A simple definition of an IP Address is, an identity of a device which is connected to the computer network.
What Is An Internet protocol (IP)
Internet Protocol IP is a collection of guidelines that determine how the data should be routed over the internet and arrive at the right destination. Data delivered over the internet is broken down into small bits known as packets. The IP data is associated with all packets and it will assist routers to direct these packets to the determined destination. When the packets reach the other terminal, they are controlled differently based on the transport control used together with IP. TCP and UDP are the two frequently used transport protocols.
When IP works in combination with transmission control protocol (TCP), it is called TCP/IP. For instance, when you send an email using SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) from an email server, the message will be divided into several packets by the TCP layer present in that server. These packets are then numbered and forwarded to the IP layer for delivery. The IP layer delivered each packet to the targeted email server. The packets will take a different route each time when it is going to the same destination.
Packets reach in diverse order as opposed to the order they were delivered. The IP just has to send the message in the form of packets and it all depends on the TCP to reassemble them in the correct order to form the message. When it reaches the targeted location, the IP layer gives it to the TCP layer, which collects and reunites the packets to construct a message and give it to the email application where it appears in the inbox.
Being a connectionless protocol, Internet Protocol involves no constant connection between the two terminals of communication. Each packet transporting across the public internet is handled as an individual unit of information without any relation to other units of data. It all depends on the connection-oriented protocol i.e. TCP to put up the packets in the correct order as it keeps the details of the sequence of packets in a message.
What Is An IP Address?
An Internet protocol address or IP address is a sequence or series of numbers allotted to each computer, server, router, and almost anything linked to the internet, even websites. It is just like our normal address, telling the location of a system or device in the realm of the internet. IP addresses are employed in TCP/IP protocols to assist the communication of routers, devices, and servers with each other. If we talk about websites, the IP address is hidden by a URL so that it is easy for users to remember.
IPv4 vs. IPv6
Presently there are 2 versions of IP address that exist in the world of the internet i.e. IP version 4 i.e. IPv4 and IP version 6 i.e. IPv6. IP addresses are derived from the binary units and determine the transporting of data across the internet. IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long whereas IPv4 addresses are 32 bits in length.
The IPv4 was announced in 1983 and was first deployed in The ARPANET (an acronym for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), was the first wide-area packet-switching network with distributed control and one of the first networks to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. But there is only a limited possible combination of numbers just like automobile license plate numbers and they require reformatting from time to time. The available IPv4 addresses become less with time. The IPv6 addresses were introduced with more characters and more possible combinations. Still, the IPv6 address is not adopted completely until now and many devices and domains have IPv4 addresses.
IPv4 is the most commonly used version of IP address today but it doesn’t mean that IPv6 is not in use. IPv6 is also starting to be supported and used.IPv6 has the abilities of IPv4 and any other servers that can upkeep IPv6 packets can also be compatible with IPv4 packets.
IP Addresses can also be categorized in following groups as per network’s requirement and situation.
What is TCP/IP?
As we already discussed a bit about the transmission control protocol or TCP, it is the most common and widely used transport protocol which determines the process of receiving and sending the data in the form of packets. TCP/IP is used by a TCP header that is included in each data packet. Before sending the information, TCP creates a link with the receiver. TCP also makes sure that all the packets reach successfully in the correct order when the delivery of data initiates.
Using TCP, the receiver will confirm the receipt of each packet in the right order. Even if the receiving is not acknowledged, the dropped or mission data will be sent again to ensure 100 percent delivery of data.
Basically, TCP is created for reliability and not for speed. The process may take time as TCP has to ensure the arrival of each packet in a particular order. IP and TCP were originally created to be used in combination with each other and they are also called TCP/IP suite.However, IP can also be used with other transport protocols.
What is UDP/IP?
UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol which is another well-known and commonly used transport protocol. When compared to TCP, it comes out to be a fast protocol but not as reliable as TCP. Using UDP, you will not be 100 percent sure that all the packets are successfully delivered and in the correct order. Also, it does not create a link before starting or receiving messages.
The UDP/IP combination is commonly used for streaming videos and audios because in these cases, the threat of packets missing outweighs the requirements to keep the real-time broadcast. For example, when a consumer is streaming a video online, each pixel doesn’t have to be found on every aspect of the video. Instead, the consumer will play the video at regular speed and wait for every packet of data to be delivered.