This Internet protocol address, is almost as important as the postal address, for the communications on the Internet. It is a unique 32 bit numerical value that can identify a device or node over any network working with IP protocol.
The IP address is unique over a network avoiding any kind of IP conflict causing loss of data packets. The IP address is four 8-bit values separated by dots. For example 192.168.1.3 is a common address value. For a standalone machine there is default IP or localhost address – 127.0.0.1.
The IP address has two components – Network part & the machine part. The left network portion is common for all the machines on this network or LAN. And the right part identifies each individual machine.
For example if a LAN router’s IP address is 18.104.22.168 then the LAN can accommodate 256 machines only with IP addresses like 20.15.25.x
Under IPv4 with 32 bit address there are 4.3 billion addresses of which many are used. Some are beyond use as big companies bought them in large chunks. So IPv6 with 128 bits is planned to take over in future.
An independent organization ICANN – (International company for the assignment of names & numbers) deals with allocation of IP addresses to avoid any inconsistency or duplication. Before ICANN this was being done by InterNIC.
For a website too a unique domain name and an IP address is required. A Domain name server does the translation from the name to the IP address.
To get a new IP address one can buy it from IANA (Internet assigned numbers authority) or any hosting company who make sure that the IP address and website name are unique.
With the DHCP – (Dynamic host configuration protocol) the IP addresses from a pool are recycled to new users for each new session.
Last edited by Sanjay Bhatnagar : 01-02-2011 at 01:12 PM.