Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of Internet Protocol. The IPv4 operates and routes most of the internet traffic till date even with its successor protocol, IPv6.
IPv4 is used to identify devices on a network using addressing systems. It is specially designed to be used in Interconnected systems of packet-switched computer communication networks none other than ethernet.
Since IPv4 operates on Best Effort Delivery Model – it doesn’t guarantee delivery nor avoidance of duplicate delivery.
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses which look like eg: 123.456.789.123 with a 3 digit separated by a dot and the values ranging between 0 to 255 and the maximum number of IP addresses possible with IPv4 is 4,294,967,296.
IPv4 has been classified into 5 classes for Ethernet communications – A, B, C, D and E. Classes like A, B, and C addresses the network host by using different bit lengths. While Class D is reserved for Multicasting, and Class E is intended for future use.
|Class||IP Range||Subnet Mask||Purpose|
|A||0.0.0.0 to 127.255.255.255||255.0.0.0 or /8||Very large networks|
|B||18.104.22.168 to 22.214.171.124||255.255.0.0 or /16||Medium networks|
|C||192.0.0.0 to 126.96.36.199||255.255.255.0 or /24||Small networks|
|D||188.8.131.52 to 184.108.40.206||not defined||Multicast|
|E||240.0.0.0 to 247.255.255.255||not defined||Experimental or Military|
How IPv4 Works
If you are new to computing then you must definitely know that each and every device that is connected to the Internet should have its own unique Public IP Address for communicating with other devices on the Internet.
IPv4 totally has 4.3 billion IP addresses roughly. That’s a big number right. But because of the growth of the internet, the number of systems that are connected is very more than the total number of IP Address available.
At a point of time soon there will be an exhaustion of IPv4 address since in the world there are 6 million people connected to the internet and each might have a Phone, Tablet, Laptop and a PC, so each device requires its own IP Address.
How to Overcome IPv4 Exhaustion?
Only 232 host addresses can be assigned to end users by IPv4. Since RIR has lavishly assigned the IPv4 to users without predicting the future they used NAT inside a network which uses the Private IP Address to conserve the IP address.
Due to the boom of the Internet back in the 2000s couldn’t stop the expansion. In order to solve this problem, a new 128-bit IP system called as IPv6 was introduced.
IPv6 was primarily developed to replace the IPv4 Address but it can co-exist together and transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will not be visible to users since everything happens in the background of your computer.