Internet is a really large network. The current amount of interconnected networks, devices, servers, routers, data centers, etc., is massive. So it is the amount of information exchanged every day. If we could visualize all the data packets traveling worldwide every single second, the image could be really astonishing.
This constant transit and interaction of components for sure need order. Fortunately, the Internet’s creators took proper actions to avoid chaos, like developing the Internet protocol (IP) that was officially incorporated into the ARPANET (Internet’s ancestor) in 1983. The original version of such IP is exactly the IPv4 address.
The Internet protocol is a set of rules for communicating online. It’s in charge of ruling the format of the data moved across networks and the Internet. It also routes and addresses data packets to deliver them to their correct destination through the use of IP addresses.
What’s an IP address?
An IP address is an identifier for most of the components involved in a network. Devices, your computer, laptop, smartphone, etc., will need a private IP address to connect to a private network. When you connect to the Internet, you receive a public (also called global) IP address supplied by an Internet service provider (ISP). Servers also have a public IP address to operate.
Through IP addresses, the Internet identifies participants (devices) involved in every communication. IP addresses also provide their location in the network and make machines accessible to communicate and exchange data.
IPv4 address – definition.
IPv4 address is the addressing method that IPv4 uses. It is a numerical string formed by four groups of numbers (between 0 and 254), divided by dots. Example: 188.8.131.52. It’s a 32-bit address.
IPv4 address is a connection-less protocol. Therefore it doesn’t need a previous arrangement between the endpoints (two) to operate. In other words, devices can send data to a recipient without checking its availability first.
IPv4 defines packets’ format, addresses, and routes data. A lot of data is communicated every second on the networks. IPv4 can detect if those data are too big for being transferred to their destination. Then another protocol can divide them into smaller pieces, easier to be transported. After the IP address of their destination will be written on every data packet. Their route will also be defined. And here, their travel through routers, nodes, etc., starts until they hit their destination.
Devices need IPv4 addresses to connect to a network and being allowed to use its resources. Via IPv4, devices also can be identified and located on a network.
No matter its age, IPv4 is still a very popular IP version. Its replacement is ready and working, the IPv6. But to make, the whole transition until we don’t use IPv4 anymore is taking time.
Pros of IPv4 address.
IPv4 addresses’ structure involves fewer numbers than the ones offered by the new version (IPv6). This reduces the margin of human errors during manual tasks.
Wider compatibility. Old and new systems support this version very well. Only new devices support IPv6.
Its topology is simpler and easier to use on networks.
Cons of IPv4 address.
IPv4 header allows a maximum of 60 bytes (typical 20). You can’t include many parameters.
There’s a shortage of IPv4 time ago. Due to this, the world is in transit to IPv6.
The still high demand for IPv4 and the lack of offer can drive you to pay a lot for it.
Many administrators still prefer IPv4, but the need for IP addresses grows massively every day. Soon we will have to adhere to the new protocol. Meanwhile, well-done IPv4!