(also IP address, IP)
An Internet Protocol address, more commonly referred to simply as an IP address, is a unique numeric address that identifies a single device on a network.
A typical IPv4 address contains four numbers separated by dots. Each number is in the 0-255 range. An exemplary IP address might look like: 126.96.36.199.
See also: Internet Protocol, TCP/IP
IP addresses are essential for networks to work properly. They serve as device identifiers, allowing computers to communicate with each other.
IP address assignment can be static or dynamic:
IP addresses are mathematically produced and allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
There are two main types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.
IPv4 was introduced in the 1980s. At that time, no one knew that the internet would become so popular that everyone would have multiple devices connected to it.
The pool of IPv4 addresses is limited — about 4.3 billion identifiers can be distributed. This pool was fully utilized in 2019. For this reason, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed IPv6, a second type of IP address.
A typical IPv6 address contains not four but up to eight hexadecimal digits divided by colons. It looks similar to this: 2607:f8b0:4005:814::200e.
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