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  Computer Dictionary : IPv4
 

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Computer Term

1. IPv4

IPv4 is the current version of of the Internet Protocol (as of late 2006). Each computer or device connected to the Internet must use an IP address in order to communicate with other systems on the Internet. IPv4 distributes IP addresses in a 32-bit format, which looks like 111.111.111.111. Each three-digit section can include a number from 0 to 255, which means the total number of IPv4 addresses available is 4,294,967,296 (256 x 256 x 256 x 256 or 2^32).

Because the number of systems connected to the Internet is quickly approaching the number of available IP address, IPv4 addresses will run out soon. (Nice planning, guys). When you consider that there are over 6 billion people in the world and many people have more than one computer connected to the Internet (for example, at home, school, work, etc.), it is not surprising that roughly 4.3 billion addresses is not enough. Also, as mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs begin to use Internet access more often, they will also require unique IP addresses.

To solve this situation, a new IP system, called IPv6, has been developed and is in the process of replacing the current IPv4 system. IPv6 addresses are 128-bit, which means there are exponentially more addresses available than IPv4. During this transitional process from IPv4 to IPv6, most systems connected to the Internet are assigned both an IPv4 and IPv6 address.



 
 



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