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What is an IP address? Definition

The IP address is a unique address that allows the identification of a device on the Internet. IP stands for Internet Protocol, it corresponds to a set of rules establishing the management of data on the Internet.

The IP address is therefore an identification number permanently or temporarily assigned to a device on the Internet. This registration number is defined by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the association that manages IP addresses worldwide.

What is the purpose of an IP address?

An IP address is a unique identifier for a computer network and is the basis of the system for routing data on the Internet. The IP address allows two machines to identify each other and to talk to each other, exchanging data on the Internet.

In fact, any device that is part of an internal or external network needs an IP address to communicate with other devices and receive data packets from them.

The different types of IP addresses :

  • Current addresses: IPv4

For now, we use ipv4 addresses, composed of 32 bits, an alternation of 0 and 1, for example: 00111111 0101011 10011100 11000010. To simplify reading, we use a group of four decimal numbers with a value between 0 and 225:

  • Future addresses: IPv6

Given the growing number of devices requiring an IP address with connected objects, it will require a larger address space, hence the appearance of ipv6 addresses. They will consist of 128bits in eight blocks of 16 bits separated by double dots.

Also, there are different classifications of IP addresses:

  • Static IP addresses

Fixed or Static IP addresses, means that it is always the same, the owner of the address does not realize its modification. They are often used in private networks (LANs) and for web servers that are always accessible at the same URL.

  • Dynamic IP addresses

Mostly used for everyday browsing, they are assigned by the Internet service provider. This assignment is deleted after each session or is automatically changed at regular intervals, usually every 24 hours.