IP Address Lookup
Every device you have that's connected to the internet or a local network, whether that is your smartphone, PC, laptop, or tablet, has its own IP address. Short for internet protocol, your IP serves as an identifier that other networks can use to recognize your devices and freely transfer information.
IP addresses are assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, a division of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN. Once assigned, an IP address facilitates the communication between devices and the internet by connecting to an online network. Your activity will go through your ISP and route back to you through your IP address. Your IP address can also change; this can be done manually or automatically through a VPN.
Without IP addresses, the internet could not tell routers, websites, and computers apart, creating a non-functioning mess of the online world. When we talk about the size and function of an IP, there are two primary types of addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.
IPv4 and IPv6 are the two most common internet protocols used by devices worldwide, each with its own distinct set of traits and functions.
An IPv4 is a 32-bit address that uses a numerical method to give your device an individual internet identity. The bits within this address are separated with a period, and each address offers 12 distinct header fields. IPv4 has several features that set it apart, including:
An IPv4 will also use a connectionless protocol and allow for creating superficial virtual communication layers. This can work across an array of devices, with IPv4s using a smaller amount of memory due to their lower bit size. IPv4 is the older protocol, meaning that it is more widely used. The number of available IPv4 addresses is limited; with only 32 available bits, it will eventually run out of available addresses to utilize.
An IPv6 is a 128-bit address that uses an alphanumeric addressing method to provide your device with a unique identifier. Each one of its 128 bits is separated with a colon. Plus, there are only eight header fields instead of the 12 an IPv4 contains. IPv6 has a few features that distinguish it from IPv4, including:
An IPv6 will also use routing infrastructure, hierarchical addressing, and a stateful and stateless configuration. This IP address also supports Quality of Service and is the perfect protocol for neighboring mode interaction.
There are several differences between IPv4 vs. IPv6, starting with the size of the address. An IPv4 uses 32-bits, while an IPv6 uses 128. This means that there are far more available combinations of IPv6 addresses, and the number of IPv4 devices will eventually begin to dwindle. Despite this larger address size, IPv6 IPs have a faster header bandwidth due to the smaller utilized header size.
IPv6 addresses can also improve routing performance, primarily due to their use of newer processing options. IPv6 also supports layer security, jumpgram, mobile IP, and many other options that IPv4 may not support. An IPv6 address also offers faster network security speeds because it lacks a network-address translation. Because a carrier can't give IPv4 addresses to every one of its subscribers (due to the limited number), the support for IPv6 is more comprehensive. Sites tend to load faster, and for those looking to surf at higher speeds, IPv6 tends to win out over IPv4.
Because of the limited number of remaining IPv4 addresses and the advantages that IPv6 provides, all devices will eventually use an updated address form. Both IPv4 and IPv6 currently exist together throughout the internet, though there are specific compatibility issues that cause problems between the two. This won't be a problem at some point in the near future; before long, IPv6 (or an even newer version of internet protocol) will be the most commonly used IP address.