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What Are IP Addresses & Classes?

11/22/2011 02:39 by KevinHan

First answer posted by PollyP at 11/22/2011 02:39
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3 Answers
  • PollyP
  • The Internet Protocol, often referred to as IP, allows data you send and receive over the Internet to reach the right place. Each computer has an IP address that acts like a mailing address. At IP's inception, its creators divided the addresses into blocks, with each network assigned one of these address blocks. Several different classes existed, with class A networks being the largest and class C the smallest.


    The Internet Protocol is in charge of delivering data across the Internet.

    The Internet Protocol is responsible for ensuring the data you send into the network reaches the other end. IP is a packet-switched protocol where data is chopped up into small packets that are sent individually rather than as a continuous data stream. Currently there are two versions of IP in use -- IPv4 has been in use since 1982 and is by far the most widely used; the Internet Engineering Task Force created IPv6 in 1998, but it has yet to be widely adopted.


    IP ensures you only receive data meant for your computer.

    Each computer attached to the Internet has an IP address. The current version, IPv4, uses a 32-bit binary number, giving it a little over four billion addresses. IPv4 addresses are usually written in "dotted-decimal" form to make them easier to read, for instance Early in 2011, the American Registry for Internet Numbers assigned the last unused IPv4 addresses. This means adoption of IPv6 is likely to increase rapidly from now on.


    IP Address Classes

    In its original design, IPv4 addresses were "classful," meaning they were divided into blocks with each network assigned a different address block. These blocks belonged to one of three main classes, based on how many computers were in a network. Class A networks were the biggest, with about 16 million addresses, class B had about 65,000 and class C had 256. In total, the class system allowed for two million separate networks.


    Classless Addressing

    Classful addressing was inefficient with lots of addresses being wasted. In 1993 the IETF moved to a scheme called Classless Inter-Domain Routing. In CIDR, addresses are split arbitrarily, according to how large the network is. Slash notation denotes this, for example The number after the slash says how many bits are available for addresses in the network. This allows you to calculate how big the network is -- 256 computers in our example.


    Other Address Classes

    Some classes of address still exist. Class D addresses are used for multicasting, used to send the same data to lots of different users. Class E addresses are for experimental use. There are also addresses reserved for private networks. The most common private addresses start 192.168 and these are usually used by home routers. Finally, there are special addresses called loopback addresses that allow a computer to send data to itself. The most common loopback address is

  • Was this answer helpful? 00 · 11/22/2011 02:39
  • Anonymous user
  • ipaddress connections
  • Was this answer helpful? 00 · 12/23/2011 11:36
  • Kelvin45
  • An Internet Protocol(IP) address refers to a unique number assigned to each computer on the Internet.An IP address consists of four numbers, each of which contains one to three digits, with a single dot (.) separating each number or set of digits. Each of the four numbers can range from 0 to 255. Here's an example of what an IP address might look like: There are five classes of available IP ranges: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D and Class E, while only A, B, and C are commonly used: Class A------------------> to Class B -----------------> to Class C -----------------> to Class D------------------> to Class E -----------------> to You can check your internet IP address by using .
  • Was this answer helpful? 00 · 04/02/2013 07:58
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