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IP Addressing Overview and Fundamentals
(Page 1 of 3)
introduction of this section, I mentioned
that IP addressing is important because it facilitates the primary function
of the Internet Protocolthe delivery of datagrams across an internetwork.
Understanding this in more detail requires us to examine a few different
but essential issues related to how IP and its addresses operate.
IP Address Functions: Identification and Routing
The first point that bears making
is that there are actually two different functions of the IP address:
- Network Interface Identification: Like
a street address, the IP address provides unique identification of the
interface between a device and the network. This is required to ensure
that the datagram is delivered to the correct recipients.
- Routing: When the source and destination
of an IP datagram are not on the same network, the datagram must be
delivered indirectly using intermediate systems, a process
called routing. The IP address is an essential part of the
system used to route datagrams.
You may have noticed a couple of
things about this short list. One is that I said the IP address identifies
the network interfacenot that it identifies the
device itself. This distinction is important because it
underscores the concept that IP is oriented around connections to a
large virtual network at layer three, which can span multiple
physical networks. Some devices, such as routers, will have more than
one network connection: they must, in order to take datagrams from one
network and route them onto another. This means they will also have
more than one IP address, one per connection.
You might also find it curious that
I said the IP address facilitates routing. How can it do that? The answer
is that the addressing system is designed with a
structure that can be interpreted to allow routers to determine what
to do with a datagram based on the values
in the address. Numbers related to the IP address, such as the subnet
mask when subnetting is used, support this function.
Lets now look at some other
important issues and characteristics associated with IP addresses in
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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