What Are Ip Addresses and How Do They Work?

We hear them all the time, especially in movies that involve computer technology. Directors and scriptwriters throw it around regularly. Things like, “I reroute your IP address to trace your location”, “he is using a ghost server and latching onto different IP for only a short amount of time” and so on.

Though, seriously, what is an IP address? Explaining them is easy and hard at the same time, but for the sake of this article, I would not go full “Mr. Robot” with the terminologies.

Ip address 192 168

The general meaning of IP addresses

In layman terms, you can say that an IP address is the address of your computers or whatever electronic devices you are using. To be precise, they are the network addresses so that data, emails, website information, and other internet contents know how to reach your devices. This digital address informs you that you are connected to a largenetwork grid on the internet.

What does it look like?

IPv4

This is basically what an IP address looks like. Especially this is the structure of an IPv4 address. Every machine running on the network needs to have this unique number. This is the part where I might have to get a bit technical to explain the meaning of the structure.

Network part

The numbers for this part are the unique set of numbers assigned to your machine. It is also an indication of a type of network attached to your devices. Essentially it is your digital street name.

Host part

This is also another set unique number assigned to your device. If the network part is the digital street of your phone, then the host part is the digital street number.

Is there a limit to these addresses?

At first glance, a set of nine digit numbers might seem to be infinitely large, but sadly, it is not. Well, they do amount to about four billion sets of unique numbers, but here is the scary part. It did run out. That’s how many devices currently running in our world that even 4 billion sets of unique numbers are not enough to house them all.

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Let me tell you an interesting story which you might not have known. Back in 2011, Microsoft had to spend seven million dollars to purchase 666,624 IPv4 Addresses from a company that was going bankrupt.

IPv6

Well, there has been a solution around for this scarce IP address resources problem, and that is the IPv6. These are backup IP addresses and are theorized never to run out.

Now here is the part where I don’t think I should get into too many details because it gets technical and if you are not an IT person, you might not know what it means whatsoever. Though if you were, then I am not sure why and how you found yourself here reading this article? Regardless, I would still summarise the main points of what an IPv6 does and how it is different from its IPv4.

Differences between IPv4 and IPv6

As illustrated above, IPv6 addresses are separated using colons and written with hexadecimal digits. That’s it, there isn’t that much difference between the two; at least the other differences are sort of hard to explain without using more technical terms so let’s just leave it like that. However, it is clear that with a structure like that, IPv6 addresses are much closer to infinity than IPv4.

Benefits of IPv6

  • Auto-configuration
  • Simpler Header format
  • Efficient and simplified routing
  • Versatile options and extensions
  • Better administration

Please note that I have left out some main benefits with terms too “tech savvy” for non-IT readers to understand.

The interesting part – IP address reroute

Scroll back up to IPv4 part and notice there are a network part and host part just in case you forgot. There is another part, and that is the exciting part (pun intended). Remember those scene in movies where you see IT people typing fast and saying things like they are rerouting IP addresses to hide their location or whatever? In reality, it is not that hard, and you don’t have to type that fast. Here is basically how it is actually and mostly done in the real world (again, the simplified version):

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Step 1: Delete the cookies on your browser

Step 2: Look for a proxy server on any search engine (i.e., Google, Yahoo, etc)

Step 3: Select whichever but preferably one with high anonymity

Step 4: Jot down the selected IP address and proxy server

Step 5: Open your browser and head to internet option which is usually located in the setting

Step 6: Select the connections tab and click on Add

Step 7: Select options “use a proxy server for your LAN”

Step 8: Then look for a text box, insert the IP address and server you jot down earlier

Step 9: Click ok to save the setting.

This is basically how it is done. Though there are people with much higher IT background might have done it differently, but basically, this is how it is generally done. Also, I probably do not have IT background as strong as the characters being played in those movies, but I am inclined to believe we do not type IP addresses that fast without making at least 28 mistakes.

Especially when you are trying to mask your location, it is probably faster to just copy and paste, don’t you think? Then again, it is to look cool on the screen. According to https://192-168-i-i.com/192-168-0-1/

Conclusion

Congratulation, you have now officially known more about IP addresses than probably 80% of the population. Alright, that was perhaps not very statistically correct, but it is true that apart from IT people, not many people out there even know IP addresses exist even though they glue their heads to their phones. I hope you learned something from this article, and off you go boasting to your friends with your newly found computer science knowledge.



Author: Technology Sage More Articles
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