IP Address Tutorial For Beginners [IPV4 and IPV6 Protocols]

IP Address Tutorial For Beginners

In this IP address tutorial, you will learn about all IP address concepts along with IPv4 an IPv6 protocols.

What an IP address?

An IP address is a unique address that identifies every device on a computer network. For example, it could be a 32-bit IPV4 address or a 128-bit IVP6 address.

The following image shows the IPV4 & IPV6 formats.

IPv4 and IPV6 addressess

Lets look at IPV4 and IPV6 addressing in detail.

Internet Protocol version 4 (IPV4 Addressing)

IPV4 addresses range from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255. It is a total of 4294967296 IP addresses (~4.3 billion). It is divided in to five classes.

IP Address Classes

IP ClassRange
A0.0.0.0 – 127.255.255.255
B128.0.0.0 – 191.255.255.255
C192.0.0.0 – 223.255.255.255
D224.0.0.0 – 239.255.255.255
E240.0.0.0 – 255.255.255.255 

0.0.0.0 to 0.255.255.255, that is 0.0.0.0/8, was reserved for device auto-configuration, before DHCP. Currently, only 0.0.0.0 is used for configuration, and the rest is not used anywhere. Ideally, 0.0.0.0 address means “this host on this network.”

When the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) realized that 4.3 billion IPV4 addresses wouldn’t be enough to accommodate future internet-connected devices. So it reserved a few IP ranges for the private network (non-internet facing IP addresses). As a result, organizations can re-use to create their private network, and the private networks can connect to the internet via NAT-enabled devices. Check out the NAT tutorial to understand more.

Private IP Ranges

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)’s decided on the following ranges as private IP addresses.

  1. Class A – 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255
  2. Class B – 169.254.0.0 to 169.254.255.255 (For Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA))
  3. Class B – 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255
  4. Class C – 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255

Private address are extended to next generate IPV6 address space as well.

IPV4 Shared Address Space

100.64.0.0/10 is the shared address used by ISPs that implement carrier-grade NAT. Meaning all ISPs can use this address space.

LoopBack Addresses

 127.0.0.1 to 127.255.255.255 are known as loopback adresses. It is commonly knows as network testing addresses

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPV6 Addressing)

IPV6 is the latest Internet Protocol. An IPV6 address looks like 1050:0000:0000:0000:0005:0600:300c:326. It contains eight octets with sixteen bits each. The total number of IPV6 addresses is 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses.

IPV6 fc00::/7 block is reserved for private network. It is known as Unique local address.

Why do we need IPV6 Addressing?

During the 1980s, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) realized that 4.3 billion IPV4 addresses wouldn’t be enough due to the growing number of connected internet devices, as each device would need a unique IP address. So in 1998, IPV6 was created to accommodate 340 trillion trillion trillion IP addresses.

IPV6 Rollout Status

IPv6 officially started deployment on 6 June 2012. The following graph from google shows the IPV6 adoption statistics. At the time of writing this guide, global IPV6 adoption is at 37%.

image 10

IP Address FAQs

How to Purchase a Static Public IP Address?

You can purchase public IP ranges from RIR(regional Internet registry) and own them for a specific period. You can also buy it through your Internet Service provider.

Who owns the Public IP Addresses?

Public IP addresses are maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and regional Internet registry (RIR). There are five RIRs across globe. RIRs are responsible for assigning IPs to local registries, ISPs and users. Once you purchase the IP, you will be the owner of it. For example, Amazon owns millions of public IP addresses purchased from RIRs.

Do DevOps engineers need to Know IP addressing Concepts?

Yes. DevOps engineers might have to deal with CIDR rages and public and private IP addresses when working with cloud environments. So a DevOps engineer needs to know IP address concepts.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned all the essential concepts related to IP addresses. We also looked at two important protocols. IPV4 and IPV6.

It is a fundamental concept every DevOps engineer should know. When you work with cloud networking, understanding IPV4 and IPV6 is a must.

Also, If you are starting your cloud & DevOps journey, check out the – how to become a DevOps engineer guide.

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