • Class D addresses have their first three bits set to “1” and their fourth bit set to “0”
  • Class D addresses are 32-bit network addresses, meaning that all the values within the range of 224.0.0.0 – 239.255.255.255 are used to uniquely identify multicast groups.
  • There are no host addresses within the Class D address space since all the hosts within a group share the group’s IP address for receiver purposes.

Class E:

  • Class E addresses are defined as experimental and are reserved for future testing purposes. They have never been documented or utilized in a standard way.

SPECIAL IP ADDRESS RANGES:

Out of all 4,294,967,296 possible IP addresses,3 special ranged that are reserved for special purposes. The first is the 0.0.0.0 address and refers to the default network and the 255.255.255.255 address which is called the broadcast address. These addresses are used for routing, which will not be covered in this tutorial. The third address, 127.0.0.1, is the loopback address and refers to your machine. Whenever you see, 127.0.0.1, you are actually referring to your own machine. That means if you clicked on this link, http://127.0.0.1, you are actually trying to connect to your own computer, and unless you have a web server running, you will get a connection error.

Private Addresses

There are also blocks of IP addresses that are set aside for internal private use for computers not directly connected to the Internet. These IP addresses are not supposed to be routed through the Internet, and most service providers will block the attempt to do so. These IP addresses are used for internal use by the company or home networks that need to use TCP/IP but do not want to be directly visible on the Internet. These IP ranges are:

Class

Private Start Address

Private End Address

A

10.0.0.0

10.255.255.255

B

172.16.0.0

172.31.255.255

C

192.168.0.0

192.168.255.255

If you are on a home/office private network and want to use TCP/IP, you should assign your computers/devices IP addresses from one of these three ranges. That way your router/firewall would be the only device with a true IP address which makes your network more secure.

DEFAULT MODEM IP ADDRESSES:

The most common issue these days is everyone of us is using a network at home college hostel or office and while dealing with network errors we have to deal or access the router’s browser interface, we’re always trapped there making out different combinations to make it work 192.168.X.X. The standard default address used by all routers is 192.168.1.1.Now, this 192.168.1.1 address will not every time help you to get over the network problem, you’ll somehow get stuck into it and when that happens, you can typically find the information with a simple command on Windows. Open the command prompt (Start > Run/Search for cmd) and then enter ipconfig. The address you need should be next to Default Gateway under your Local Area Connection, and it will often begin with 192.168.

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