As an internet user, we can receive information from the web. By browsing different sites on the internet, we can get information. There is a chain of transfer that is responsible for this process. If you are an internet user, you must have come across the term IP address. But have you wondered what it means? Have you ever asked yourself – what is IP address meaning? What is its purpose? What are the different types of IP address options? There are so many questions surrounding this topic. Let us understand the meaning of an IP address.
IP address meaning
On the internet, there is an exchange of information. We send and receive emails. Additionally, we also browse different websites. We can browse a website made in America while sitting in India. A person from Australia can send a mail to a person sitting in Africa. Thus, we can connect and exchange information throughout the world with the help of the internet. Before the invention of technology and the internet, how did we exchange information? With the help of letters and the postal service!
We all are aware of how postal service works. Everyone has a unique address. I can easily send a letter to a friend living in another city. I only require my friend’s address. An address generally includes the house number, street name, area name, and city name. Additionally, we have pin codes and zip codes according to different regions. We can exchange letters and even goods with the help of this system. Similarly, we need a unique address on the internet for the exchange of information. This unique address is known as the IP address.
Internet Protocol address is the full name of the IP address. Protocol refers to a set of rules. Thus, the IP address follows a format. Every individual has a unique IP address. They can interact on the internet using their IP address. This is the basic overview of the IP address. So, is IP address meaning? In simple terms, an IP address is the unique internet address of an individual using the internet. Using the IP address, people can obtain information on the internet and also communicate with others. An IP address has a significant role to play.
What does an IP address look like?
We now have a basic idea of what IP address is. Let us now understand the technical aspects of the IP address. An IP address follows a uniform format. It is in a numerical format. There are four sections in an IP address. There is a period or a full-stop to separate each section. The limit of the characters in each section is from 0 to 255. An example of an IP address is – 192.168.1.25. Thus, this is the technical background of what an IP address looks like. Every device you own has its own IP address. Therefore, your smartphone, laptop, and tablet all have their unique IP address.
How to find your IP address?
You now have the answer to your question – what is IP address? But there may be another question on your mind. What is my IP address? Luckily for us, it is straightforward to find out our IP address. There are two simple ways of finding out the IP address of our device. Let us look at them one by one.
The first step is straightforward. On your phone or laptop, go to your default browser. Next, go to Google. On the search bar, you must type in “What is my IP address?” Click on Search. The search result will display your IP address.
The next method has a few more steps. Firstly, go to the Settings menu on your device. Go to the Wireless and Networks option. Click on Wi-Fi. In the Wi-Fi menu, go to Advanced settings. In the Advanced settings, you will see your IP address. Thus, it is effortless to find out the IP address of the devices you own.
In learning about what is IP address, we must also learn about the different versions. There are different versions of the IP addresses. The traditional version of the IP address is the IPV4. We say it is the IP version four. This is the version with the four sections. Dots separate the four sections in this version. We know that the IP address is in numerical form. We also know that each device has its own unique IP address. However, the computer does not have the ability to interpret the numerical address. How does the computer interpret the IP address? The answer is – binary system.
As we all know, the binary system is made up of 0 and 1. This is the language that the computer understands. Therefore, the computer converts the IP address into the binary system. In the IPV4, the four sections convert into a 32-character binary value. Thus, it is a 32-bit system. If we calculate according to this system, around 4 billion unique combinations of IP addresses are possible. This means that there is a unique IP address for around 4 billion devices. However, with the advancing technology, the device users are constantly increasing. People have more than two devices for themselves. Thus, the 4 million IP addresses will not be enough to cover all the devices.
What can we do in this situation? The solution to this is the IPV6. Let us understand the IP address meaning in terms of IPV6.
We were running out of unique IPV4 address. To overcome this problem, computer scientists have come up with IPV6. It is the IP address version six. In this version, there are more sections in the unique address format. Version four is a 32-bit system. On the contrary, version six is a 128-bit system! This means that more combinations of the unique IP addresses are possible. The different combinations from the IP address version six are enough for us and our future generations.
The format of IPV6 is a little different from the format of IPV4. In this new version, there are 8 sections in all. All the sections include four characters. A colon is used to separate each section. A sample IPV6 will look something like this – 2000:0db8:86a3:0000:0000:8b2e:0370:7335. You can imagine how many unique combinations are possible this way! There can be trillions and trillions of unique IP addresses using this version. This version is also faster and provides better-quality access to the internet.
Everyone is slowly adopting the IPV6 as it is going to be the future of the IP address. People are shifting from their previous IPV4 to newer IPV6. However, many countries are still using the older version. Some organizations are also using the IPV4 instead of the IPV6. This is because not all devices are compatible with the IPV6. Some network providers have yet to update to this new version. Slowly and steadily, everyone is updating their devices to the new version. In a few years, everyone will be using the IPV6. Thus, the older version will no longer be in use.
Types of IP address
Let us now move on to the classification of IP addresses. There are two types of IP addresses. The first one is the dynamic IP address. The second one is the static IP address. We will look at the dynamic IP address first.
Most of us use routers and modems for our internet connection. We ask our internet service providers to assign us an IP address. If we choose to have a dynamic IP address, the IP address will be unique each time you access the internet. This means that your network service provider will assign you a different IP address every time you use the internet. Even if you use a different device, you will have a different IP address. This is what is known as a dynamic IP address. Now let us move on to static IP address.
As the name suggests, the static IP address remains constant. Your network service provider assigns you a unique IP address. Every time you use the internet, your device will have the same IP address. Thus, the IP address does not change if you choose to have a static IP address. Generally, internet service providers charge more for a static IP address. Some people prefer a dynamic IP address, while others prefer a static IP address. People can select their IP addresses according to their needs.
Dynamic IP address
Authorities can use the IP addresses to track down the location of a device. Thus, if one knows your IP address, they can determine your location by tracking your internet usage. Hackers or criminals may find out your location details with the help of your IP address. For this reason, some people think that it is better to hide their IP address. Thus, they prefer to have a dynamic IP address. They will ask their internet service provider to assign them a dynamic IP address. With this package, they will have a different IP address every time they use the internet.
Some people also prefer to change the IP address on their own. They can do this if they have a dynamic IP address. People can do it manually by going to their network settings. In this manner, people think that they can ensure privacy and safety. However, this view can be quite misleading. Both dynamic and static IP addresses is safe. In fact, an expert will be able to track down the location of both. Thus, a dynamic IP address does not ensure complete privacy.
Static IP address
We now come to the second type of IP address. The static IP address remains constant. It is somewhat more expensive than the dynamic IP address. However, many people prefer to have a static IP address. A static IP address is convenient if we have multiple devices. Nowadays, we use smartphones, tablets, laptops, CCTV cameras, and many other devices. Keeping a uniform IP address for all the devices is helpful. We can avoid confusion by this. Therefore, many people prefer to have a static IP address.
You can ask your internet service provider to assign you whichever type of IP address you want. They will provide you with both options. You can understand your needs and decide based on that.
A brief overview of IP address
So what is IP address meaning? Why is it important? What are the different versions of it? Are there different types of IP address? This article answers all of the above questions. Let us do a quick recap of what IP address is.
An IP address is a unique address that a device has to use the internet. It works like a postal service. If you want to watch a video on YouTube, how will it play on your device? When you click on play, YouTube will transfer information to the IP address of your device. Thus, the video will play on your device. With the help of an IP addresses, one can exchange information on the internet through their device.
The original IP address is a 32-bit system. However, with the increasing number of users and devices, there will be a lack of unique IP combinations. This is how the IPV6 came into existence. This version is a 128-bit system. Thus, an astounding number of unique IP address combinations are now possible. Soon, all the devices in the world will operate on the new version of the IP address.
There are two types of IP address – static IP address and dynamic IP address. A static IP address does not change. Your device retains a unique IP address. In the case of a dynamic IP address, the IP address changes every time you use the internet. Thus, the device does not have one constant IP address. People can choose the IP address depending upon their needs. Internet service providers have different options for people to choose from. This covers the basics of the IP addresses. In conclusion, the IP address is a significant part of the internet.