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IPInternet Protocol, pronounced as two separate letters. IP specifies the format of packets, and the addressing scheme used on the Internet.
The Internet combines IP with a higher-level protocol called Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which establishes the connection between a destination and a source.
IP by itself is something like the postal system. It allows you to address a package and drop it in the system, but there's no direct link between you and the recipient. TCP/IP (pronounced as 5 letters), on the other hand, establishes a connection between two hosts so that they can send messages back and forth for a period of time.
IP addresses are in the form of a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For example, 10.249.101.24 could be an IP address.
Within a LAN, you can assign IP addresses at random as long as each one is unique; addresses which are public to the Internet must be within assigned ranges in order to avoid duplication. The authorities that assign public Internet addresses have designated certain ranges as never to be used on the Onternet; by convention, those are normally used as private addresses on a LAN. The ranges for private addresses are all addresses starting with 10 (e.g. 10.200.44.36), addresses between 172.16.0.0 and 126.96.36.199, and addresses between 192.168.0.0 and 192.168.255.255.
Addresses such as www.datastormusers.com are converted to their numeric equivalent by DNS servers.
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