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What is an IP address?

FibreStream Updated by FibreStream

IP refers to Internet Protocol. It’s a unique string of numbers separated by periods which identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol in order to communicate over a network. This unique address allows a system to be recognized by other systems. 

Although IP is the short form for Internet Protocol, it is also used as the short form for "IP address".  In this case, IP simply refers to the unique identifier of a system.

There are private and public IP addresses.

Private IP addresses are used by your router within the local area network (LAN) of your devices, and are sometimes referred to as ‘local IP addresses’. Your router connects your devices using their assigned private IP addresses thereby creating your local area network (LAN). Private IP addresses can’t be used to connect to devices beyond your LAN.

For example, some of your devices may have identical private IP addresses as your neighbour’s devices, however they can’t communicate because they’re not part of the same LAN.

Public IP addresses are unique and allow the devices on a LAN to communicate with other public IP addresses in the wide area network (WAN) and the rest of the world. Public IP addresses are assigned to end users by Internet service providers (like FibreStream). A function called network address translation (NAT) is used by the end user’s router on their LAN to mask its many private IP addresses and use just one public IP address as a unique identifier as it communicates with the internet. 

NAT (Network Address Translation) is an important tool in conserving global public IP addresses. As the internet expands, the finite number of unique public IP addresses decreases, and will eventually run out. Private IP addresses, on the other hand, don’t need to be unique because they don’t communicate directly with the internet. NAT helps us to conserve the finite number of unique public IP addresses by allowing many private IP addresses to use one single public IP address.

What are IPv4 and IPv6?

IPv4 is the most widely IP used at the moment but, as mentioned, the problem is that we will eventually run out of unique IPv4 addresses. IPv4 only allows for 4,294,967,296 unique addresses, after all, and the number of devices being connected to the internet continues to climb.This is where IPv6 comes in. It’s an Internet addressing system that is being introduced now to fulfill the need for more Internet addresses in the future. It’s also called IPng, for (perhaps not surprisingly) Internet Protocol next generation.

IPv4 and IPv6 will coexist together while the Internet continues to grow, and although IPv6 is “new”, it’s been in development for nearly 30 years. FibreStream has plans to provide IPv6 addresses in the near future.

What about my FibreStream IP address?

You can find your FibreStream IP address by entering “what is my IP address?” into Google, or visiting whatismyipaddress.com. Your IP address is an IPv4 address.

By default, FibreStream IP addresses are dynamic. That means the public IP addresses assigned by FibreStream can change.

Static IP addresses never change and stay attached to your network device. If you need to access your home network from another location, a static IP address is a good idea. 

Static IP addresses are available for $5/mo.

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