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5 Things You Didn't Know About IPv4 Addresses

The hidden world of IP addresses

If you’ve ever thought about how devices communicate with each other on the Internet, you’ve probably come across the concept of an IP address. IP stands for Internet Protocol, and the version we use most is IPv4. But there are certainly some facts about IPv4 that you don’t know yet. Here are five interesting things you probably didn’t know.

IPv4 is older than you think

IPv4 was introduced back in 1981. That makes the protocol older than many of the users who rely on it today. In the early years of the Internet, it was unthinkable that the supply of approximately 4.3 billion addresses would ever run out. But with the explosive growth of the internet and the number of connected devices, that has happened.

Addresses are unevenly distributed

Not all regions in the world have an equal amount of IPv4 addresses. In the early days of the Internet, large blocks of addresses were assigned to organizations and regions without strict controls. This has led to an uneven distribution with some areas in deficit and others in surplus.

IPv4 addresses are reusable and valuable

Because new IPv4 addresses are scarce, a secondary market has emerged where you can buy and sell these addresses. Companies such as Prefixbroker.com offer a platform where you can securely purchase IPv4 addresses. This is essential for companies that are growing and need more online presence but are faced with the limited availability of new addresses.

IPv4 and IPv6 live side by side

You would think that with the arrival of IPv6, IPv4 would disappear completely. However, both protocols coexist. IPv6 was designed to solve the address shortage and offers an almost unlimited number of addresses. However, the transition to IPv6 has not happened as quickly as expected, meaning IPv4 is still relevant.

Privacy and security within IPv4

Each IPv4 address can potentially be traced to a physical location. This raises privacy and security issues. Fortunately, there are techniques such as dynamic IP addresses and network masking that help protect user privacy. Yet it is good to be aware of the digital footprint you leave behind.