IP Address or Internet Protocol
As you can imagine, the original creators of the Internet recognized the need for a flexible addressing system powerful enough to accommodate the enormous number of current and future users.
They decided that every device on the Internet would be given an Internet Protocol (IP) address, just as every house and business is given a street address. Instead of a street address format, such as 123 Main Street, a 32-bit address format is used, such as the following:
This IP address format is also referred to as a “dotted quad,” because the series of numbers is divided into four numbers, separated by a period, or “dot.” Each of the four numbers is between
0 and 255. Some number values are reserved, but there are roughly 256 x 256 x 256 x 256 different IP addresses possible—approximately four billion. Nevertheless, it is possible that the current supply of IP addresses will be depleted. As more commercial enterprises join the Internet, IP address demand continues to increase.