How it works
An IP address is a 32-bit (in IPv4 protocol) and 128-bit (in IPv6) number. Usually, an IP address is written as a set of four decimal numbers ranging from 0 to 255 which is the equivalent of four 8-bit numbers. These four 8-bit numbers are equal to 32-bits used in IPv4 (22.214.171.124). The Internet Protocol (IP) enables data transmission from a source to a destination using the TCP/IP network model. IP addresses are assigned during the configuration of routers and network devices.
There are two types of IP addresses:
- static IP addresses (permanent). They are assigned automatically when connecting to a network or are indicated in the settings;
- dynamic IP addresses. They are used for a limited amount of time and are automatically distributed between devices. The frequency of IP address changing depends on a certain situation.
An IP address consists of two parts. The first one is a network number and the second—a node number. If it’s a local network, an administrator chooses an address from specially created blocks of addresses. If a network is a part of the global Internet, Regional Internet Registry (RIR) or the Internet service provider assigns an identifier for it. RIR operates in Africa, North America, South America, South-East Asia, Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Different numbers comprising an IP address can refer to node and network numbers in different cases.
Allocation of IP Addresses
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers distributes autonomous system numbers and blocks of IP addresses among RIRs. Then RIRs send them to providers which assign autonomous system numbers and IP addresses to their customers.
The assigned IP address doesn’t depend on the user’s local IP address. As a router is always a part of several networks, every routing port works with an individual IP address. The endpoint can also belong to several IP networks. In this case, a device can have several IP addresses corresponding to the number of network connections. That’s why an IP address refers to a certain network connection and not to a separate router or a computer.