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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Lower-Layer (Interface, Internet and Transport) Protocols (OSI Layers 2, 3 and 4)
      9  TCP/IP Internet Layer (OSI Network Layer) Protocols
           9  Internet Protocol (IP/IPv4, IPng/IPv6) and IP-Related Protocols (IP NAT, IPSec, Mobile IP)
                9  Internet Protocol Version 4 (IP, IPv4)
                     9  IP Addressing

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IP Addressing
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IP Addressing Overview and Fundamentals
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IP Addressing Concepts and Issues

Even though the original IP addressing scheme was relatively simple, it has become complex over time as changes have been made to it to allow it to deal with various addressing requirements. The more advanced styles of IP addressing, such as subnetting and classless addressing, are the ones used most in modern networks. However, they can be a bit confusing to understand. To help make sense of them we must start at the beginning with a discussion of the fundamentals of IP addressing.

In this section I begin our larger exploration of IP addressing by explaining the key concepts and issues behind it. I begin with an overview of IP addressing and discussion of what it is all about in general terms. I describe the size of IP addresses, the concept of its “address space” and the notation usually used for IP addresses. I provide basic information on the structure of an IP address and how it is divided into a network identifier and host identifier. I then describe the different types of IP addresses and the additional information such as a subnet mask and default gateway that often accompanies an IP address on larger networks. I provide a brief description of how multiple addresses are sometimes assigned to single devices and why. I conclude with a description of the process by which public IP addresses are registered and managed, and the organizations that do this work for the global Internet.

Background Information: If you are not familiar with at least the basics of how binary numbers work, and also with how to convert between binary and decimal numbers, I'd recommend reading the background section on data representation and the mathematics of computing before you proceed here. You can probably get by in this particular section without that knowledge, but you'll need it anyway when we proceed to subnetting, so you might as well get familiar now.


Note: Remember that most operating systems have a calculator program that incorporates scientific functions, including conversions between binary, decimal and hexadecimal numbers.


Quick navigation to subsections and regular topics in this section



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IP Addressing
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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