Want to know how IP addresses available to the internet are classified? This post explains the five classes of IP addresses and how they are assigned.
How IP Addresses Available To The Internet Are Classified?
No doubt you’ve come across something that looks like“192.64.512.335?” This is called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. It can also be referred to as a numerical label that must be assigned to every device connecting to the internet.
This article will cover the basics of the IP: types, assignment, and, most importantly, how IP addresses available to the internet are classified.
What is IP?
IP (Internet Protocol) is one of the protocols (standards) that networked devices such as computers, modems, routers, and gateways use to communicate on the internet. Other protocols include SMTP and HTTP.
Some of these “other protocols” are used in conjunction with IP, while others are standalone protocols. For example, the TCP (transmission control protocol) combines with IP (Internet Protocol) to form TCP/IP. And they (TCP/IP) dictate how data (information) is packaged, transferred, and received by networked devices.
An IP address is a numerical label assigned to any device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. If a network (such as modems, routers, and switches) uses the Internet protocol for communication, then any device on that network will be given or assigned an IP address.
In order words, the IP address uniquely identifies every device on a computer network.
Types of IP Address
The two standard Internet Protocol addresses are IPv4 and IPv6. Four numbers separated by dots denote an IPv4 address. Examples include 192.64.512.335 and 220.127.116.11.
On the other hand, IPv6 addresses are expressed by eight groups of hexadecimal numbers separated by colons. Something like “2001:0db8:84a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0360:7344” is an example of an IPv6 address.
All computers with IP addresses have IPv4 addresses, and new ones are starting to use the IPv6 system. At the dawn of IPv4, it was the only addressing system used as it could accommodate the needs of the very few internet users.
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IPv6 system was introduced as a result of upsurge internet users. The previous addressing system (IPv4) cannot only handle the commercial sensation of the internet anymore.
Classes of IP Addresses
Based on the IPv4 address, IP addresses are classified into five ranges: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E. To understand how IPv4 addresses are classified, let’s deconstruct 192.64.512.335– an example of an IPv4 address.
Every IPv4 is broken down into four octets (also called bytes). In the case of our example, 192 (first octet), 64 (second octet), 512 (third octet), and 335 (fourth octet).
The first octet determines the class. Class A ranges from 0-127, Class B: 128-191, Class C: 192-223, Class D: 224-239, and Class E: 240-255.
With that simple analysis, 192.64.512.335is grouped into the third class while 18.104.22.168falls between Class B.
The first three classes (A, B, and C) can be used for host addresses and assigned based on the network vs. host relationship.
Here is what that means:
Class A was created for a small number of networks with a large number of hosts, while Class C was designed for numerous networks with a small number of hosts. Let’s dig that a little deeper using 192.64.512.335(still) as an example:
- The first octet (192) in Class A addresses stands for the network part, while the remaining three octets represent the host part.
- In Class B, the first two octets (192.64) denote the network part, while the remaining octets stand for the host.
- The first 3 octets (192.64.512) in Class C represent the network part, while the remaining octet stands for the most part.
Note: The remaining IP address classes (Class D and Class E) are used for multicast and experimental purposes, respectively.
How IPv4 Addresses are Assigned?
IPv4 addresses can be assigned in two ways: Dynamic and Static allocation. The most common assignment is Dynamic allocation and is issued using the leasing system. This means the address will only be active for a limited time. And once expires, the computer will be assigned a new one.
Most home network and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use Dynamic allocation. Note also that Dynamic addresses are assigned by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
In contrast, Static addresses are statically assigned to a networked device such as a router, and can only be changed manually.
The Bottom Line
How IP addresses (available to the internet) are classified depends upon many factors and conditions. For example, every device (such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets) connected to the internet must have an IP address. This could be only IPv4 or both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
Also, IPv4 addresses can be statically or dynamically assigned. Besides, IPv4’s are classified into five different classes.
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Now I hope you’re pretty clear about how IP addresses are available to the internet are classified.
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