What is an IP address? Do you know what “IP address” means? You’ve probably heard it from a technician or friend with computer skills or a computer engineer. Also, you might have heard it if you have Wi-Fi.
This acronym stands for “Internet Protocol”. So, as the name implies, this is a communications protocol for the Internet. Now that you know what an IP address is, it doesn’t sound complicated, does it?
On the other hand, everyone has an IP address, even websites! This way, the Internet network identifies all users in cyberspace.
IP address types
There are two types: public and private, and each has a purpose.
This is the address assigned by your ISP, i.e. the company that provides you with Internet access such as AT&T or Xfinity. In addition, this address serves to identify you within the Internet.
On the other hand, although there are also fixed public IPs, generally, IPs tend to change from time to time without you noticing.
Furthermore, no one can use the internet without an IP. Likewise, a website can’t be online if it doesn’t have an associated IP. In fact, when you type an address like “www.google.com”, the browser translates this text into an IP address. In this way, you can access the Google page and its content. Then, understanding what an IP address becomes somewhat more interesting.
Therefore, public IP addresses are like your assigned license plate on the internet. Every IP is unique, no one has the same one. Therefore this is a way to identify yourself as a user in the vastness of the Internet.
Private networks, such as those you create in your home, use this to connect various devices via your Wi-Fi.
When you do this, each device such as your router or mobile phone has its own IP so that there are no conflicts between them.
IP addresses contain four blocks of numbers separated by three dots. Each block could have up to three digits.
The values of each block can range from 0 to 255, so an IP address could be the following: 192.168.1.1.
Exclusive ranges for private IPs
On the other hand, within the great variety of combinations that can be generated there are three exclusive ranges for private IPs:
- Class A: 10.0.0.0 to 10,255,255,255.
- Class B: 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255
- Class C: 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255.
So, Class A is for larger networks like those of international companies. Class B IPs are for medium-sized networks like university networks.
Finally, domestic networks are usually the ones that use Class C. For example, the IP 192.168.1.1 is part of Class C, so it is reserved for entering a domestic router
Differences between an IP address and a MAC address
On the other hand, to further understand what an IP address is, it is very important to distinguish between the IP address and the MAC address. The latter is a unique identifier for the devices’ network cards. Besides, each device has its own address, although we can change it.
In contrast, your computer’s IP can be dynamic and more than identifying devices, it identifies you as a user on the Internet.
On the other hand, we clarify that private IPs do not repeat within the same network. This means that in your house each connected device will have a different IP without any repetition. On the other hand, when different networks are found, a device can have the same IP as another device.
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