IP addressing is one of the most challenging and essential topics in TCP/IP. It is a crucial function for Layer 3 protocols because IP addressing was designed to allow hosts to communicate with a host on the same network or on a different network, regardless of the type of LAN in which the hosts participate.
This concept is indispensable and vital to any network administrator; if not properly understood, it can wreak havoc on anyone regardless of experience.
To communicate on a TCP/IP network, each device must be assigned a unique IP address. This address functions as a numerical identifier that specifies the device’s location within the network.
The IP address provides the number of the network to which the device is connected and the number of the node on that network. In other words, using the following analogy, the IP address is like a person’s street name and house number.
An IP address is a logical address that can change constantly and is associated with the network interface card (NIC), not to be confused with the MAC address which is a hardware address. In addition, other basic concepts associated with the IP address that we must take into account are the subnet mask and the default gateway (also called gateway or gateway).
Currently, there are two types of IP addressing, IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) and IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), each with its format. IPv4 uses the binary system to represent IP addresses, while IPv6 uses the hexadecimal system.
IPv6 is the addressing that will replace IPv4; due to the constant growth of network devices worldwide, currently, the total number of IPv4 addresses is no longer sufficient to meet this demand. For this reason, IPv6 is already in production, allowing a greater number of IP addresses due to its base 16 (Hex) number system.
In the following publications, we will discuss each of the addressing schemes in detail.