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IP address

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An IP address is a unique identifier assigned to each device connected to a network, enabling data to be sent and received accurately. It functions like a street address for the internet[1], marking the specific location of a device within a network. There are two versions of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4, the older version, has 32-bit addresses, while IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, offering a significantly larger number of possible addresses. IP addresses can be public or private, with private ones used within a local network and public ones used on the internet. Other key aspects include subnetting for routing efficiency, autoconfiguration for dynamic assignment, and potential conflicts from multiple assignment methods. IP addresses also play a significant role in routing and geolocation, determining the geographic position of devices. There are legal and regulatory aspects to consider, due to privacy[2] concerns, and they are crucial in network configuration and troubleshooting.

Terms definitions
1. internet. The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use standardized communication protocols, primarily the TCP/IP, to link devices worldwide. Originating from the term 'internetted' used in 1849, the term 'Internet' was later used by the US War Department in 1945. Its development began with computer scientists creating time-sharing systems in the 1960s and further progressed with the establishment of ARPANET in 1969. The Internet is self-governed, without a central authority, and its principal name spaces are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It has significantly transformed traditional communication media and has grown exponentially over the years, with internet users increasing 20% to 50% annually. In 2019, over half of the world population used the Internet. The Internet protocol suite, which includes TCP/IP and four conceptual layers, guides internet packets to their destinations. Essential services like email and Internet telephony operate on the Internet. The World Wide Web, a global collection of interconnected documents, is a key component of the Internet.
2. privacy. Privacy is a fundamental concept that has evolved throughout history and continues to shape our societal discourse. Historically, it stemmed from philosophical debates, with figures like Aristotle and John Locke laying the groundwork. Privacy also entwines with legal and ethical issues, as seen in landmark Supreme Court cases and revelations like those from Edward Snowden. Technological advancements have both challenged and enhanced privacy, introducing new threats and protective measures. Globally, privacy standards vary, with different countries and international organizations setting their guidelines. In today's digital age, privacy faces new challenges and considerations, such as social media use, selfie culture, and location-based services. This concept encompasses an individual's right to keep their personal information secret and free from unsanctioned intrusion.
IP address (Wikipedia)

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as 192.0.2.1 that is assigned to a device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. IP addresses serve two main functions: network interface identification, and location addressing.

Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) defines an IP address as a 32-bit number. However, because of the growth of the Internet and the depletion of available IPv4 addresses, a new version of IP (IPv6), using 128 bits for the IP address, was standardized in 1998. IPv6 deployment has been ongoing since the mid-2000s.

IP addresses are written and displayed in human-readable notations, such as 192.0.2.1 in IPv4, and 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 in IPv6. The size of the routing prefix of the address is designated in CIDR notation by suffixing the address with the number of significant bits, e.g., 192.0.2.1/24, which is equivalent to the historically used subnet mask 255.255.255.0.

The IP address space is managed globally by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and by five regional Internet registries (RIRs) responsible in their designated territories for assignment to local Internet registries, such as Internet service providers (ISPs), and other end users. IPv4 addresses were distributed by IANA to the RIRs in blocks of approximately 16.8 million addresses each, but have been exhausted at the IANA level since 2011. Only one of the RIRs still has a supply for local assignments in Africa. Some IPv4 addresses are reserved for private networks and are not globally unique.

Network administrators assign an IP address to each device connected to a network. Such assignments may be on a static (fixed or permanent) or dynamic basis, depending on network practices and software features. Some jurisidications consider IP addresses to be personal data.

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