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Internet Protocol Address

IP addresses are used to identify a particular network card somewhere on the global Internet. They come in two forms

Since an IP address identifies a network card, a machine can have more than one address. This can happen for several reasons

IP addresses are also used to specify networks, as well as machine interfaces. A network's address does not use the full length address available, but only a prefix.

For example, you might have a home network, with three machines. The network could be and the machines could be, and Notice that the first part of all the machine addresses is the same, and also the same as the network address.

There's one extra thing that is normally used when describing a network address, and that is exactly what part of the address refers to the network (and is common to all its machines) and what part is used to distinguish individual machines.

This is called the netmask, and can be represented two ways:

IPv6 network addresses generally use the first format (since it's enough hassle to type the address, let alone a mask as well), which IPv4 network addresses can use either.

Version 1 (current) modified Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:12:03 +1000 by tyson
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