You must have heard of the term “IP address” but most of us may not know exactly what it is, just a shadowy picture of it in our mind, unless you are a techie.
An IP address is a technology which is used communicate between computers (or other digital device) via the Internet. IP addresses help digital devices connected to the Internet to be identified and differentiated from other devices. It is same as when someone asks for your mailing address to send you a letter, a remote computer requires your IP address to communicate with your computer.
An Internet Protocol address or IP address is a numerical label given to a device (may be a computer, printer, etc.) on a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.
An IP address serves two principal functions – Host or network interface identification and location addressing. Its role has been characterized as follows:
- A name that indicates what we are seeking for.
- An address that indicates where it is.
- A route that indicates how to get there.
Internet Protocol defines an IP address as a 32-bit number and this system is known as Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) and is still used today. However, due to the enormous growth of the Internet and the predicted depletion of available addresses, a new version of IP (IPv6), using 128 bits for the address, was developed in 1995. IPv6 was standardized as RFC 2460 in 1998, and its deployment has been ongoing since then.
IP addresses are binary numbers usually stored in text files and displayed in human-readable notations, such as 126.96.36.199 for IPv4, and 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 for IPv6.