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What is the IP address?

In these times where being connected to the web is essential for our daily work, and even for leisure, ignoring the terminology used in this area is a mistake that can pay dearly, since from the possibility of having problems With the connection and not knowing how to solve them, until we avoid situations where our security is endangered as Internet surfers, not knowing, for example, what our IP address is can quickly become a problem that can completely disengage us.

That is why in this post we are going to find all the necessary answers to understand, in a simple and clear way, everything related to IP addresses and how they are managed so that Internet traffic is as fluid as possible. If you are interested in this topic, we invite you to read this article to the end, as you will find more than interesting and relevant information.

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What is an IP address?

Every computer connected to the internet (or any network) has a unique identification, called the IP address (Internet Protocol), made up of four combinations of numbers (eg 187.25.14.190).

These numbers, called octets, can make up more than four trillion different addresses. Each of the four octets has a specific purpose. The first two groups generally refer to the country and type of network (classes). This number is a unique identifier in the world : together with the time and date, it can be used, for example, by the authorities, to know the place of origin of a connection.

In order for us to better understand IP,  we must first understand the TCP protocol. A network protocol is like a language, if two people are talking in different languages, neither will understand what the other means. A similar thing happens with computers: two computers that are physically connected by a network must “speak” the same language for one to understand the requirements of the other.

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The TCP protocol standardizes the exchange of information between computers and makes communication between them possible.  It is the most popular protocol today as it is the standard Internet protocol .

The TCP protocol contains the bases for the communication of computers within a network , but just as we when we want to talk to a person we have to find and identify him, the computers of a network also have to be located and identified. At this point enter the IP address. The IP address identifies a computer on a certain network. Through the IP address we know which network the computer is on and which is the computer. That is, verified through a unique number for that computer on that specific network.

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How does an IP address work and is managed?

IPs can be fixed or dynamic:  currently, fixed IPs are rare, even for a security issue since attacks are easier when the number is always the same.

The rotation of IP addresses (dynamic IP) works in the following way: a certain Internet access provider (eg Arnet), has X IP numbers to use. Every time a computer connects to the internet, the provider assigns it a random IP address, out of a number of available IP addresses.

The most used process for this dynamic IP distribution is the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). To access the URLs, or public IP addresses as we know (eg www.tecnologia-informatica.com),  there are DNS servers (Domain Name Server, in English), a database responsible for the translation of alphanumeric names to IP addresses, essential for the functioning of the Internet as you know it today.

There are IP addresses that, as a rule, are reserved for specific uses . The IP 0.0.0.0 is a standard network number; how the IP address 127.0.0.1 is used to test a local connection, during network troubleshooting.

IP address classes

The IP address consists of a 32-bit number that in practice we always see segmented into four groups of 8 bits each (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx). Each 8-bit segment ranges from 0-255 and is separated by a period.

This division of the IP number into segments makes it possible to classify IP addresses into 5 classes: A, B, C, D and Y.

Each kind of address allows a certain number of networks  and computers within these networks.

In  class “A” networks  the first 8 bits of the address are used to identify the network , while the other three segments of 8 bits each are used to identify the computers.

A class A IP address allows the existence of 126 networks and 16,777,214 computers  per network. This happens because IDs from “0” to “126” were reserved by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) for class A networks.

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Class A IP addresses

In class B networks  the first two segments of the address are used to identify the network  and the last two segments identify the computers within these networks.

A class B IP address allows the existence of 16,384 networks and 65,534 computers  per network. The ID for these networks starts with “128.0” and goes up to “191.255”.

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Class B IP addresses

Class C networks use the first three address segments as the network identifier  and only the last segment to identify the computer. A class C IP address allows for 2,097,152 networks and 254 computers  per network. The ID of this type of network begins with “192.0.1” and ends with “223.255.255”.

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Class C IP addresses

In class D networks, all segments are used to identify a network and their addresses range from “224.0.0.0” to “239.255.255.255” and  are reserved for multicast calls.

Class Y networks, as well as class D networks, use all segments as network identifiers  and their addresses start at “240.0.0.0” and go up to “255.255.255.255”. Class Y is reserved by the IANA for future use.

We must make some considerations about the addresses of class ID “127” that are reserved for loopback, that is, for internal tests in the networks.  Every computer equipped with a network adapter has a loopback address,  the address 127.0.0.1 which is only seen by itself and is used for internal testing.

Static IP and Dynamic IP

1. Static IP

A static (or fixed) IP is an IP number permanently assigned to a computer, that is, its IP address does not change,  except if said action was carried out manually. For example, there are cases of ADSL internet access providers, which assign a static IP to some of their clients.

Thus,  whenever a client is connected, it will use the same IP on the Internet. This practice is becoming less common among access providers, due to a number of factors, including security concerns.

2. dynamic IP

The dynamic IP, on the other hand,  is a number that is assigned to a computer when it connects to the network, but that changes each time the connection is established . For example, suppose you connected with your computer to the Internet today. When you connect tomorrow, you will be assigned another IP. To better understand, imagine the following situation: a company has 40 networked computers.

Using dynamic IPs, the company makes 40 IP addresses available for such computers. As no IP is fixed, when a computer “enters” the network, it is assigned an IP of those 40 that is not being used by any other computer. It is more or less how internet providers work. Every time you connect to the internet, your provider gives your computer a free IP.

The most used method for the distribution of dynamic IPs is the DHCP protocol (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). In the next few years, an improved IP address protocol, called IPv6 , will be put into operation  , access to see information about IPv6 by clicking on this link .

What is my ip? How to find my IP?

As we have seen above, the IP of our PC allows us to identify it within a network. That is why it is important to know it, since with this number we can undertake certain configurations and repairs that have to do with problems with the network or with the connection with other equipment on the same.

To understand this, the first thing we have to know is that there are two types of IP address:

  • Private IP
  • Public IP

The first thing we have to do before starting any type of configuration is to differentiate which of the two types of IP addresses we want to know.

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The first type, the private IP is the address that is used to identify each computer and peripheral within the local network. An example of this is when we connect to a router in an office or at home, we are assigned a private IP.

On the other hand, the public IP is the one held by computers and devices that are outside the local network. This means that the web pages and services offered by the Internet have public IPs. However, so that we can connect to them, our computer also has a public IP address, which offers us the possibility that these services and pages interact with our PC, that is, downloading or uploading files and others.

How to find out our public IP address

To know the public IP address of our PC, we can click on this link. To find out what our private IP is, we can continue reading.

How to find out our private IP address

Step 1

The first thing we have to do is click on the Networks icon located in the system tray, and then click on the option “Network and Shared Resources Center”.

Step 2

Next, click on “Change adapter settings”.

Step 3

We select the network card and with the right button of the mouse we click on it. Then we select the “Status” option .

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Step 4

Once the corresponding window appears, click on the “Details” button and look for the “IPv4 Address” line.

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The series of digits that we will find on the right is the private IP address of our computer.

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