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What is an IP Address in Networking – All You Need to Know

In this article we will learn What is an IP Address in Networking, the types of Ip addresses, Classes of IP addresses, what is subnet mask in networking, what is default gateway in networking, what is the public IP address and private IP address, Private IP address ranges, etc.

So let’s start with “What is an IP Address in Networking?

What is an IP Address in Networking?

IP address or Internet Protocol address is a unique identification address. Just like a postal address a computer also needs a unique address to send a data packet from one to another and that unique address is called an IP address in networking.

The IP addressing system provides each device on a network with a unique identifier number.

A network address is an identifier for a node or network interface of a telecommunication network.

Network addresses are often designed to be unique across the network, although some networks allow for local or private addresses that may not be unique.

There are two types of network addresses,

  • Physical address or MAC
    MAC address is unique for each device and it can not be changed permanently. You can change it temporarily only but after system reboot it will again go back to its original address.
  • Logical address or IP address.
    IP addresses can be changed permanently.

What are the Types of IP Address in Networking?

There are two types of IP address in networking- Internet Protocol version4(IPv4) and Internet protocol version 6(IPv6)

What is the difference between ipv4 and ipv6?

difference between ipv4 and ipv6 IP address in networking is explained in the following chart,

IPv4IPv6
It has 32 bits of IPIt has 128 bits of IP
IPv4 is a numeric address and its binary bits are separated by a dot(.)IPv6 is an alphanumeric address and binary bits are separated by colon(:)
Number of headers 12Number of headers 8
Has checksum fieldsDoesn’t have checksum fields
It has five different classes of IP addresses (A-E)It has an unlimited number of IP addresses.
It needs to be configured manually or by DHCPAutoconfiguration capable
It allows packet fragmentation from routers and sending hosts.It allows packet fragmentation from sending hosts only.
difference between IPv4 and IPv6

IPV4 Octets:

Octets of IP address in networking

An IPv4 address consists of 4 octets 8 bits each. Each octet is separated by a dot(.) and is represented by decimal numbers. An octet can range from 00000000 to 11111111 binary numbers; or 0 to 255 decimal numbers.

Let’s discuss with a example as 172.16.254.1

Here, 172 = 10101100 = One byte =8 bits

16 = 00010000 = One byte = 8 bits

So, 172.16.254.1  in total, (4X8)= 32 bits

Classes of IPv4 Address in Networking:

IPv4 addresses are divided into 5 classes. Each class is represented by an English alphabet A to E. Size of the network and the number of hosts is different for each class. 

  • Class A, B, C are mainly used for large, medium and small networks respectively. 
  • Class D is mainly used for multicasting. 
  • Class E is reserved for research purposes.

One can differentiate the classes easily by looking at the first octet of any IP address. 

Classes of IP Address in NetworkingFirst Octet Range of IP address in Networking
A1-126
B128-191
C192-223
D224-239
E240-255
Classes & First Octet Range of IP address in Networking

Note: 127.0.0.0-127.255.255.255 falls under APIPA(Automatic Private IP Addressing) range.

Network ID vs Host ID:

A network ID specifies which class and network the IP address belongs to and the host id refers to the devices which belong to the same network. Let me explain with an example,

192.168.216.1

This is a class C Ip address. For class C there are 3 network id. We will discuss this later on.

So, 192.168.216 is the network ID and 1 is the host part. According to the above table, 192-223 lie under class C. So the device with 192.168.216.1 IP belongs to the 192.168.216 network and 1 refers to the device. We can add 254 devices in total to this network as it is a class C network. 

IP address in networking- Network ID and Host ID

So, we can say 192.168.216.n is a network where n= 0 to 255. We can not use 0 and 255 as they are network addresses and broadcast addresses.

What is Subnetting?

Subnetting is a method of dividing a network into smaller parts. It increases the routing efficiency and also makes the network more secure. It also helps to reduce the size of routing tables that are stored in routers.

What is a Subnet Mask?

A subnet mask is a 32-bit mask that helps to hide the network ID from the host part. It is mostly used for security purposes. It also helps to identify the network part and the host part of an IP address in a computer network.

Ex: IP= 192.168.216.1 and subnet mask= 255.255.255.0

What are public IP and Private IP?

Public IP= A public IP is an address that is assigned to your network by the ISP. Public IPs are only used by ISPs.

Private IP: A private IP is an address used in network devices. Private IP addresses are untracked and non-restricted.

Ipv4 Private IP Ranges:

Class A Private IP ranges– 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255

Class B Private IP ranges– 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255

Class C Private IP ranges– 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255

Public IP address range: Any IP address which is not included in the private IP range falls under the Public IP range.

What is the Default gateway in Networking?

A default gateway is a node that allows a seamless connection between two different networks. Using the default gateway two computers from different networks can connect with each other.

Hope this article helps you to know more about IP addressin networking. Please share your valuable feedback in the comment section below.

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