IP address is a key component of every network device, and we briefly mentioned IP address in our guide on how to change MAC address. Today we’re going to explain you what is an IP address and how does it work.
Internet Protocol, or IP, address is a numerical value assigned to every network device so that device can be identified in local network or Internet. IP address is a 32-bit number and it consists out of four numbers that are divided by dots. Standard IP address looks like this 22.214.171.124, and each segment of an IP address is represented by a number ranging from 0 to 255. Each segment is using 8 bits thus making the maximum value for each segment 255. This is how a standard IPv4 address works, but there’s also IPv6 available.
IPv6 addresses use a different format, and they are not represented by decimal numbers, instead they are represented by hexadecimal values. Each IPv6 address comes with eight sets of four hexadecimal values, and each set is separated by a colon. For example, an IPv6 address might look like this fdce:ddf3:9279:ffff::.
If you’re wondering why there are two versions of IP addresses, the answer is rather simple. IPv4 can support a certain number of unique addresses, and since there are millions of devices accessing the Internet, and with more network devices being created each day, we might run out of IPv4 addresses that we can assign in near future. In order to deal with this issue IPv6 standard was invented, and unlike IPv4, IPv6 standard can support up to 340 undecillion addresses. In comparison, IPv4 standard can support only approximately 4.3 billion addresses.
In addition to IPv4 and IPv6 addresses there are also static and dynamic IP addresses. Your IP address is assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider, and you can have static IP address that doesn’t change, or you can have a dynamic IP address that changes automatically after certain period of time. Most users don’t require a static IP address, and most Internet users have a dynamic IP address. Having a static IP address usually costs more, and using a static IP address comes with a certain security risk.