What is an IP address? Maybe you’ve ever asked yourself this question. Do not worry more, we want to get you out of any doubt in this article. IP Address (Internet Protocol) is an identification number that defines you within a network, whether it is internal (a network of a home, office, business) or external, facing the Internet.
We should not confuse with the Mac address. The MAC address is the identifying address of a computer network card. The IP address is the “enrollment” that we choose (or are assigned) within a network. Basically, we are talking about a sequence of 4 groups of 3 numbers each that follow a logical sequence.
The IP address of a team does not have to be always the same. This may vary depending on the needs of the network environment in which we find ourselves. For example, within an internal network, we can assign the router the task of “distributing” the IP addresses to the different computers that connect to your network. We would then be using the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) protocol.
How do IP Address Work?
The router would be responsible for assigning IPs within the range we indicate to the different devices that are connected. This will make it impossible for two computers to have the same IP because of confusion. But it will also make every time a computer connects to the network has a different IP, so it will be impossible to maintain fixed connections between several computers (for example to shared folders, printers, etc …) since each time you connect will have a different IP address.
For this, we will need to have a static IP address configured. We will be the ones who will assign an IP address to each computer that we connect to the network, taking special care to keep them within the same range and not duplicating them so that they do not conflict. Something similar happens on the Internet.
In our home, when connected to the Internet, we have an IP address that identifies us. We can know this address by simply visiting the hundreds of web pages that report the external IP that we have. One of the best known (and easiest to remember) is Whatismyip.com. This page will show us our IP address on the Internet, and this can be Static or Dynamic IP Address.
As a general rule, unless you hire a specific service, it is usual for your Internet provider to provide you with a dynamic IP, which will change without knowing when you need it. Depending on the provider, we can be a few days, weeks or even months with the same IP until they decide to change it. If you intend to access your computer from the outside, you should know this IP and be aware of if they change it.
So any computer that is on the network, is searched by the IP address, which is your license plate. Internet Providers have a certain number of IPs to use. When generating dynamic IP’s, as you connect to the Internet, they make sure they are always “rotating” and that no IP is monopolized by a single computer that is not always connected to the network.
Fundamentals Of The IP Address: Is It Possible To Hide it?
As we said at the beginning, the IP address is formed by a sequence of 4 groups of three numbers. But being exact, the IP address is formed by a 32-bit number segmented into groups of 8 bits (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx). This segmentation allows us to use five different types of networks according to the needs we have. These networks are called A, B, C, D, and Y. Depending on the network that we are using, it divides the IP address differently.
- Type A networks: The first 8 bits of the address are used to identify the network, while the other three segments of 8 bits each are used to identify the computers. (xxx.yyy.yyy.yyy) This allows us to create up to 126 different networks and have a maximum of 16,777,214 computers connected by a network.
- Type B networks: This type of network uses two groups of 8 bits to identify the network, while the remaining two are used to identify the computer (xxx.xxx.yyy.yyy). This allows us to create a larger number of networks but less equipment connected by the network (16,384 networks and 65,534 computers).
- Type C networks: It uses the first three groups of 8 bits as the network identifier and the remaining 8 bits as equipment identifier (xxx.xxx.xxx.yyy). This makes us have more different networks yet, but fewer computers per network. (2,097,152 networks and 254 computers per network)
- Type D networks: In this network, all 8-bit segments are used to identify the network, their IP addresses range from “220.127.116.11” to “18.104.22.168”. This type of networks are used in multicast (broadcast networks)
- Type Y networks: This type of network is reserved by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) for future use.
You will wonder if it is possible to hide the IP address of your computer when you browse the Internet. Any browser that is used today has the option of browsing in private mode, which partially hides the IP address and leaves no records. But it is not infallible, there are much more reliable methods.
A search in any search engine (allow me the redundancy) of the Internet, will make us find dozens of software available for it. The Tor project is a browser that allows us to circulate through the Internet anonymously, it does not reveal the IP address of our team every time we connect to a computer on the Internet (we visit a Web page).
There are more complex and reliable ways to do it, but for this, we will need advanced knowledge of networks. What we will do is navigate through them and when an Internet team we connect to asks for our IP, we will really be giving the proxy server address, which is not ours.