What is IP? Versions and structure

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“IP” or “Internet Protocol” is one of the most important protocols of the Internet. When you want to connect to other devices in a network, the first thing that you need is your destination’s IP. In simple words, IP is like a zip code. Every building has a unique zip code. This means that there is no other building that has the same zip code as yours. When you connect to a network (For example: the Internet) your device gets a unique IP that at that time no one else on that Network has that one IP.

What does IP do?

IP is used to route packets and to find packet’s destinations. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is in charge of managing IPs in all over the world. So, when you want to send a packet to a destination, the Internet will ask ICANN to know where exactly that destination is.

IP Versions:

IPv4 (version 4) and IPv6 (version 6) are two versions that are currently used in the world.


IPv4 was released in 1981 and it has been used ever since. Nowadays because of the growth of technology and increasing of the amount of devices and gadgets, the number of IPv4 is not going to be enough. There are 4,294,967,296 IPv4 in total which is n’t enough anymore. That’s why the new version of IP called IPv6 were released to take IPv4’s place. IPv6 can approximately address 3.4×1038 gadgets and devices. Lots of big companies in the US and other countries started using IPv6.

There used to be other versions like v0, v1,…,v3 in the old days but they aren’t used anymore.


IPv4 contains 4 sections called octet and it is 32 bits in size. This means that each octet is 8 bit in size.

IPv4 Structure

IPv6 looks like the example shown in the picture and it is 128 bits in size.


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