IP address is not a new term for internet users. It doesn't matter whether you are a techie or not. You must have across many situations when you have a glimpse of the IP addresses.

Let us first understand what an IP address means. Every computer has an IP address. IP address is a significant term used in computer world for allowing one computer to interact with another through the internet medium. With the help of IP address, one can differentiate the numerous computer systems that are connected.

Let us study an example. If your friend wants to mail you some information regarding business or college studies or even trip details, then he will need your email address to communicate. On the same parlance, if a remote computer wants to communicate with your computer, then it needs your IP address.

IP stands for Internet Protocol. Internet Protocol refers to a set of rules or standards that regulate the internet domain and help in completion of requisite actions on the World Wide Web. We can say that Internet Protocol is an important component of the regulatory framework governing internet domain. An IP address is comprised of four numbers. An example of IP address is This number plays an important role in sending and receiving messages over the internet medium.

The two types of IP addresses are: Static address or dynamic address. As the name suggests, static addresses do not change and are the permanent address of the website. These addresses also help in disclosing information regarding country, region, city, etc. On the other hand, dynamic addresses are temporary in nature. When a computer acquires an access to the internet, a dynamic IP address is assigned to it.

Invalid or private IP

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The four primary functions of Internet Protocol are as follows:

Addressing: IP offers a methodology for addressing. It allocates unique addresses to the devices located on the network.

Data Formatting and Packaging: IP is involved in acceptance of data, packaging of data and its transmission as per special procedures.

Fragmentation and Reassembly: IP performs fragmentation of the data packets so that they can be transmitted over the network. Subsequently, the reassembly task is also performed by IP to re-start the process.

Routing/Indirect Delivery: The direct delivery involves protocols such as LAN, WAN and WLAN. Indirect delivery methods involve devices such as routers. IP collaborates with other protocols such as RIP, BGP, etc.

IP is a part of the term TCP/IP which is widely used in the internet industry. In order to understand IP and IP addresses, one should also know what is meant by TCP/IP.

TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. The concept of TCP/IP was formulated by bob Kahn and Vint Cerf in the year 1978. It us a set of standards that govern the communication between the computers over internet medium. In simple terms, TCP/IP explains the computers regarding proper packaging of information into packets, mechanism of sending and receiving this information and the way it should reach the ultimate destination.

As the name indicates, TCP/IP is the combination of two different sets of protocol namely, Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol. Hence, TCP and IP are combined to form TCP/IP. The IP standards entail the mechanism of routing the packets over the networks. It explains to the packets where it is supposed to go and how it should reach that place or system. Just imagine a real life situation in which workers in a mine pass the boulders to each other. TCP/IP works in similar fashion. Any computer present on the internet can share a packet to other computers. In this ways, the information is shared from one computer to another computer over the internet.

The Transmission Control Protocol is allotted another responsibility. It ensures reliable and effective communication of data and information between the inter-connected devices over the internet. TCP has stringent role in governing the internet activity. It conducts checks on the packers to detect errors. If any errors are found during transmission of packets, then it forwards requests for re-transmission of packets.

Following are the three commonly used TCP/IP protocols that one needs to remember:

1. HTTP - It stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. This protocol helps in communication between a web server and a web client. Mostly, non-secure data transmissions take place using this protocol.

2. HTTPS - Secure data transmissions take place between web client and a web server using HTTPS.

3. FTP - FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is used for sending and receiving data between two or more computers.

As it is difficult to remember TCP/IP for all websites we visit, a domain name is used. A web address is easy to remember instead of a string of numbers.

Another term connecting to the internet domain is IPv4. As IP was revised on gradual basis, the fourth revision is known as IPv4. This protocol is used on a large scale in the field of data communication over various types of networks and networking systems. IPv4 identifies each device in the packet-switched layer networks and helps in establishment of a logical connection. The two types of ways of configuring these devices are manual and automatic configurations.

Following are significant features of IPv4:

1. It is connectionless protocol.

2. It used in packet-switched layer networks like Ethernet.

3. It utilizes 32-bit addresses in case of Ethernet Communication.

4. The five classes of IPv4 are A, B, C, D and E.

5. It can assign up to 232 host addresses to the end users.

Thus, IPv4 is developed for usage in interconnected systems. It is utilized for identifying devices on a network via an addressing system. This revision of the Internet Protocol is widely used by the internet users.

Thus, IP plays a vital role in internetworking. Hence, before understanding the modern networking technology, one should have a basic knowledge of the IP, its role, functions and so on. It is true that IP is a complex term as it performs numerous important functions across the globe. We have explained some of the basic concepts above.

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