If you are a computer user, you must be familiar with the term IP address. It consists of a unique set of numbers and is used to identify a device in any computer network where the Internet Protocol is used for communication. This IP address helps pinpoint your device among the millions of other devices on the web and forms the basis of all communication. For example, to send someone a letter, you need their postal address. Similarly, your device requires the IP of the other device you want to connect with.

An IP address is made up of four numbers, which further consists of one to three digits. The range for these four numbers is between 0 and 255 and they are separated from one another by a solitary dot.

IP Address Types

There are two types of IP address,

  1. Static IP Address

As signified by its name, a static IP never changes although it can be altered as part of routine network administration. A static IP acts as your permanent address on the internet and offers a straightforward and trustworthy way to communicate. Using the static IP, you can procure a lot of information about a device. This includes city, region, country and the continent where the device is located, the ISP through which the device connects to the internet and even non-technical bits like the exact longitude and latitude of the device’s location.

If you have an IP address with you and would like to find out details about it, try a website that offers IP lookout services.

  1. Dynamic IP Address

As their name indicates, dynamic IP addresses keep changing. They are temporary and are allocated to a device every time it connects to the web. Dynamic IPs trace their origin to a collection of IP addresses that are shared across many computers. Moreover, since there is a limit to the amount of static IP addresses that are available for use, ISPs reserve a part of their pool of assigned addresses so that they can be shared among their customers. Dynamic IP addresses also score higher than static IPs when it comes to security as they are much harder to track.

If you want to find the dynamic IP assigned to your device, you can simply perform a Google search for the term ‘what is my IP address?’. And since this is a dynamic address, expect the search to throw up a different IP every time you log on to the internet.

IPv4 & IPv6

There are two versions of the IP address that are currently in use. These are IP version 4 (IPv4) and IP version 6 (IPv6).

IP Version 4

This version of the Internet Protocol address was defined way back in 1981. It has remained more or less the same since then and could no longer keep up with increased demand for IP addresses. IPv4 uses a 32-bit IP address, which limits the number of IP addresses it can supply to 232, which equals 4,294,967,296. That is a shade over four billion.

IP Version 6

This is the newest version of the Internet Protocol. With more and more people using the internet every passing day, IPv4 has started showing its limitations. Created by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), IPv6 is envisioned to replace IPv4. And while the latter uses 32-bit address, IPv6 employs a 128-bit address. This enables the protocol to offer a considerably large number of IP addresses when compared to IPv4. The approximate figure is 3×1038, which equals 340 trillion trillion trillion.

Advantages of IPv6 over IPv4

  1. It offers better and more comprehensive connectivity.
  2. Has notably faster routing.
  3. Easier to administer.
  4. Better security for networks and applications.
  5. Better Anycast and Multicast abilities.
  6. More mobility features.
  7. Shares IPv4’s design principles, which makes transition smoother.

Although better than IPv4 in every parameter, adoption of IPv6 has been comparatively slower.

If you are wondering ‘what is the type of my IP address?’, you can follow the below steps as per the ecosystem your device runs on.

For Microsoft Windows 7, 8 & 10, you can run the ‘ipconfig’ command in the ‘Command Prompt’ box. In the information you are displayed, locate the ‘Ethernet Adapter Local Area Connection’ entry under which you can find the ‘IP Address’ and ‘Physical Address’.

For Mac OS X, access the ‘Network’ option from ‘System Preferences’. On the left side, you can find all your network connections listed. To know your Wi-Fi IP address, select ‘Wi-Fi’ and click on the ‘Advanced’ tab. Now click on the ‘TCP/IP’ option to know your IP address. For the IP address of your wired internet connection, tap the ‘Ethernet’ button and go to the ‘Advanced’ section. Here, you can find listed both types of your IP address.

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If you are a computer user, you must be familiar with the term IP address. It consists of a unique set of numbers and is used to identify a device in any computer network where the Internet Protocol is used for communication. This IP address helps pinpoint your device...