You might have noticed that the address scheme of a country is never uniform even in a single state. Some prefer to write street number before city while someone prefers to write city name in the start of his home address. Many private organizations use their own defined format to store the employee address in the company database.
Now internet is something that is being use all over the world. To maintain communication between networks and subsystems there was need to have a uniform address scheme. For this purpose IP address was introduced. Where IP stands for Internet Protocol address. Protocols are the set of rules that are abide by the systems when they communicate over a network.
IP address was designed in such a way that it was a unique value with same format for all users over the internet.
The normal IP address is of 32 bits and has four sections ranging from 0 to 255. For example the most commonly used IP address is:
There exist two categories of IP address. IPv4 and IPv6. 192.168.1.1 is an example of IPv4 address. In the beginning there were limited number of users on internet, IPv4 was adopted as a default IP scheme. IPv4 address limit is 4,294,967,29. This is the maximum number of address we can generate using IPv4. After this number the combination starts repeating.
In the beginning, no one had idea that internet will become the basic need of life. Now these days people are having many gadgets such as smart phone, tablet, and laptop/notebook. All of these devices use IP address to configure internet settings and establish a stable connection. Because of immense increase in the devices the IPv4 address limit has reached. 4,294,967,29 has been utilized.
To solve this issue IPv6 was introduced. It is 128 bit addressing system. The sample of IPv6 looks like this:
The total number of address we can generate using IPv6 is:
If every person buys 10,000 gadgets even then this combination will not be reached. But the sad reality is that IPv6 is not use. People still prefer IPv4 over IPv6 because ISP, smart phones, routers, modem, websites and their domain hosting they all need to be compatible with IP version. And they all are using IPv4.
Nearly 1% use IPv6, rest of the internet world prefer traditional IPv4 due non compatibility of IPv6.
IPv6 is not only the change of address scheme but it has made data packets and file transfer efficient. They are more productive and provide faster internet speed.
The questions that comes in every mind is that if the range of IPv4 has been reached then, how the new gadgets are configured? How they generate their IP address?
The answer to these questions is that there exist a technique to overcome this issue known as NAT (Network Address Translation). You might have noticed that the IP of your devices is:
In the above mentioned IPs 192.168 is fixed. The modem or router allocates different IP addresses to your devices. Whenever a request is generated modem transfer the request, fetch data from the server and then on the basis of IP modem knows from which device the request was generated. In this way many IPs are hide behind a single IP of router or modem.
The NAT technique has exaggerated the use of IPv4. With the advancement in technologies and new innovations the days are not far when we all will be shifted to IPv6 for efficient and productive use of internet.