Understanding IP Address: Functions, How It Works, and Versions of IP Address

Meaning of IP Address – In modern times like today, we don’t need to go anywhere to find various information and knowledge that we want. We can access any information in just a matter of seconds through the web. We can feel this facility with an internet connection and a device that can be connected to it.

But, do we already know, the convenience of the internet can happen thanks to various important components that are well connected to each other. One of them is the Internet Protocol (IP) address that allows our devices, whether it’s a Personal Computer (PC), laptop, or mobile phone, to connect to the internet.

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

Definition of IP Address

IP Address is a series of numbers that become the identity of the device and connected to the internet or other network infrastructure. What is its function? Its function can be likened to a house number on an address, which ensures that data is sent to the right device. For the length of the number range 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 the internet network in general and the local network.

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

The rapid development of technology has given rise to various innovations that make human life easier. Currently most or even almost everyone has turned to social media as a medium to communicate efficiently and effectively. Despite that, at least everyone still has and uses a phone number to be able to connect with each other and to be able to connect to other applications.

Let’s analogize together if the above explanation is still not clear. Let’s just imagine ourselves and other people are computer devices and IP addresses are each other’s phone numbers. In short, an IP address is a line of numbers owned by every device such as: computer, mobile device, smartphone , etc. 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 a group of files and data that are run on a hosting server that is stored, in this case it 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, there is a possibility that the IP address of a person’s site will be the same as that of another webmaster .

What is the Function of IP Address?

Having an IP address works 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. In addition to being likened to a phone number, IP address can also be likened to a person’s name and home address. Why is it like this?

IP address is an 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 use. When we access a site, there is actually a process of downloading data sent from the site. That process is made possible thanks to the existence of an IP address.

When we visit a website, the device we use needs to find the location of the website’s data to 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? Well! That’s about the function of having an IP Address. It may not be realized, but its role is very important.

See also  difference between local and global variables in python

If we compare it, IP address is a number that works to ensure that packets (data) are sent to the right home (device). In other words, the function of 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 Does IP Address Work?

For Reader who do not know how IP Address works, here is the explanation:

A computer connected to a network router is usually provided 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 recognize each other. With this IP address, each device can communicate, receive data, and send it.

What is the IP Address version?

Now there are 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 are IPv4 and IPv6.

First, IPv4

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

IPv4 has a number length of 32 bits and consists of four groups of numbers separated by periods. These groups of numbers are each a decimal representation of the eight digits (bits) of a binary number.

A line consisting of eight binary digits is also called 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 almost 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 has a length of 128 bits and consists of eight groups of numbers and letters separated by colons. Each group of numbers and letters is a decimal representation of 16 binary digits.

Due to the many possible combinations of numbers and letters available, IPv6 can accommodate 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses. With such a large amount, the internet world will not lack IP addresses for a long time. One 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 coverage, namely Public IP and Private IP. What is 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 range and the allocation for the number range of this type of public IP address is regulated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or (IANA). If there is an organization (for example an internet service provider) that wants to obtain a public IP, then it must first request permission from the relevant authoritative body.

2. Private

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

How can a computer access a website if the IP address is private? This could be because the device does it 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 for free, but is not permanent.

Why not immortal? From the comments above it has been explained that currently the number of IP addresses that can be used is getting thinner. Therefore, IP addresses are used interchangeably. Internet service providers will also be responsible for this. A dynamic IP address can change once every week, month, or even year. However, restarting the device or internet router can also cause this change.

See also  Characteristics and Examples of Solids

2. Static

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

Users who make reservations on one or more IP addresses include web hosting service providers, virtual private network (VPN), and file transfer protocol (FTP) servers. The service provider needs an IP address that does not change because the service will depend on it. We have to pay a certain amount of fees given by the internet service provider to get this static IP address.

What are Shared IP and Dedicated IP?

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

1. Shared IP

From the previous explanation about public IP, you already know that each of the website servers has an IP address. Shared IP is usually available on a shared hosting server, where all users share all 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 shared IP is used together for all users on a server, this dedicated IP is only used by one domain only. 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 IP on shared hosting servers.

How are Security Threats related to IP Addresses?

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

Even if it does not display sensitive information, the IP address is 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. Our city or even our address and electronic transaction activity can also be tracked with this address. What are the consequences? we can be followed, hired, or even at risk of being a victim of crime.
  2. Vulnerable to Hacking Devices
    Our devices are connected to the internet through IP addresses and ports. If we know our IP address, hackers can force us to take over the computer we use. And even worse, they can install malware, then steal sensitive information and privacy to commit criminal acts and harm us.
  3. Using Resources or Doing Framing
    When our IP address falls into the hands of criminals, they can misuse it to trap. For example, they can download or upload malicious content via your IP address, which may violate the ISP’s terms and conditions. This will be fatal.

Well, after knowing some explanations from this article about IP Address, here is the summary. An IP address is a series of numbers used by all devices to communicate over 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 was recently created to cover the shortage of IP address quotas which are getting thinner. In addition, IP addresses are also differentiated into several types and classes. IP addresses are useful for making remote connections with other devices and servers.

Let’s now start being more vigilant when browsing the internet and always protect our IP address, for the sake of security when doing activities on the internet.

Recommended Books about IP Address

Here are the reading books that Reader can read to learn more about IP Address, among them:

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

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

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

This book explains the easy way to build a computer network. Packed with an easy-to-understand presentation, this book is very suitable 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 in networks, servers, routers, and others needs to have. Readers only capitalize on equipment with a LInux laptop only.

The material in this book is presented and suitable for learning by students in schools, colleges, and the general public who are struggling in the field of networking. This book is expected to be useful in helping to develop the IPv6 network in Indonesia.