Computer networking relies heavily on IP addresses, which play a crucial role in the transmission and reception of data across the internet. Every device that connects to the internet is assigned an IP address, which means there are billions of them. Today, we’ll talk about IP addresses, how they function, static vs dynamic IP, and other topics.
We’ll talk about:
- What is an IP address, and what does it mean?
- What is the purpose of an IP address?
- Static IP addresses
- Dynamic IP addresses
- Dynamic IP vs. Static IP
- Conclusions and next actions
What is an IP address, and what does it mean?
An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a unique identification assigned to each device connected to a TCP/IP network. The Internet Protocol (IP) is a set of rules that define how data should be sent across the internet or across local networks. IP addresses allow devices to be identified and communicate with one another.
IP addresses are kept as numbers inside. We may use words to identify distinct servers on the internet, such as an application, server, or website, thanks to the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS looks up a domain’s IP address and returns it to our network device when we type a URL into our search box. IP addresses are divided into two types: IPv4 and IPv6.
IP addresses are four-digit sequences separated by spaces. An IP address might look something like this: 22.214.171.124. They’re created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to aid in the security and accessibility of the internet.
IP addresses can be compared to physical addresses. With friends and family, we can exchange addresses. These addresses provide us with a location where we may contact with friends and family through various communication techniques such as birthday cards, letters, and more.
What is the purpose of an IP address?
The Internet Protocol is used by all devices to communicate with one another (IP). The following is how it works:
Our devices must first connect to a network that is connected to the internet before they can access the internet. This network provides us with internet access. Our Internet Service Provider, for example, will most likely be the network we use at home (ISP). After that, our ISP will provide our device an IP address. Our internet activity will be routed through the ISP and then returned to us using the IP address we have been assigned.
Our IP address from our home network does not follow us when we leave the house and take our personal device with us. Let’s pretend we’re staying in a hotel. We’ll most likely connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network when we need to access the internet. We’ve been given a temporary IP address because we’re on a new network. The hotel’s ISP has provided us this temporary IP address.
Is it possible for our IP addresses to change? Yes, they certainly can! Our IP address may change if we turn off our modem or router. We can also modify our IP address by contacting our ISP. One of the reasons DNS is so important is because of this. We can directly inform our DNS server instead of informing others when our IP address changes. This means that any other device that communicates with the DNS server will receive the new IP address’s updated information.
Static IP addresses
An IP address that does not change is known as a static IP address. Unless our network architecture changes or our devices go offline, our static IP addresses normally stay the same. Servers and other key networking devices often have static IP addresses. They’re common in businesses since they keep the addresses of the devices linked to them consistent. They are also effective for remote access solutions.
An Internet service provider (ISP) assigns a device a static IP address. Static IP addresses typically increase the cost of your internet service.
Dynamic IP addresses
A dynamic IP address is one that can change on a regular basis. A huge number of dynamic IP addresses will be purchased by an ISP and assigned to their customers’ devices. IP addresses that are assigned dynamically are frequently reassigned. Reassigning IP addresses allows internet service providers to save money while also increasing security. It also implies that if we leave on vacation or relocate to a new area, they won’t have to spend time reestablishing network connections.
Consumer electronics for personal use are more likely to use dynamic IP addresses. Our ISP’s Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers assign a device a dynamic IP address. To assign addresses to devices, the DHCP server commonly employs network routers.
Dynamic IP vs. Static IP
When it comes to choosing between a static and dynamic IP address, there isn’t always a definite answer. It’s crucial to think about your connection environment when deciding between the two. Static IP addresses, on the other hand, are preferable for corporations, whilst dynamic IP numbers are excellent for personal or residential networks.
Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of both static and dynamic IP addresses:
Static IP addresses
- Remote access: Using a Virtual Private Network and static IP addresses, we may work from anywhere (VPN).
- Server hosting: Static IP addresses make it simple for others to find us via DNS.
- DNS support: DNS servers are easier to manage with a static IP address.
- Our geolocation services are more accurate since we use static IP addresses. This is due to the fact that our services will match the IP address to the physical location of the device.
- Static IP addresses are more trustworthy since they are fixed, resulting in a more stable connection.
- A static IP address can make finding specific devices on a network much easier.
- Concerns about security: With a static IP address, anyone with the right tools may figure out where our devices are. VPNs can assist you with this.
- Static IP addresses are more expensive than dynamic IP addresses. ISPs usually charge more for them.
Dynamic IP addresses
- Simple configuration: DHCP servers issue IP addresses to our devices automatically, so we don’t have to worry about it.
- Cost: Typically, dynamic IP addresses are less expensive than static IP addresses.
- IP addresses can be reused indefinitely using dynamic IP addresses. Our network or router can automatically configure new dynamic IP addresses for our devices whenever they require one.
- Security: By using dynamic IP addresses, potential attackers will have a harder time locating our networked equipment. This is due to the fact that dynamic IP addresses change frequently, making it difficult to monitor a device. This aids in both physical and online safety. Using a VPN can also help us improve our security.
- DNS compatibility: Using a dynamic IP address to host an email server, for example, may be tricky because DNS does not operate well with dynamic IP addresses. We could utilize a dynamic DNS provider, but they’re usually quite pricey.
- Remote connectivity: Using a dynamic IP address will be tough if we don’t have the right remote access software. This is something that a VPN can help with.
- Increased downtime: Our ISP may be unable to issue us a dynamic IP address at times. This may cause our internet connection to slow down.
- Inaccurate geolocation: Because our IP address may not match our physical location, dynamic IP addresses may have an impact on our geolocation services.
Conclusions and next actions
Today, we looked at IP addresses in further detail and explained what they are and how they function. IP addresses are crucial in computing networking since they allow our devices to communicate with one another properly. The two types of IP addresses are static and dynamic IP addresses, which serve various functions. Static IP addresses are thought to be preferable for corporations, whereas dynamic IP addresses are better for personal usage.
Today we learned a lot, but there’s still a lot more to discover! The following are some suggested topics to discuss next:
- ▪ DNS (Domain Name System) servers
- ▪ Network addresses
- ▪ Firewalls
- ▪ Routing in IP
Check out Hong Kong Coding Club’s various STEM courses to get started on these and other concepts. They include network principles, Python socket programming, command-line tools, and much more. You’ll have a better understanding of computer networking fundamentals at the end.
Enjoy your learning journey!