More Understanding About IP Address

WHAT IS AN IP ADDRESS?

IP Address Image

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) is a unique number that is assigned to each computer or device that is connected to computer network. An IP address allows each computer (or other digital device) to communicate over the network. There are two versions of the Internet Protocol are in use today IPv4 and IPv 6 addresses.

IPv4 Address

IPv4 address is the most commonly used today, it consists of 32 bits which is canonically represented in dot-decimal notation, which consists of four decimal numbers, each ranging from 0 to 255 and separated by dots. IPv4 supports a maximum of approximately 4.3 billion unique addresses.

Example: 69.147.125.65

IPv6 Address

The rapid exhaustion of IPv4 address space, IPv6 is introduced in 1995 as the next generation of the Internet Protocol which is intended to replace IPv4 on the Internet. The address size was increased from 32 to 128 bits or 16 octets.

IPv6 addresses have been used in modern desktop and enterprise server operating systems, but it is not yet widely deployed in other devices such as home networking routers, voice over IP (VoIP) and multimedia equipment and network peripherals. IPv6 supports a maximum of 2 to the power of 128 unique addresses (2128 addresses = 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses).

Example: 2001:0db8:ff00:0042:8329

IPV4 VS. IPV6

IPv4 is used by most network devices. However, IPv4 is running out soon as more and more computers access the Internet. IPv4 has limits of 4,294,967,296 unique IP addresses only. IPv6 was published as working standard in 1998 by IETF to replace IPv4. The estimated numbers of IPv6 is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 or 2128 unique IP addresses.

Below table shows some highlights of the difference between IPv4 and IPv6.

IPv4

IPv6

IP addresses are 32 bits (4 bits) in length.

IP addresses are 128 bits (16 bytes) in length.

Pointer resource records in the IN-ADDR.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv4 addresses to host names.

Pointer resource records in the IP6.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv6 addresses to host names.

IPSec is optional and can be supported externally.

Support IPSec.

Header does not identify packet flow for QoS handling by router.

Header contains Flow Label field, which Identifies packet flow for QoS handling by router.

Header includes a checksum.

Header does not include a checksum.

Header includes options.

Optional data is supported as extension header.

Routers and sending host support packet fragmentation.

Routers do not support packet fragmentation. Sending host fragments packets.

Uses ARP to resolve IP to MAC address.

Uses MNS (Multicast Neighbor Solicitation) to resolve IP address to MAC address.

IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) manages membership in local subnet groups.

MLD (Multicast Listener Discovery) messages manage membership in local subnet groups.

Uses broadcast addresses to send traffic to all nodes on a subnet.

Uses link-local scope all-node multicast for sending traffic.

It is needed to configure manually or through DHCP.

It does not require any manual configuration or DHCP.

It supports a 576-byte packet size (possibly fragmented).

It supports a 1280-byte packet size (without fragmentation).

STATIC IP ADDRESS VS. DYNAMIC IP ADDRESS

When your computer connect to the internet, it will be assigned an IP from your internet service provider (ISP). And the IP address can be static or dynamic.

Static IP address does not change while dynamic IP address changes each time the computer accesses the Internet. Each one has its own advantage and way of uses. Let us find out in the discussion below.

Static IP Address

When a your computer is assigned a static IP address, it does not change. Static IP is more reliable for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), hosting gaming website, playing Play Station or X-Box game, or using Virtual Private Network for secure access to files or documents from your company networks. If you use your computer as a server, static IP address gives you faster way to download and upload files.

In case you use static IP address for hosting a website, this mean you are not sharing your IP with another company who might send out SPAM emails and not only their site will be shut down but also get your IP address into blacklists. For security risk, static IP address is easier for data mining companies to track data. For cost reason, static IP address is less cost effective than dynamic IP address.

Dynamic IP Address

Dynamic IP Address is temporary and assigned each time the computer accesses the Internet. It took from a pool of IP addresses that are shared among many computers. If you use dynamic IP address, your computer is assigned to a new IP address every time you access the Internet, this mean less security risk than static IP address. Since there is a limited of static IP address, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use their assigned IP address for sharing among their subscribers. This can help them save the costs and serve more subscribers. It is cost effective than static IP address. It is also easier to use because there is automatic network configuration.

However, dynamic IP address is less reliable for VoIP, VPN, playing online games, or hosting game website because it may cause some disconnections while you are playing game or on VoIP.