Internet Protocol Version 4


Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth iteration of the Internet Protocol. It is a widely-used protocol responsible for addressing and routing data packets across networks. IPv4 utilizes 32-bit addressing, resulting in a limited number of unique IP addresses (approximately 4.3 billion).


The phonetics for “Internet Protocol Version 4” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be:/ˈɪntərnɛt prəˈtoʊkəl vərʒən fɔr/Breaking it down by word:- Internet: /ˈɪntərnɛt/- Protocol: /prəˈtoʊkəl/- Version: /vərʒən/- 4: /fɔr/

Key Takeaways

  1. IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol which uses a 32-bit address space, offering a maximum of 4.3 billion unique addresses.
  2. It is a connectionless protocol, allowing data to be transmitted between devices without establishing a connection first, utilizing packet switching.
  3. IPv4 might suffer from address depletion, hence, IPv6 was introduced with a significantly larger address space to accommodate the increasing number of devices connected to the internet.


The Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is a crucial technology term because it serves as the foundation of the modern internet by defining how devices communicate within the network.

The IPv4 establishes a unique addressing system, facilitating data transmission between billions of devices.

This essential protocol also enables error detection and fragmentation for seamless information exchange among various networks.

As a dominant part of the Internet Protocol Suite, IPv4 plays a central role in enabling global connectivity.

Although the newer IPv6 version has emerged in response to the shortage of available IPv4 addresses, it is the widespread use and compatibility of IPv4 that remains essential for the functioning of the digital world.


Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is a critical element in today’s digital world, serving numerous purposes to ensure seamless and efficient communication among devices across the globe. Primarily designed to facilitate unique identification and address allocation for each device connected to a network, IPv4 provides the foundation for data transmission, initiating and managing essential connections between devices over the internet.

Its primary objective lies in making certain that data packets are correctly routed between sender and receiver, despite complications such as dynamic device locations, hardware diversity, and ever-evolving networks. Implemented in 1983, IPv4 has reliably dictated the rules for device communication, while enabling a myriad of digital applications ranging from online communication and media streaming to e-commerce and remote work.

Beneath this seemingly infinite array of services, IPv4 works tirelessly to facilitate the accurate exchange of information, employing strategies to divide and reassemble data into smaller packets for linear transfer. Moreover, IPv4’s robust error-checking mechanisms continually ensure the integrity and security of transmitted data.

Although IPv4’s address space limitation has contributed to the subsequent development of IPv6, its unwavering performance and services continue to uphold the majority of the internet’s daily operations.

Examples of Internet Protocol Version 4

Home networks: Many homes have Internet-connected devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. IPv4 is used to allocate IP addresses for these devices, allowing them to communicate with each other and access the Internet. It is common for home networks to use a private IP range (for example,

x) with the help of a router that translates these addresses to connect to the public Internet.

Websites and web hosting: When browsing the Internet, users need to access websites hosted on servers around the world. These servers use IPv4 addresses to identify their location on the Internet. For example, when you visit, your computer sends a request to the IP address associated with that domain, such as

The Internet uses IPv4 to route your request to the correct server and fetch the website data back to your device.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices: The rapid proliferation of smart, connected devices brings new applications for IPv4 technology. IoT devices such as smart thermostats, security cameras, and wearable devices rely on IP addresses to connect and communicate over the Internet. Although IPv6 is increasingly being used for IoT devices to accommodate the growing number of connected devices, many of these devices still use IPv4 to connect to the Internet and exchange data.

FAQ about Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)

What is Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)?

Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based internetworking methods in the Internet and facilitates the transmission of data packets between devices over a network.

How does IPv4 addressing work?

IPv4 uses a 32-bit address space, which allows for a total of 4,294,967,296 unique IP addresses. These addresses are usually represented in dot-decimal notation with four numbers separated by periods, for example, Each segment can range from 0 to 255, making for a total of 256 possible values.

What are the different types of IPv4 addresses?

There are several types of IPv4 addresses, including public, private, and multicast. Public addresses are globally unique and routable on the Internet, while private addresses are reserved for internal use within local area networks (LANs) and are not routable on the public Internet. Multicast addresses enable one-to-many communication between devices, mainly used for broadcasting purposes.

What is subnetting in IPv4?

Subnetting is the process of dividing an IP address space into smaller subnetworks. This helps manage and allocate IP addresses more efficiently and provides better network security by isolating different segments. In IPv4, subnetting is typically done by using a subnet mask, which indicates which parts of the IP address represent the network address and which parts represent the host address.

Why are we transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6?

The main reason for the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is the depletion of available IPv4 address space. Since IPv4 can only support 4.3 billion unique IP addresses, it became insufficient to accommodate the rapid growth of the Internet. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address space, which provides a vastly larger number of unique IP addresses and allows for improved efficiency and functionality in network routing.

Related Technology Terms

  • IPv4 Addressing
  • Subnet Mask
  • Default Gateway
  • Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

Sources for More Information


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