An IP address or internet protocol address is an identifying number for a network device or a network host. The IP address is similar to a home or business address supplying that specific physical location with a particular address. Devices on a network differentiated from one another through IP addresses. Having an IP address allows a device to communicate with other devices over an IP-based network just like the internet.
There are two standards for IP addresses:
- IP Version 4 (IPv4) – Each IPv4 address consists of a string of 32 bits, divided into four sections called octets. Each octet contains 8 bits separated by a dot. Because of working with a binary number is very difficult, so for ease of use, IPv4 addresses are commonly expressed in dotted decimal notation. For example, 192.168.0.1, 172.16.100.250 and 10.41.255.50 are IP addresses. We can convert these addresses to binary. For example binary of the above addresses is 11000000.10101000.00000000.00000001, 10101100.00010000.01100100.11111010, 00001010.00101001.11111111.00110010.
- IP Version 6 (IPv6)– IPv6 is the upgrade of IPv4 address that uses 128 bits to create a single unique address. An IPv6 address expressed by eight groups of hexadecimal (base-16) numbers separated by colons, for example 2001:0db8:0000:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7231. Groups of numbers that contain all zeros often omitted to save space, leaving a colon separator to mark the gap (as in 2001:0db8:: 8a2e:0370:7231).
All computers and devices with IP addresses have an IPv4 address, and many are starting to use the new version of IP addressing system as well. So we will discuss both in later articles briefly.