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What is an IP address

I’ve been a bit slow on the post these days, part of that is because I experienced a life-changing experience some time back, but mostly because I was experimenting with a new medium–youtube!

I’ve made 3 new youtube videos, and plan to post one every week. Unfortunately, what that means is that there’s less time to spend on the regular blog post. Hopefully by the end of the year, things will stabilize and I should be able to post a youtube video and a blog post regularly. But for now, most of my effort is going to be focused on the creating those videos.

Here’s my first video:

Transcript of the video

What is an IP address?

The simplest way to think of an IP address is to treat it like your internet phone number, just like how every phone has a unique phone number, every computer on the internet has a unique internet number, or IP address, that allows any other computer on the internet to ‘call’ it.

BUt what does an IP address look like? Well since an IP address exist in the digital world, therefore it is comprised of DIGITS.

Specifically binary digits or BITS.

So in effect, an IP address is just a long string of 1’s and 0’s, 32 of them to be precise–that can represents a number from 0 all the way to just over 4 Billion. So another way to think of IP addresses is that’s like a 10 digit number that represents your computer on the internet.

But hang on a minute, aren’t IP addresses denoted by 4 numbers and dots.

Yes they are. You see while computers deal with 1’s and 0’s, humans prefer something a bit more nuanced, so we use the decimal notation.Decimals are the numbers you’re most familiar, the digits that range from 0 to 9.

So computer geeks the world over, decided to invent the octet system. Where the string of 32-bits, is divided into 4 ‘octets’, with each octet being just a 8-bits long. An 8-bit number can have a value from 0-255, and we separate each octet with a dot. So IP addresses in the octet system can range from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255

The Octet system though is a simpler way to represent a 32-bit number, underneath it all IP addresses are nothing more than internet phone numbers, that allow computers on the internet to communicate with each other.

A 32-bit number though is quite big.In fact 32-bit IP addresses can be used to uniquely identify more than 4 billion computers, but the internet is so popular even that isn’t enough.

So we’ve modified the network by using NAT, and fixed the problem completely by using IPv6.

So to recap, an IP address is a long string of 32 binary digits that act as your internet phone number, that allows other computers on the internet to communicate with you.

Slides of the video

Slides will be uploaded in slideshare soon.

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  1. Pingback: What happened in the MAS hack. All questions answered, one question asked.

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