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IP Address

Server cables at a busy computer networkAn IP, or Internet Protocol address tells a server where a user is in the world, sometimes as accurately as the local ZIP code.

Your credit card company, for example, can use this information to determine whether or not someone is trying to use your card fraudulently. If the IP address of the person using your card is outside your normal range, the transaction may be declined, and/or you may receive a phone call alerting you to possible identity theft.

Many people will use an IP proxy to hide their true location, sometimes out of paranoia, other times to cover their tracks.

The IP address serves three critical functions within the network: it provides a name for your device, an address for the device’s location within the network (not necessarily the physical address, as demonstrated by the use of a proxy), and a means through which the device and the network can communicate.

There are two types of IP addresses currently in use worldwide.

32-bit IPv4 is the format most people are familiar with, which is a binary code represented in dot-decimal notation:

IPv6 is a 128-bit IP format which was introduced in 1995. IPv6 addresses are composed of 16 octets (sets of 8 bits) commonly represented in hexadecimal notation.

As the number of devices and networks continues exponential growth, it is expected a new IP addressing system will need to be developed at some point in the foreseeable future.


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