Your IP address is: 188.8.131.52
What Do We Know About This IP Address?
- Location: Ashburn, United States
- Continent: NA
- Timezone: America/New_York
- Latitude: 39.0481
- Longtitude: -77.4728
What Is An IP Address?
An Internet Protocol address, or IP address for short, is a series of unique numbers that are assigned to each router or hotspot accessing the internet. The string of numbers is used to tell all the machines apart on the same internet. Much like your house need a mailing address to send and receive packages or letters, your computing device needs an IP to send and receive data.
Computers must be connected to a network with this method to uphold the standard internet protocol. The internet would be an even stranger place if these set of rules weren’t in place. However, IP addresses are not permanent. If your computer changes location or the modem gets turned off the address could change. It is also possible to have your IP changed manually by contacting the internet service provider directly.
When first connecting to a network, a computer must be assigned an IP via the DHCP. The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol assigns an IP with 4 steps.
- Discovery – First, the computer sends out a broadcast message hoping to connect to a DHCP service provider.
- The offer – If received, the DHCP will send out a response message offering services.
- The Request – The computer then requests an address assignment.
- Acknowledgment – Finally, the DHCP acknowledges the request and your computer is assigned an IP.
The Internet Protocol address was first introduced in 1974 when a group of engineers wrote the first internet protocol proposal. Even during the internet’s infancy, it was clear a standardized means of connecting devices to networks was crucial. Nowadays, there are millions of devices trying to connect and each needs their own share of bandwidth. The importance of internet protocol addresses will only increase further as time passes.
At first, DARPA was in charge of funding the internet and setting up internet protocol. Their jurisdiction stems from the internet’s inception as a military tool before being released to the public. Nowadays, the Internet Engineering Task Force or IETF is responsible for setting standards used in the public version of the web.
Both Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf are credited with creating TCP, or the Transmission Control Protocol. This is the standard that uses a networks’ IP to connect it to a webpage.
There are various forms of IP address to be aware of. The most basic distinction is between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
What Is IPv4?
- 4 numbers separated by dots and are limited to being 32 bit.
- The numbers must range from 0-255 in decimal.
- Certain numbers within this range are reserved for specific purposes.
- The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, or IANA for short, is in charge of designating reserved numbers within the spectrum.
What Is IPv6?
- Consist of 6 numbers each separated by colons.
- The maximum size of IPv6 addresses was increased to 128 bit.
- This allows for an even larger quantity of possible configurations.
- A modern upgrade to the old standard.
While IPv6 is a newer format, most machines you encounter today still use an IPv4 address. In fact, when hearing the term IP address used generally it is almost always referring to the IPv4 standard.
The other main way internet protocol addresses are differentiated is whether they are static or dynamic.
What Is a Static IP?
- are mostly permanent and not meant to change.
- are typically used on home networks where the device will hardly ever move location.
- reveals information such as the country and region of the device.
- also seen as a reliable way to communicate with remote devices since it is easy to verify if the machine is familiar.
What Is a Dynamic IP?
- change frequently depending on where a device is located or trying to connect to
- are typically used for mobile devices like cell phones and tablets that change location frequently.
It is this erratic nature that actually makes dynamic IP addresses considered more secure than static. It is harder to track a signal that is constantly moving than one that largely remains still.
It is important to note that computers don’t connect directly to the internet. In fact, the router creates its own network that the computer or other device hooks up to. Once connected, the router can facilitate communications between your computer and the rest of the internet. If foreign programs could tap in at any time, hackers or other unwanted guests could have a field day.
This separation factor also explains why you must connect to wifi when out and about. Your laptop can’t just access the internet without a hotspot of some kind. The address is how a device can communicate and be recognized even on unfamiliar networks.
Ultimately, internet protocol addresses are a necessary component of a stable internet. If each device that we connected didn’t have its own signature, it would be impossible to transmit data between them effectively. As the internet continues to transmute all common items found in human life, the system by which we organize it all will keep growing more significant.