Network+ Study Guide: IP Address Basics

An IP or Internet Protocol address is literally an identifying number assigned to a particular network device. Having this address would enable a network device to connect with other network devices over the Internet and other IP-based networks. In general, IP addresses come in two versions: IPv4 or IP version 4 and IPv6 or IP version 6. An IP address is composed of binary values: 32 bits long for an IPv4 address and 128 bits long for an IPv6 address. It drives data routing over the Internet. Below are the basics of IP addresses to jog your memory when studying the Network+ exam objectives.

What IP Addresses Are Used For

Essentially, an IP address gives a networked device an identity. CertBlaster shares that much like the address of your house providing a particular location with a certain address, network devices are distinguished from each other via unique IP addresses. To illustrate, let’s say that you’re sending a gift to your best friend who lives in another state. Of course, you will need your best friend’s exact address. Hence, you look through your contacts to find your best friend’s address and put that along with her name on the package.

How IP Addresses Work

The same process is utilized for data routing over the Internet. But instead of checking your address book to get someone’s address, your laptop, for instance, utilizes DNS servers for finding a hostname in order to locate its specific IP address. For instance, when you key in a web address or URL or uniform resource locator, such as, into your browser, your request to load the site is routed to DNS servers that will search for the hostname to obtain its IP address. Your laptop will not know what it is after or supposed to do if there is no IP address.

Every device that needs to connect to the Internet requires a specific identifying number, and this is called an IP address. Similar to how home addresses identify where people live, IP addresses identify devices on a network. IP address help ensure the proper flow of traffic between network devices because each one is assigned a unique IP address.