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IP Address: Types, Versions, and History Explained
Updated · Aug 20, 2023
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There are nearly 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses that exist worldwide. They are assigned to different devices; every user has at least one. However, only a few web users understand it and its significance.
IP addresses generally fall into two main types: private and public. Each type has a specific nature and is designed to serve a particular purpose.
This article will discuss each type of IP address and how they work, so keep reading.
Types Of IP Addresses
An IP address is a specific address assigned to any device connected to the Internet. With it, devices from various networks can communicate with each other. It's also essential for data transfers to happen.
There are two types of IP addresses—private and public. Let’s take a closer look at each one below:
Private IP Addresses
A private IP address is a specific address for only one device. Every device connecting to a home's internet will have its own private IP.
For instance, if you have three devices connected to one Wi-Fi, each one will have a dedicated private IP.
Anything that can connect to your home network has an IP. This includes gadgets like Bluetooth speakers, printers, TVs, and more.
💡Did You Know: IP addresses have various functions. An IP address can transfer data and identify you and your devices. It also carries details about your geographical location and browsing activities.
Public IP Addresses
A public IP address is also called a primary address. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you this IP address through your router.
It is the primary address associated with every gadget you use. Thus, every device connected to your router will have the same IP address.
For instance, if you connect a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop to the same Wi-Fi, they will all have the same public IP.
Public IP addresses are classified into two: Dynamic and Static.
Dynamic IP addresses change every time. This address is temporary and is only assigned to a device whenever it comes online.
Meanwhile, a static IP address is unchangeable. It's assigned only once and can stay the same for years.
Public vs Private IP Address
Versions of IP Addresses
There are two known versions of the IP address: IPv4 and IPv6. Both versions allow data exchange and online networking.
However, they differ in identifying devices and also include different features. Find out more about the versions below:
IPv4 is the first version of IP addresses, and the first ones were launched as early as 1981. The addresses in this version come in a numerical dot-decimal notation.
This version helps identify devices on a network through a specific addressing system. It's the most common version of an IP address today.
Here's an example of an IPv4 address: 192.168.5.18
This IP version works with a 32-bit address scheme. As a result, it can store 2^32 addresses, which equates to 4,294,967,296 addresses.
With this version, the addresses need reusing and masking since they can't accommodate the growing number of devices.
👍Helpful Article: If your IP address is temporarily blocked due to multiple log-ins, country bans, rule violations, suspicious operations, and cookie problems, there are various ways to recover from it. The reasons include:
IPv6 is the newest version of IP addresses. It started in early 1994 as an initiative to extend the function of IPv4.
The design improvements and developments led to a more sophisticated and feature-packed IP. The addresses in this version come in alphanumeric hexadecimal notation.
Here's an example of an IPv6 address: 50b2:6400:0000:0000:6c3a:b17d:000:10a9
This IP version works with a 128-bit address space, accommodating an estimated 340 undecillion addresses. With IPv6, it is possible to allot a unique IP address to every device.
Evolution of IP Addresses
IP addresses have undergone development since they started. From simple functions, they now hold most of our sensitive data.
Here's a timeline showing the start of IP addresses and how the versions developed until today:
The early 1970s - The beginning of IP addresses
The first IP addresses started even before the Internet. It worked as an inter-network protocol rather than a local network protocol.
The first IP attempted to delegate the host to another outside the local network.
Mid 1970s - The first IPs worked side by side with TCP
Before the IPs started, TCP handled both datagram transmission and routing. As it expanded, the functions split into TCP and IP.
The IP addresses hosted and placed data into datagrams for transmission. It also routed the datagrams from source to destination.
Meanwhile, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) kept track of data segments. These refer to units of data divided for efficient routing.
Late 1970s - The experiment of IPv5
Prior to IPv4 becoming public, IPv5 was known as ST. It is also called the Internet Stream Protocol.
Generally, IPv5 never existed and was never developed. It was only for experiments. The testers designed it for video and voice transmission.
The early 1980s - IPv4's release to the public
By 1980, IPv4 had its first formal standard version. It became available for public use. However, only a few people were aware of it since the Internet had yet to become widespread.
Later on, the US Department of Defense used IPv4 for all military computer networking.
Mid-1980s - IPv4 started working for the internet
Around 1983, the TCP/IP protocols became more stable. It replaced NCP on the ARPANET, the first internet.
By 1985, the Internet Advisory Board had held a workshop to propose the commercial use of IPv4. This was the start of the increase in IP addresses.
1990s - The allocation of IP addresses
From 1993 to 1998, InterNIC began allocating IP addresses and domain names. As such, every continent and region had its share of IPs.
By 1998, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had started. This helped the US government maintain the internet's core infrastructure.
Late 1990s - The beginning of IPv6
By the end of 1998, the IETF had made IPv6 a draft standard. This version aims to address the issue of IPv4 addresses running out.
A year later, IPv6 was ready. The deployment started.
2017 - Ratification of IPv6 as an Internet Standard
IPv4 remains the most commonly-used IP address. Nevertheless, IPv6 got approved as the following Internet Standard IP.
From here, programs started with the goal of migrating from IPv4 to IPv6.
2022 to Future - Completion of Migration to IPV6
In 2022, all government organizations planned to complete the transition to IPv6.
This also applies to every service provider's new retail wireline connections. They must be suitable to carry IPv6 traffic—either with dual-stack or by nature.
Threats To Your IP Address
holds a lot of sensitive information. Thus, if anyone gets a hold of your IP address, many possible threats can happen to you.
Here are some of them:
- Expose your address
An IP address does not show your exact address, but it can indicate what city you're in. If a cybercriminal knows his way around, he may be able to find your address.
- Run a DoS attack
If someone gets your IP address, they can launch a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on you. This will prevent you from accessing online accounts, sites, and emails.
- Expose personal information
Another threat is that when your IP gets into the hands of criminals, they can expose your personal information. This identity theft tactic involves your personally identifiable information.
Details that are most vulnerable to attacks like this are phone numbers, mailing addresses, and Social Security numbers.
- Being framed for a crime
IP addresses can help hackers impersonate you. They can route their illicit activity to your address, framing you for the crimes they committed online.
All these threats are possible because you always use your IP address for every online task. The only way to get around these problems is to know how to hide your IP address.
IP addresses form an essential part of our online activities. Each type of IP address enables devices to communicate with one another. The only difference between each type is its nature and purpose.
As valuable and essential as they are, IP addresses also hold sensitive information. As such, you can be cautious and stay safe online without exposing your IP address to anyone.
How many IP addresses are there?
Currently, there are 4,294,967,296 IP addresses in IPv4. In version 6 or IPv6, there are around 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 IP addresses.
What is the most common IP?
The most common IP is IPv4. Around 94% of internet traffic is carried over this IP address version.
What is the IP address of Facebook?
Facebook uses several IP addresses. Some of the common ones are [22.214.171.124] to [126.96.36.199], [188.8.131.52] to [184.108.40.206], and [220.127.116.11] to [18.104.22.168].
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