An IP address is a set of numbers used to identify a device on a network. IP, or Internet Protocol, refers to the set of rules that govern the format of data that is sent through a network or set of networks.
Essentially, IP addresses are identifiers that allow data to be transmitted to be transmitted from one device to another. IP addresses contain critical location information. IP addresses are used as a way for the internet to be able to distinguish between different nodes on the network. These nodes could be computers, routers, servers, IoT devices, 3d printers, printers, etc.
So, What Exactly is an IP Address?
An IP address is four sets of numbers that are separated by dots. So, an example address might be 192.168.1.51. Each of the four numbers can be any number between 0 to 255. Because of this limit, the full IP addressing ranges exist from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.
IP addresses are mathematically produced and allocated by IANA (The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), which is a subdivision of the ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN, a non-profit organization, was established to maintain security on the internet while allowing anyone to be able to access it.
How do IP Addresses Work?
If you are ever wanting to understand why a particular device is not connecting to the internet or if you are trying to figure out why your network isn’t working, it’s essential to understand how IP addresses work.
Internet Protocol works just like any other language. It communicates using a set of agreed-upon guidelines in order to transmit information. All devices on the network find, send, and exchange information with one another using this protocol. Because they speak the same language and are connected by the internet, any device in any location can talk to any other device anywhere else.
Different Types of IP Addresses
There are several different types of IP addresses. Each lies within their own category.
Consumer IP Addresses
Every business or residence that has internet has two types of IP addresses. There is a private IP address and a public IP address. A private IP address is only used inside the local network, while a public IP is that entire networks outside-facing IP address. If you are wondering, ‘what is my ip?’ then click the link to find out.
Private IP Addresses
Each device that is connected to your internet connection has its own unique private IP address. With IoT (Internet of Things) growing at an accelerated rate, the number of private IP addresses are growing exponentially. Routers have to be able to identify these items separately. Also, network nodes need a way of recognizing each other. So, a router generates private IP addresses that are only unique to your local network.
Public IP Addresses
A public IP address is your local network’s external IP address. So, each device that is connected to your network has its own IP internal address; those IPs are included ‘under’ the network’s external IP address. External IP addresses are provided to your router by your ISP.
ISPs generally have large pools of IP addresses that they can distribute to their users.