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IP address
Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2004 

An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For example, 1.160.10.240 could be an IP address.

Within an isolated network, you can assign IP addresses at random as long as each one is unique. However, connecting a private network to the Internet requires using registered IP addresses (called Internet addresses) to avoid duplicates.

The four numbers in an IP address are used in different ways to identify a particular network and a host on that network. Four regional Internet registries -- ARIN, RIPE NCC, LACNIC and APNIC -- assign Internet addresses from the following three classes.

  • Class A - supports 16 million hosts on each of 126 networks
  • Class B - supports 65,000 hosts on each of 16,000 networks
  • Class C - supports 254 hosts on each of 2 million networks
  • The number of unassigned Internet addresses is running out, so a new classless scheme called CIDR is gradually replacing the system based on classes A, B, and C and is tied to adoption of IPv6.

    Also see Understanding IP Addressing in the Did You Know . . .? section of Webopedia.

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    For internet.com pages about IP address . Also check out the following links!

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    This tutorial supplies information on setting up a relatively simple WAN-connected internetwork or Internet-connected LAN. Includes explanations of IP addresses, classes, netmasks, subnetting, routing, several example networks, and a basic explanation of IPX routing

    Changing an IP address in Windows 95
    Provides simple instructions for changing an IP address in Windows 95.

    Find out your IP address
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    This short tutorial convers the basics of IP addressing and includes a form to enter an IP address and find out its class, network address and node address.

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    related categories

    Addressing

    Internet

    Routing

    related terms

    APIPA

    APNIC

    ARIN

    ARP

    ccTLD

    CIDR

    Class C network

    DDR

    DNS

    domain name

    dynamic DNS

    failover

    FQDN

    hot potato routing

    IANA

    Internet

    InterNIC

    IP spoofing

    martian address

    Mobile IP

    NAT

    ping

    port scanning

    RIPE NCC

    root server system


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