Your public IP address is:
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What is this public IP?
When you connect to the internet, you are assigned a unique public IP address by your internet service provider (ISP). This public IP address is used to route traffic on the internet to and from your device. It can be either an IPv4 or an IPv6 address.
For most home users, this public IP address is a single address that is shared by all the devices on the network. This is possible because many devices on the network are assigned private or local IP addresses that are not directly accessible from the internet.
Private or local IP addresses are used by devices on a private network, such as a home or business network, to communicate with each other. These addresses are not unique and can be reused on different private networks. When a device on a private network wants to access the internet, it sends its traffic to the public IP address of the router or modem that connects the network to the internet. The router then forwards the traffic to the internet using its own public IP address.
So, while the public IP address is what allows you to access the internet, private IP addresses allow multiple devices to connect to the internet using a single public IP address. It’s a clever way of conserving IP addresses and allowing many users to connect to the internet without running out of available addresses.
How do you tell if an IP address is public or private?
To determine whether an IP address is public or private, you can perform a simple check on your home or office network using the ipconfig or ifconfig command. If the IP address you receive falls within the private IP address range, which includes 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12, and 192.168.0.0/16, also known as RFC 1918 addresses, then it is a private IP address.
Private IP addresses cannot be routed across the internet, so your router will convert them to public IP addresses using a feature called Network Address Translation (NAT). This ensures that each user on the internet has a unique public IP address.
If you come across an IP address that falls within the RFC1918 range, then it is a private range, while the rest are public IP addresses. Additionally, there are some IP addresses between 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 that are called multicast addresses and are used for special network purposes and protocols.
The advantage of using the private IP address range is that it allows for flexibility in IP assignments. You and your neighbor could have the same private IP addresses on your respective networks, such as 192.168.1.10/24, without any conflict. However, each user will have a unique public IP address, which is essential for connecting to the internet.
What happens if you try to route the private IP address to the internet?
Trying to route a private IP address to the internet can cause serious issues, such as disruption of the entire network. In fact, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have taken measures to prevent the routing of private IP addresses to the internet by default.
There have been instances in the past where users advertised private IP addresses to the internet, resulting in a portion of the internet going down. However, ISPs have since implemented measures to block private IP addresses at their level, so even if you were to advertise a private range, it would be blocked by the ISP.
Will my public IP change?
Whether your public IP address changes or not depends on your internet service provider’s IP configuration. In most cases, household broadband networks use DHCP for IP assignment, resulting in frequent changes to the public IP address. However, enterprise networks usually use static public IP addresses, which means the public IP address remains the same.
If you want to prevent your IP address from changing, you can contact your local ISP and request a static IP address. Once you receive the static IP address from your ISP, they will configure it for you, ensuring your public IP address remains the same. There are many scenarios where a static IP can be useful, such as hosting a web service from home.
Keep in mind that getting a static IP from your ISP may come at a cost, and you may be required to pay additional charges for this service.
Does IP address change with location?
It’s common to wonder whether your IP address changes when you move to a different location. The short answer is yes. Public IP addresses are unique, and each block of these IP addresses is assigned to a particular geographic location by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Internet Service Providers (ISPs) then divide these IP addresses into separate subnets.
As a result, when you move from one location to another, your public IP address will change. Additionally, if you switch between your mobile internet and home broadband, you will also notice a change in your public IP address. This is because different networks and locations have different IP addresses assigned to them.
I see, IPv6 here, what is the purpose of IPv6?
If you’re wondering why IPv6 was developed when IPv4 was working perfectly fine, there’s a simple answer: the internet has grown exponentially over the years, and the usage of public IPv4 addresses has increased significantly. As a result, the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses began, and we started running out of them. This led to the development of IPv6.
IPv6 was created to provide more IP addresses than IPv4 could offer, which would help to future-proof the internet. It also provides other benefits, such as improved security and better network performance. Despite the benefits, moving away from IPv4 is still a challenging task for many internet users. Some enterprise users still rely solely on IPv4, while others are planning to migrate to a dual-stack system, which involves running both IPv4 and IPv6 on the same network.
In the long run, we will eventually migrate away from IPv4 and move toward IPv6 as the primary internet protocol. IPv4 will become a thing of the past, and IPv6 will be the norm for future internet connectivity.