Internet Protocol Address: Everything You Need to Know

Futuristic smartphone, Biztech Lens, Internet Protocol Address, IP Address, DNS, Network

What is an Internet Protocol address, you ask? An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique identifier that every device connected to the internet has. It’s like a postal address for your computer, smartphone, tablet, or any other gadget that can access the web.

Every device has an IP address, as long as it’s connected to a network.

Can two devices have the same IP address on the same network? The straight answer is No. Two devices cannot have the same IP address on the same network. If this happens, the network becomes confused by the duplicate IP addresses and can’t use them correctly. However, if two devices are not located on the same network, they can have the same IP address. Think of a box address system: we can only have one 264 Kimilili, but we can have 264 Kimilili and 264 Kerugoya.

Why do we need IP addresses?

Well, they help the internet work by allowing devices to communicate with each other. When you type a website name into your browser, such as www.bing.com, your device sends a request to a server that hosts that website. The server then responds by sending back the web page you want to see.

But how does your device know where to send the request, and how does the server know where to send the response? That’s where IP addresses come in.

Every website has an IP address associated with it, which is a series of numbers separated by dots, such as 204.79.197.200. This is the IP address of www.bing.com. Your device also has an IP address, which is assigned by your internet service provider (ISP) or your network administrator.

When you send a request to a website, your device includes its own IP address in the message, so that the server knows where to send the response.

However, typing numbers into your browser is not very convenient or memorable, so we use domain names instead, such as www.bing.com. These are easier to remember and more user-friendly. But how does your device know which IP address corresponds to which domain name? That’s where another service called DNS comes in.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it’s like a phone book for the internet. It keeps track of all the domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. When you type a domain name into your browser, your device contacts a DNS server, which looks up the IP address for that domain name and sends it back to your device. Your device then uses that IP address to connect to the website you want.

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Futuristic Domain Name System (DNS) | BIZTECH LENS

So far so good, but did you know that there are different types of IP addresses? Yes, there are two main versions of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.

IPv4 vs. IPv6

IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol version 4, and it’s the most widely used type of IP address. It consists of four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by dots, such as 204.79.197.200.

However, there is a problem with IPv4: it can only support about 4.3 billion unique addresses, which is not enough for all the devices and websites on the internet today.

That’s why IPv6 was created. IPv6 stands for Internet Protocol version 6, and it’s the newer and more advanced type of IP address. It consists of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, separated by colons, such as 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.

IPv6 can support a huge number of unique addresses: about 340 undecillion (that’s 36 zeros!). This means that every device and website on the internet can have its own IPv6 address without running out of space.

However, not all devices and websites support IPv6 yet, so we still need IPv4 for compatibility reasons. That’s why some devices and websites have both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address.

But not all IP addresses are the same. There are two types of IP addresses: private and public.

Private vs. public Internet Protocol address

A private IP address is an address that is assigned to your device by your router or modem, which connects you to your local network.

A public IP address is an address that is assigned to your router or modem by your internet service provider (ISP), which connects you to the global network.

Why do we need both types of IP addresses? Well, imagine if every device in the world had a public IP address. That would mean that there would be billions of IP addresses, and we would run out of them very quickly.

Also, it would mean that every device would be exposed to the internet, and that would pose a lot of security risks. By using private IP addresses on your local network, you can protect your devices from hackers and malware that might try to access them from the internet. Your router acts as a firewall that blocks unwanted incoming traffic and only allows outgoing traffic that you initiate.

That’s why we use private IP addresses for our local networks. They allow us to have multiple devices connected to the same router or modem, without using up too many public IP addresses. They also allow us to have more control over our network settings and security.

But how do our devices communicate with the outside world, if they have private IP addresses? That’s where our router or modem comes in.

Router/modem as a gateway between LAN and global network

The router/modem acts as a gateway between our local network and the global network. It has both a private IP address and a public IP address. It uses a process called Network Address Translation (NAT) to translate between the two types of IP addresses.

Basically, the router/modem assigns a port number to each device on the local network, and then combines it with the public IP address to create a unique identifier for each device on the internet.

For example, let’s say your router has a public IP address of 203.0.113.1, and your laptop has a private IP address of 192.168.1.2.

When you send a request to visit a website, your router will assign a port number to your laptop, say 1234, and then combine it with the public IP address to create a new identifier: 203.0.113.1:1234. This is what will be sent to the website server, along with your request.

The website server will then send back a response to the same identifier: 203.0.113.1:1234. Your router will then use NAT to translate it back to your laptop’s private IP address: 192.168.1.2, and deliver the response to you.

This way, you can access the internet using your private IP address, while sharing the same public IP address with other devices on your local network.

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Futuristic Network | BIZTECH LENS

Dynamic vs. static Internet Protocol address

dynamic IP address is automatically assigned to a device by the network’s DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server. The IP address is subject to change each time the device connects to the network. Dynamic IP addressing is suitable for most cases and is the default setting for most networks.

static IP address, on the other hand, is manually configured and never changes unless it is manually reconfigured. Static IP addressing is useful if you want to access your home network remotely or if you need to host a website or other services on your network.

Now you might be wondering: how can I find out what my IP address is? Or what the IP address of a website is? Well, there are several ways to do that.

How to find your Internet Protocol address

One way is to use an online tool or a website that can show you your IP address or any other IP address you want to know. For example, you can visit www.whatismyip.com to see what your IP address is, or www.iplocation.net to see where an IP address is located geographically.

Another way is to use a command prompt or a terminal on your device and type some commands that can display your IP address or any other IP address you want to know. For example, on Windows devices, you can open a command prompt and type ipconfig /all to see all the information about your network connections and IP addresses. On Mac devices, you can open a terminal and type ifconfig -a to see the same information.

A third way is to use your browser’s developer tools or inspect element feature and look at the network tab or console tab to see what requests and responses are being sent and received by your device when you visit a website. You can see the IP addresses of both your device and the website in these tabs.

To find the IP address of your phone, you can follow these steps:

  • Android: Open the Settings app, then select About phone or About device. Tap on Status and you will see your phone’s IP address listed under the IP address section.
  • iPhone: Open the Settings app, then select Wi-Fi. Tap on the network you are connected to and you will see your phone’s IP address listed under the IP Address section.

How to hide your IP address

How to Hide Your Phone’s IP Address with a VPN

If you’re concerned about the privacy implications of your phone’s IP address, one way to obfuscate it is to use a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN works by routing all your traffic through its servers, which masks your IP and makes it harder to connect your browsing to you or your location.

To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a VPN provider: There are many VPN providers available, both free and paid. Some popular options include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark.
  2. Download and install the VPN app: Once you’ve chosen a provider, download and install their app on your phone.
  3. Connect to a server: Open the app and connect to a server in the location you want to appear from. This will mask your IP address and make it appear as if you’re browsing from that location.

That’s it! By using a VPN, you can protect your privacy and browse the web more securely.


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