IPs: Static vs. Dynamic
A BACKGROUND ON IPs
An Internet protocol (IP) address is a unique number assigned to electronic devices that allows them to communicate with each other, even across the Internet. Devices range from mobile phones to desktop computers, servers, and more. So, when accessing a webpage from a mobile device, you are actually contacting a server using its unique IP. The page’s information, stored in the server, is then sent (routed) back to your mobile device using its IP. This process occurs invisibly and seamlessly.
To get a better sense of what this means, imagine that the IP is your home address. It is unique to your home, no one else in the world will have the same address. Another home might have similarities to yours, such as the country, city, or street, however there will always remain a difference between these two home addresses.
IP ADDRESSES ASSIGNATION AUTHORITIES
The IP addresses numbers in a home, office, or mobile device is provided to consumers by Internet Service Providers (ISP). ISPs in turn, receive a range of IP addresses from a pool of numbers assigned to its corresponding Regional Internet Registry (RIR). The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the organization tasked with assigning IP numbers globally, allocates addresses to 5 regions or RIRs: the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC), the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), and the Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC). The IANA is also tasked with keeping a record of root databases endings such as .com, .org, .us, .mx, and many more.
IP ADDRESS STRUCTURE
The structure of an IP depends on the number version of the address. Right now, most IPs that are assigned are still IPv4 (IP version 4). An IPv4 address will consist of a series of four bytes (numbers from 0 through 255), with each byte separated by a period. In this version, the maximum number of IP numbers that can be generated is 4,294,967,296.
However, as the Internet becomes accessible to more people around the world, more websites are being created, and more servers are installed. This translates into a growing need for more IP addresses. Fortunately, this has been solved by the creation of a superior version of Internet Protocol. Theoretically, the next version, IPv6, could generate 2^128 unique IP addresses (340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456) and includes several security features that make browsing more secure from eavesdropping.
DYNAMIC VS. STATIC BREAKDOWN
To avoid using more IP addresses than necessary, ISPs sometimes acquire a smaller number of addresses than clients. If an ISP has a huge pool of clients, they don’t need a specific IP for each customer, just enough IP addresses to supply for demand. In such case, the IP assigned to customers is dynamic, and not specifically given out. This allows for ease of administration and less IPs are used, but your service may become slow or even interrupted if all the available IP addresses are allocated.
Dynamic addresses are IP numbers assigned from a large range of available addresses. Although your IP won’t usually change unless connectivity is lost for an extended amount of time, it is worth noting that is always a possibility. Services you would typically use from your home aren’t usually affected and most users have no idea anything had changed.
Hosting a website, providing mail access to employees, and establishing secure dial-in connections are just a few of excellent reasons to decide on purchasing a static IP. Your network will always show the same address to the outside world. This makes locating resources on your network simpler. You can also take advantages of services such as VPNs, and even access the company’s video surveillance equipment from any device with access to the Internet.
If you are looking for more stability, but cannot obtain a static IP, you can get a Dynamic DNS (Domain Name System). These are dynamic IP numbers that will update themselves in a way that you can find out the specific address assigned to them at each instance. The Dynamic DNS will broadcast the IP address, and automatically update so that you can use the domain host, or domain name to find a remote point when it has a variable or dynamic IP.
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