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Monday, December 6, 2021

Internet Protocols: The Basics of IPv4

We all know that in order to communicate, a unique address is required. We all get mail, either in the post using a street address, or online, with an email address. 

In both cases, a unique set of information is given, and as there is only one email address at, there's only one 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, sorta. In order for a computer to be able to use the Internet, they need to have a unique address too.

In the year 1980, IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4 was developed to make communication easier on ARPANET, the precursor to our modern-day internet. It was a set of four octets- four sets of eight bits, 1's and 0's in binary, which can then be converted into the decimal number system we humans use. 

Converting binary to decimal is simple, as each octet can only contain up to 256 bits of information. This means that IP addresses in decimal are between -

For example, an IP address in binary would look like 11000000.10101000.00001110.01110011, while the same IP in decimal would be If you actually count each possible address, its exactly 4,294,967,296. 

That's a really big number! 

Unfortunately, many of those addresses are reserved for special reasons, like, which is used by your own local computer network. But wait, why would you need to use a local network, where there should be plenty of unused addresses for each computer? 

Find out in part two, where we will be delving into subnetting and the five classes of IPv4 addresses!


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