Understanding Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)

IP address – What is it?

The IP (Internet Protocol) address helps with identifying most of the elements inside a network. Each device, laptop, computer, smartphone, etc., requires an IP address to successfully connect to a private network. Also, when we are talking about connecting to the Internet, we have the same case. The user is receiving a public IP address provided by an Internet service provider (ISP). For the purpose of operating accurately, servers also have a public IP address.

Thanks to IP addresses, the Internet is able to recognize different participants, devices, which every communication contains. The IP address also gives its location in the network. That makes the machines available to exchange data and communicate.

IPv4 explained.

IPv4 is short for Internet Protocol version 4. It is represented with a numerical string composed of four groups. Each group contains a number between 0 and 254, and they are separated by dots. It is a 32-bit address. For example, IPv4 looks like: 124.47.125.143.

This version of the IP address is a connectionless protocol. That is the reason why it doesn’t need a prior adjustment between the two endpoints for the connection to operate successfully. To make it simple, devices are able to send data to a recipient and don’t have to check if it is available first. 

IPv4 determines addresses, packets’ format, and routes data. On the networks, a lot of data is communicated every second. If those data are too big to be carried to their destination, IPv4 is capable of detecting that. So with the help of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), the data is divided into smaller pieces and is easier to transport. Also, on every data packet is going to be written the IP address of their destination, and their route is also set. So until they reach their target, they are going to travel through nodes, routers, etc. 

If devices want to connect to a network and be able to use its resources, they need IPv4 addresses. That way, with the implementation of IPv4, they can be successfully located and identified on a network.

No matter IPv4 was first described in 1981, it is still a very commonly used IP version. The newer version and future replacement is the IPv6. It is already in use, and it is operating accurately. However, achieving the whole transition from IPv4 to IPv6 requires more time.  

Advantages

IPv4 addresses are simpler, and their structure includes fewer numbers. On the other hand, the new version of IPv6 has a more complicated format. This matters when we are talking about manual tasks. With IPv4, the possibility for human mistakes is way more reduced.   

The compatibility of IPv4 is much more extensive. Both the older and newer systems support this version of Internet Protocol without any problems. On the other side, version 6 of the IP address is supported only by most modern devices.

The topology is a lot easier and simpler to be applied on networks.

What is IPAM, and why is it important?

What does IPAM mean?

IPAM is short for IP Address Management. It is a method of IP scanning and IP address tracking. It manages the data correlated with a network’s Internet Protocol address range and IPAM system. As a result, administrators are able to guarantee that the list of assignable IP addresses is up to date and enough with IPAM software and IP tools. It comes to make things simple and automates the management of many duties for maintaining IPs. With the IPAM network, are also common functionalities, such as managing reservations in DHCP, reporting, and data collection.

How does it work?

IPAM assists with numerous tasks, and each has its own process. As a result, there can be variations in the technical way they work.

It handles three essential things in every network: IP addresses, Domain Name System (DNS), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). They produce fundamental data for IPAM to accomplish its tasks.

To receive details from all your network’s devices, IPAM uses Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), and neighborhood scanning. SNMP is capable of collecting and organizing information about IP networks’ devices. 

With the combination of such tech and further monitoring tools, IPAM is able to receive the needed information to control the IP address range o your network. The whole statistics and information is saved in a database and can be easily accessed.

IPAM combination with DNS and DHCP

Administrators who manage DNS and DHCP services can benefit from IPAM. IPAM tools can be effective on their own, but they can’t solve alone underlying problems frequently associated with decentralized network based systems.

If you apply IPAM software on its own, the absence of integration with DNS and DHCP can be a problem. This is because these core networks roles are strongly tied to each other. If you want your IPAM data much more accurate, keep DNS and DHCP data synced. It would be a lot more valuable that way.

Operating without it

You can operate without IPAM, but it will be more challenging. The IT team can handle a small network with a simple spreadsheet. It will contain a table of IPs, routers, connected devices and port numbers. For a bigger network, this way of managing will be very problematic. It will be the admin’s job to check the extensive number of IPs and constantly will have to update the spreadsheet.

Here are some of the problems that probably will occur:

  • Troubleshooting difficulties. Everything is more complicated when it has to be done manually. Discovering the specific network issue can be a nightmare. It could take a lot of valuable time.
  • Safety problems. The chance for security breaches is very high. An unrecognized new device can connect to the network when the accountability is not well done.
  • IP address struggle. IP conflict is a possible scenario if there is no well-configured DHCP, and the admin is doing it manually. If two machines receive the same IP, neither one will be able to connect. If one of the devices is a server, this would surely be annoying.
  • Compliant problems. You might need reports and logs for your IP address space. It depends on the country you are in. If you are required to provide a report, it has to be proper.