- What Is an IP?
- Changing your DNS settings to point to a different IP address
- URLs & IP Addresses
- How Domain Name Servers Work
- Table of Contents
It supplements this data with graphs charting device response time. The Subnet Calculator at once scans subnets; generates the proper masks, size, range, and broadcast address of both classful and classless subnets; and acts as an IP address tracker, continuously monitoring the addresses in use within each subnet. This is an incredibly important function when re-architecting a network or trying to avoid downtime, as it gauges whether the network is due to run out of addresses before a verifiable shortage arrives.
This helps ensure if a device is using an IP address, the network reaps the rewards of having allocated that address. Coupled with the innumerable other amenities of SolarWinds ETS, its network scanning and IP address tracking features go even further in preventing network catastrophe, identifying problems early, ascertaining root causes, and executing quick resolutions.
Its network device scanner tool automatically discovers network devices; beyond that, NPM creates visual displays that delineate the connections between devices — automatically populating maps that clarify network topology. This is particularly helpful in the case of the dynamic IP address system, in which IP addresses in addition to device count and relationship are constantly in flux. In fact, with SolarWinds NPM, users can customize dynamic network maps that display accurate topology and device performance metrics, juxtaposing device scanning and network performance management so that admins can more easily architect high-performing networks and intervene on specific devices when necessary.
SolarWinds User Device Tracker UDT performs an IP address management role from a unique vantage point, looking more at the individual user in addition to network architecture. UDT is invaluable when it comes to granular network topology and equipment details. It automatically discovers and monitors layer 2 and layer 3 switches, and it constantly watches ports and switches, gauging response time, packet loss, CPU load, and memory utilization. It sends alerts as switches approach their capacity. UDT serves a pragmatic function in this way through network visualization and performance monitoring.
In addition, it provides enhanced visibility into network users and strengthens network security—an increasingly crucial consideration as networks grow more complex and organizational members each bring a bevy of devices, presenting more opportunities for breaches. With SolarWinds UDT, admins can not only customize their own reports—vital for compliance—but they can also drill into device connection history and user login history.
Most importantly, they can cut through the noise to identify any unauthorized users siphoning resources from their network or, worse, carrying out cyberattacks.
The UDT whitelisting feature empowers admins to designate safe, known devices so it can push alerts when new and potentially dangerous devices come online. Now that you have the best tool in place to scan, monitor, and manage IP addresses on your network, having a baseline understanding of how IP addresses work—including the differences between the addressing systems of IPv4 and IPv6—can also help protect the performance and integrity of networks.
What Is an IP?
The IP address exists to identify devices connecting via the internet, which is itself a network of other networks communicating via the standards delineated by the Transfer Control Protocol TCP and Internet Protocol IP. To achieve internet access, then, every device must have a way of identifying itself. Identification serves two primary purposes:. A user who wishes to reach a site on a computer or other device inputs the domain name like www.
Changing your DNS settings to point to a different IP address
Once the device has the IP address, it can connect to the site and interact however it wants. All IP addresses have both binary and dot-decimal notations for an address. The binary representation of an IP address is used to communicate with devices, while the translated dotted decimal format helps make it easier for users to understand and remember IP addresses.
Currently, there are two coexisting standards also called versions for formulating IP addresses:. With more data allocated for each address, the IPv6 protocol creates many more IP address variations than IPv4, eliminating the need to assign public and private addresses, which can result in collisions. Since it allows for variations, the new protocol provides a good deal of room for IoT to grow.
URLs & IP Addresses
Because IPv6 is an evolutionary upgrade, it can coexist with IPv4 and will do so until the earlier version is eventually phased out. By transitioning to IPv6 over time, the internet should be able to allocate more individual addresses to devices, increasing both the number of hosts and the volume of data traffic it can accommodate. Each IPv4 address contains two crucial components: a network identifier and a host identifier. In an IPv4 address, the network identifier contains the network number, which, per its name, identifies the specific network to which the device belongs.
The host identifier, or node identifier, is the collection of bits unique to the device in use on the network, differentiating it from other machines on the network and on the internet.
How Domain Name Servers Work
The number of nodes a network will need to support determines the exact structure of the IPv4 address, which is further classified into different address classes. Because of fears that the classful IPv4 addressing system was too quickly using up available address variations, the Internet Engineering Task Force developed the Classless Inter-Domain Routing CIDR system to allow for network prefixes sized between the 8-bit intervals instituted by classful networking.
The size of this prefix determines the number of variations available to each network or subnetwork. Put simply, the subnet mask expresses in dot-decimal IP form how many bits in the IPv4 address belong to the prefix.
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For example, a CIDR with a prefix length of 4 meaning the network number is only 4 bits, as opposed to a typical Class A length of 8 is, in binary, According to CIDR notation, the length of the subnet mask the number of bits used by the prefix is expressed by a suffix composed of a slash and a number.
So, given the IP address IPv6 addresses work in a similar fashion to IPv4 addresses, though they contain more data. Each hexadecimal number requires 4 bits, and each block consists of 4 hexadecimals. Each IPv6 address contains 8 blocks— bits total, which are, like IPv4, divided into network and node components.
The first 64 bits correspond to the network component, laying out the global unicast address 48 bits followed by the subnet ID 16 bits. Essentially, this means that the first 3 bytes identify the network address used by internet routing to reach the proper network, and the fourth byte configured by network administrators themselves routes any communications to the correct internal subnet within the broader local network.
The last 64 bits make up the interface ID, which identifies the node within the network that internal network or external internet communications must reach. The interface ID is generated from the media access control MAC address, given by network interface card manufacturers and stored in the device hardware. Ultimately, IPv6 incurs some inconveniences. Namely, infrastructure will have to transition between the protocol versions, and the addresses are significantly longer. But the protocol solves the most notable dilemma networking faces: a shortage of IP addresses.
The number is practically inconceivable in human terms. As one computer hobbyist puts it, that value ,,,,,,,,,,,, is equal to over undecillion. Put another way, that amounts to 50 octillion IP addresses per human being, given a global population of 7. There are two basic forms of IP address: static and dynamic. This understandably has its pros and cons. A static IP address can be relied upon to stay the same regardless of other infrastructure developments, meaning IT admins will never encounter a surprise when scanning for IP addresses.
However, depending on the size of the network, the manual allocation of all host IP addresses can require a massive amount of time, tracking, and structuring. Especially given that static addresses can become incompatible with a system in various ways, choosing to exclusively use static addresses is largely inefficient and inflexible.
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Nevertheless, there are several good reasons to opt for the static IP address system. The process of assigning a static IP address is lengthy and complicated, so it typically requires a professional. This constraint makes static IP addresses more suitable to a business environment, though they can add benefits to home networks as well. Static IP addresses are helpful when:. Dynamic IP addresses, in contrast, are assigned by the DHCP server, eliminating the need for an admin to spend hours allocating addresses.
This automates many of the more irksome details of configuring an IP address system: without administrative oversight, the DHCP server can assign a unique IP address, a subnet mask, a gateway address, and other requisite reference information like the address of the DNS server to all devices. The advantages of the DHCP system are obvious: it reduces administrative overhead and scales with the environment. It has its disadvantages, as well, notably regarding the temporary nature of the dynamic IP address. Although the network client can attempt to renew the same address repeatedly, its address is not guaranteed.
Particularly when it comes to remote work, attempts to gain access to a distant device or network can fail without knowledge of its current IP address. These potential hiccups have solutions—altering the DHCP scope to exclude static addresses in use; changing DNS scavenging settings to ensure the server purges old records and updates its data—but they require foresight and additional work. Still, barring slight complications, a dynamic IP address system is the most reasonable solution for large-scale networks.
While many enterprises may use a static IP address with their router for remote networking or internet security purposes, DHCP is an efficient, useful system for node address designation overall.
Table of Contents
While free tools are adept at handling smaller tasks—like simply discovering active IP addresses and correlating them to MAC addresses—a diverse toolkit like those offered by SolarWinds IP Address Manager provides a comprehensive solution. By performing data analysis, streamlining high volumes of data into insightful graphs, offering useful network visualization, and pushing security and IP address conflict alerts, SolarWinds software can help ensure networks remain in safe, peak-performance shape.
Ultimately, through keeping tabs on the many rote and time-intensive tasks required by IP address systems, these robust tools free up administrators to apply themselves elsewhere. Open the command prompt. If the subnet mask is This list is incredibly informative, containing the IP addresses, MAC addresses, and allocation type whether static or dynamic for all live hosts. This will enable you to further narrow down what devices could be experiencing or causing problems. Instead, you just connect through a domain name server , also called a DNS server or name server , which manages a massive database that maps domain names to IP addresses.
Whether you're accessing a website or sending e-mail , your computer uses a DNS server to look up the domain name you're trying to access. For example, when you enter "www. But, you're probably more likely to remember "howstuffworks. In addition, a website's IP address can change over time, and some sites associate multiple IP addresses with a single domain name. Without DNS servers, the internet would shut down very quickly. But how does your computer know what DNS server to use?
Typically, when you connect to your home network , internet service provider ISP or WiFi network, the modem or router that assigns your computer's network address also sends some important network configuration information to your computer or mobile device. So far, you've read about some important DNS basics. The rest of this article dives deeper into domain name servers and name resolution.