IP Address

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What is an IP Address

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

IPv4 vs IPv6

Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) defines an IP address as a 32-bit number.[2] However, because of the growth of the Internet and the depletion of available IPv4 addresses, a new version of IP (IPv6), using 128 bits for the IP address, was developed in 1995, and has steadily been used in conjunction with IPv4 and to eventually replace it (IPv4) in the future.

IP Address Format

An IP address is written in “dotted decimal” notation, which is 4 sets of numbers separated by period each set representing 8-bit number ranging from (0-255). Together, this set combine to make 32 bit (4 set of 8 bits).

IP addresses are usually written and displayed in human-readable notations, such as 172.16.254.1 in IPv4, and 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 in IPv6. The size of the routing prefix of the address is designated in CIDR notation by suffixing the address with the number of significant bits, e.g., 192.168.1.15/24, which is equivalent to the historically used subnet mask 255.255.255.0.

What is loopback IP address?

The loopback IP address is the address used to access itself. The IPv4 designated 127.0.0.1as the loopback address with the 255.0.0.0 subnet mask. A loopback interface is also known as a virtual IP, which does not associate with hardware interface. On Linux systems, the loopback interface is commonly called lo or lo0. The corresponding hostname for this interface is called localhost.

The loopback address is used to test network software without physically installing a Network Interface Card (NIC), and without having to physically connect the machine to a TCP/IP network. A good example of this is to access the web server running on itself by using http://127.0.0.1 or http://localhost.

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