Understanding IP Address: Functions, How it Works, and Version of IP Address

Timesofummah.comIn modern times like today, we do not need to go anywhere to look for various information and knowledge that we want. We can access any information in just seconds via the web. We can feel this convenience with an internet connection and devices that can connect to it.

However, did we already know that this convenience with the internet can happen thanks to a variety of important components that are well connected. One of them is the Internet Protocol (IP) address that allows our devices, be it a Personal Computer (PC), laptop, or cell phone, to connect to the internet.

If doesn’t know what the IP address is? What is the function of IP Address? How do IP addresses work? What are the versions of the IP Address? Is there a difference between Public IP and Private IP? What is the difference between Dynamic IP and Static IP? What is Shared IP and Dedicated IP? What are the security threats regarding IP Addresses? In this article, can find the answer!

Understanding IP Address

Understanding IP Address Functions, How it Works, and Version of IP Address

 

 

IP Address is a series of numbers that identifies the device and is connected to the internet or other network infrastructure. What is its function? Its function can be likened to a house number in an address, which ensures that data is sent to the right device. For the length of the series of numbers starting from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.

Internet Protocol, in Indonesian, is a kind of tool to identify all devices connected to the network, both general and local internet networks.

We need to know together, when we use devices such as: laptops, PCs, cellphones, or even printers. Actually, all devices have their own IP addresses, you know.

The rapid development of technology gives rise to various innovations that make human life easier. Currently, most or even almost everyone has turned to social media as a medium for efficient and effective communication. Even so, at least everyone still has and uses a phone number to connect with each other and connect to other applications.

Let’s make an analogy together if the explanation above is still not clear. We just imagine ourselves and other people are computer equipment and the IP address is each other’s phone number. In short, an IP address is a line of numbers that belongs to every device such as: computers, gadgets, smartphones, and so on that are connected via the internet. The numbers on each device and used to contact each other are of course different.

Then, how can someone access sites on the internet with those different numbers? All sites that are accessed are collections of files and data that are run on the hosting server that is stored, in this case is a computer device.

Therefore, each website has its own IP address, for example Google uses the number 74.125.224.72 as the IP Address. However, it is possible that the IP address of one’s site will be the same as that of another webmaster.

What is the function of IP addresses?

The existence of an IP address functions so that every device that uses an internet connection can contact each other. However, that’s not all. A series of numbers in the IP Address also has other functions, you know. Apart from being likened to a telephone number, we can also think of an IP address as a person’s name and home address. Why is it like this?

IP address is the identity for a computer in an internet network. Therefore, the owner of a website can find out all the IP addresses that access his own site. Furthermore, the IP address serves as the address for sending data to the device we are using. When we access a site, there is actually a process of downloading data sent from that site. This process is possible thanks to the IP address.

When we visit a website, the device we use needs to find the location of the website’s data and then retrieve the data and present it to us or anyone who accesses it. When we buy goods in the marketplace, do we write down our complete home address along with our own phone number to receive the package from the marketplace so that the package arrives correctly? Now! that’s roughly what the function of the IP Address is. You may not realize it, but its role is very important.

For example, the IP address is a number that serves to ensure that the packet (data) is sent to the right home (device). In other words, the function of an IP address is as a communication medium for a device so that requests for it are directed to the right destination through the network.

How Do IP Addresses Work?

For  who don’t know how IP addresses work, here’s an explanation:

Computers connected to a network router are usually available by an internet service provider (ISP). Then, the router will communicate with the server where the website is stored to access the files that need to be sent back to the computer.

Devices such as computers and routers have IP addresses that can be recognized by each other. With this IP address, each device can communicate, retrieve data, and send it.

What are the versions of the IP Address?

There are now billions of websites available on the internet. Not to mention, the number of devices connected to the internet is definitely more than that. Therefore, currently there are two versions of IP addresses that are commonly used, the two being IPv4 and IPv6.

First, IPv4

This is a version of the IP address that has been used since the internet began to be used commercially. This IPv$ version is also the most widely used version. It could be, we are currently using it.

IPv4 is 32 bits long and consists of four sets of numbers separated by periods. These sets of numbers each become a decimal representation of the eight digits (bits) of a binary number.

A row of eight binary numbers is also known as an octet. Each octet has a maximum value of 255. Therefore, this IPv4 address has a range from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255. With that range, IPv4 can accommodate nearly 4.3 billion IP addresses.

So that we can illustrate the explanation above, below are some examples of IPv4 addresses:

  • 16.254.1
  • 146.80.100
  • 168.1.3
  • 16.254.1

Second, IPv6

Currently, the IPv6 address version is not widely used, but IPv6 was created due to the dwindling capacity of IPv4. IPv6 is 128 bits long and consists of eight sets of numbers and letters separated by colons. Each set of numbers and letters is a decimal representation of 16 binary numbers.

Because of the many possible combinations of numbers and letters, IPv6 can accommodate 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses. With that large number, the internet world will not be short of IP addresses for quite a long time. An example of an IPv6 address is 2001:cdba::3257:9652.

What is the Difference between Public IP and Private IP?

IP addresses have two types based on their scope, namely Public IP and Private IP. What’s the difference?

1. Public IP

As the name suggests, public IP addresses can be accessed via the internet. Public IP addresses are owned by all devices intended for the general public. Website servers, email servers, and Wi-Fi routers are some examples of devices that use Public IP addresses.

Public IP addresses and private IP addresses have their own number ranges and the allocation for this number range of public IP addresses is regulated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). If any organization (eg internet service provider) wishes to obtain a public IP, it must first seek permission from the relevant authoritative body.

2. Private

Private IP addresses are used for communication for the local network. Examples of devices that have this private IP address are laptops, PCs, and cellphones. Each of these devices can communicate with each other not through an internet connection, but on other local networks such as a Local Access Network (LAN).

How can a computer access a website if the IP address is private? This can be because the device does so through the public IP address of the internet router as an intermediary.

What is the Difference Between Dynamic IP and Static IP?

Internet service providers actually provide two types of IP addresses, namely dynamic and static. Here is an explanation of both.

1. Dynamic

Dynamic IP address is the type that is usually owned by the general public, including us. This IP address is provided by the internet service provider free of charge, but is not permanent.

Why not eternal? From the above review, it has been explained that the number of IP addresses that can be used is currently running low. Therefore, IP addresses are used in turn. The internet service provider will also be responsible for this. Dynamic IP addresses can change once every week, month, or even year. However, restarting the device or internet router can also cause this change.

2. Static

Meanwhile, a static IP address is the opposite of a dynamic IP address. The static IP address has been “booked” by the party who uses it.

Users who make reservations on one or more of the IP addresses include web hosting service providers, virtual private networks (VPNs), and file transfer protocol (FTP) servers. The service provider needs an unchanging IP address because the service will depend on it. We have to pay a fee given by the internet service provider to get this static IP address.

What is Shared IP and Dedicated IP?

If we run one or more than one website, there are two types of IP addresses used by the web hosting server, namely Shared IP and Dedicated IP. How do both of them explain?

1. Shared IP

From the previous explanation about public IP, you already know that each website server has one IP address. Shared IP is usually available on a shared hosting server, where all users share all of the server’s resources, including its IP address. Not only that, all domains owned by a user also use the same IP address.

2. Dedicated IP

If a shared IP is shared for all users on a server, this dedicated IP is only used by one domain. Although this type of IP address is usually offered on dedicated hosting servers and cloud VPS hosting, some affordable/cheap web hosting service providers allow their customers to use dedicated IPs on shared hosting servers.

How about Security Threats regarding IP Addresses?

One thing we must remember together that we must always protect the IP address and do not share it with anyone. If the IP address is known to hackers or criminals in the internet world, we will be in a dangerous condition.

Although it does not display sensitive information, IP addresses are still at risk of being used by hackers or criminals on the internet to:

  1. Tracking Your Location and Activity
    IP address can show geolocation and internet activity that we do. City or even our address and electronic transaction activity can also be tracked with this address. What are the consequences? we can be followed, tricked, or even risk becoming a victim of crime.
  2. Prone to Hacking Device
    Our devices are connected to the internet via IP addresses and ports. If you know our IP address, hackers can force take over the computer we use. And what’s worse, they can install malware, then steal sensitive and privacy information to carry out criminal acts and harm us.
  3. Using Resources or Framing
    If our IP address falls into the hands of criminals, they can misuse it to trap us. For example, they may download or upload inappropriate content via your IP address, which may violate the ISP’s terms and conditions. This will be fatal.

Well, after knowing some explanations from the article about this IP Address, here’s a summary. IP address is a series of numbers used by all devices to connect via the internet.

There are two types of IP addresses, namely IPv4 which has been used since the early days of the internet and IPv6 which has recently been created to cover the shortage of quotas in IP addresses that are running low. In addition, IP addresses are also divided into several types and classes. IP addresses are useful for making remote connections with other devices and servers.

Let’s now start to be more vigilant when surfing the internet and always protect our IP address, for security when doing activities on the internet.

Recommended Books on IP Address

Here are reading books that  can read to find out more about IP addresses, including:

1. Computer Network with TCP/IP Revised Edition (2015) by Winarno Sugeng

This book discusses the basic concepts of computer networks, standards, processes and history, the basic concepts of protocols, IP addressing, and others related to IP addresses. A suitable book to read for who want to know more about IP Address.

2. Easy Steps to Build a Computer Network (2021) by Zaenal Arifin

This book describes an easy way to build a computer network. Packed with an easy-to-understand presentation, this book is perfect for beginners who want to start working in the world of informatics and computer networks.

3. IPv6 to Support Network Operations and Domain Name System (DNS) (2019) by Onno W. Purbo

This book, written by Onno W. Purbo, discusses the practical knowledge that anyone who wants to operate IPv6 should have in networks, servers, routers, and more. Readers only have enough equipment with a Linux laptop.

The material in this book is presented and suitable for study by students in schools, colleges, and the general public who are engaged in networking. This book is expected to be useful in helping to develop IPv6 networks in Indonesia.

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