Most internet users are familiar with the term “IP address” and what it refers to. You might not be aware that there are two different types of IP addresses and that each one has particular benefits and drawbacks for you, the consumer. An IP address, also known as an internet protocol address, is essentially a unique number allocated to each device connected to a network.
Computers, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and other internet-enabled devices are all identified by this number. In the same way that houses on a street have numbers, the IP address allows devices to be identified on the network and allows them to communicate with one another. The domain name system (DNS), which functions similarly to a phone book, searches for the IP address of the website you enter in your web browser.
Each device has both an IPv4 and IPv6 address. With IPv4, which is slightly older, four sets of numbers are separated by full stops, for example, 22.214.171.124. The current internet uses IPv4, but since there are only so many addresses that can be assigned to an IPv4, IPv6 was developed. The six sets of hexadecimal numbers in this version are separated by colons, such as 2002:0bd6:73b4:0000:0001:7r4t:0673:8382. Both of these versions include static and dynamic IP addresses.
What is a static IP address?
A static IP address is one that does not change, to put it simply. Until a device is decommissioned or the network architecture is completely changed, the number assigned to it will not change. Static IP addresses are used by important devices like servers, firewalls, routers and CCTV video recorders.
Your internet service provider (ISP) will assign you a static IP address if this stipulation is included in your service agreement. Although it is possible to have a private-facing static address as well, ISPs typically only issue public-facing ones. It’s preferable to be assigned a dynamic IP address because static ones are often more expensive.
What is a dynamic IP address?
A dynamic IP address can change at any time. Dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) servers assign these as needed. Due to a lack of available static IPv4 numbers, these addresses are used. For example, a resort may use a dynamic address for each room while using a static address for its main server.
Your home or office may be assigned a dynamic number by your ISP’s DHCP server. This is why a dynamic IP address is more common for consumer devices and networks. Residential users will be given public-facing dynamic IP addresses by ISPs, which will change every day or whenever the router is rebooted. Which one is better and why should it matter to you, as the customer?
Benefits of static and dynamic addresses
Since each IP address has pros and cons based on the type of internet connection, there is no perfect IP solution for all customers and requirements. While dynamic addresses are frequently preferable for home networks, static addresses are more likely to be advantageous to businesses. Here are a few benefits of both kinds:
Static addresses are easier to manage and provide better DNS support. They make it easier for customers to find your website or server using the internet’s DNS. Additionally, they facilitate remote work, especially when using a virtual private network (VPN). A static IP is better suited to business communications, whether it be emails, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) or video conferencing.
Since the DHCP server automatically provides the next available IP number to a device, dynamic IP addresses are less expensive and easier to deploy. Additionally, dynamic addresses can be reused, allowing for unlimited use. For instance, if you purchase a new laptop, the old IP address will be automatically allocated to it and you won’t need to manually delete it. Dynamic addresses also offer better security as it is more difficult for hackers to target your device.
Drawbacks of static and dynamic IPs
Being able to pinpoint the location of your server or device with a static IP makes you more susceptible to cyber attacks and hackers. Since it will authenticate users and defend the network from certain cyberattacks, a firewall is recommended for internet networks. Additionally, ISPs typically charge a higher rate for a static address, especially for home fibre networks.
For internet-based services like email or websites, where the address could change at any time, a dynamic address is not ideal. They are, therefore, rarely used for business purposes. They limit remote access and make it more challenging for employees to work remotely. For this reason, a lot of businesses demand that staff members use a VPN to access the company server. A dynamic IP makes it more difficult to locate your network or device in the real world, which reduces the accuracy of geolocation services.
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