IP Addresses

The Internet Protocol enables computers on many disparate LANs to find their way to one another; this is accomplished through the hierarchical IP address system. If you’ve ever done anything on the Internet at all, you’re probably familiar with IP addresses—at least enough to know what they look like. An IP address is typically used as a way to refer to a specific computer on the Internet, although its meaning is actually a lot more flexible than “one IP address per machine.” Most generally, it’s a logical designation whose purpose is to locate a machine on the Internet so that IP routers can direct traffic between it and any other machine.

An IP address is a string of 32 bits in the IP header, which specifies either what machine ...

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