What is IPv4 Address?

IPv4 is the first version of the Internet Protocol launched by the Department of Defense in the United States on its Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). It is capable of producing billions of IP addresses which is one of the prominent characteristics of IPv4. Since IPv4 was launched way back in 1983, we are on the verge of exhaustion of IP addresses with the emergence of more IoT devices. In this article along with learning what is IPv4 address, you will also read about the advantages and disadvantages of IPv4.

What is IPv4 Address?

What is IPv4 Address?

IPv4 is the first version of the Internet Protocol. It uses a 32-bit address space, which is the most commonly used IP address. This 32-bit address is written as four numbers separated by a decimal. Each set of numbers is called an octet. The numbers in each octet range from 0-255. IPv4 is capable of creating 4.3 billion unique IP addresses. An example of what is IPv4 address is Further in the article, we will also see how to convert the IPv4 address to binary code using IPv4 to binary converter method.

Parts of IPv4

An IP address consists of three parts:

  • Network: This part of the IP address identifies the network where the IP address belongs. The left-hand side of the IP address is called the network part.
  • Host: The Host part of an IP address is usually varying from one another to identify uniquely the device on the Internet. However, the network part is similar for each host on the network.

For example, the Network and Host parts of this IP address ( are:

234 123 42 65
Network Part Host Part
  • Subnet Number: It is an optional part of the IP address. It is the partition of an IP address into many smaller segments. It helps interconnect networks and reduces traffic.

Conversion of IPv4 addresses to binary code

While we use IPv4 as a 32-bit numerical address, computers and networks work with the binary language. Let’s understand how an IP address is converted into binary language using IPv4 to binary converter method. As we read earlier about what an octet is, the bits in each octet are denoted by a number. We will now see how to use an 8-bit Octet Chart. It consists of a number that represents the value of each bit.

128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1

This is the IP address:, which we will convert into binary language using the octet chart. Each bit in the octet is either represented as 1 or 0. The first octet consists of the number 234. Now we will have to find out what numbers from the octet chart add up to 234. The numbers that add up to 234 are 128+64+32+8+2. Likewise, all the numbers that add up are represented with 1, whereas the rest of the numbers are represented with 0.

128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1
1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0

So, the binary number for 234 comes out to be 11101010. Similarly, this process is carried out with all the octets.

  128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1
123 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1
42 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
65 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1

Therefore, the Binary Language for the IP address is 11101010.01111011.00101010.01000001

Also Read: Fix Server IP Address Could Not be Found on Windows 10

IPv4–OSI Model

OSI MODEL Layer. What are advantages and disadvantages of ipv4

The International Standards Organization has given the OSI model for communication systems. OSI stands for Open System Interconnection. This model consists of layers that explain how a system should communicate with another using different protocol. Each layer plays a crucial role in the communication system. The OSI model consists of the following layers:

  • Application (Layer 7): The Application Layer is the closest to the user. The primary function of the layer is to receive and display data from and to the users. This layer helps establish communication through the lower levels with the application on the other side. For example, TelNet and FTP.
  • Presentation (Layer 6): The Presentation Layer is meant for processing. The processing part includes either the conversion of data from the application format to the network format or from the network format to the application format. For example, encryption and decryption of data.
  • Session (Layer 5): The Session Layer comes into play when two computers need to communicate. These sessions are created in case a response is required from the user. This layer is responsible for the setup, coordination, and expiry of the session. For example, password verification.
  • Transport (Layer 4): The Transport Layer ensures all aspects of the transmission of data from one network to another, including the amount, speed, and destination of data. TCP/IP and UDP work in this layer. It receives data from the above layers, breaks it down into smaller chunks called segments and further delivers it to the Network Layer.
  • Network (Layer 3): The Network Layer is responsible for routing the data packets or segments to their destination. To be specific, this layer efficiently chooses the right path to reach the right spot.
  • Data Link (Layer 2): The data link layer is in charge of transferring the source data from the first layer, which is the physical layer, to the above- mentioned layers. This layer is also responsible for fixing the errors that occur during the transfer.
  • Physical (Layer 1): The physical layer is the last layer of the OSI model. This layer includes the communication structure and hardware components such as the cable type and length, pin layouts, voltage, etc.

IPv4 Packet Structure

An IPv4 packet consists of two parts: header and data. It is capable of carrying 65,535 bytes. The length of an IP header ranges from 20 to 60 bytes. The header includes the host and the destination address, as well as other fields of information that help the data packet reach the destination.

IPv4 Packet Header

An IPv4 Packet Header has 13 mandatory fields. Let’s understand them and their roles:

  • Version: It is a 4-bit header field. It gives information about the current version of the IP in use.
  • Internet Header Length (IHL): This is the length of the entire IP header.
  • Service Type: This field gives information about the sequence of packets in transmission.
  • Total Length: This field denotes the total length of the IP header. The minimum size for this field is 20 bytes, while the maximum size goes up to 65,535 bytes.
  • Identification: The Identification field of the header part helps identify the different parts of the packets that get separated during the transmission of data.
  • ECN: ECN stands for Explicit Congestion Notification. This field is responsible for checking the overcrowding of packets in the route of transmission.
  • Flags: This is a 3-bit field that indicates if an IP packet is required to be fragmented or not according to its data size.
  • Fragment Offset: Fragment Offset is a 13-bit field. It enables the sequence and positing of the fragmented data in an IP packet.
  • Time to Live (TTL): It is a set of values that are sent along with each data packet, with the motive to avoid encircling the data packet. The number value attached to each IP packet decreases by one after coming across each router on its route. As soon as the TTL value reached one, the IP packet is scrapped.
  • Protocol: Protocol is an 8-bit field that is responsible for conveying the Network Layer information about which protocol an IP packet belongs to.
  • Header Checksum: This field takes charge of spotting communication errors in the headers and the received data packets.
  • Source IP Address: This is a 32-bit field, which consists of the IPv4 address of the sender.
  • Destination IP Address: This is a 32-bit field, which consists of the IPv4 address of the receiver.
  • Options: The Options field come into use when the length of the IHL is greater than 5.

Now, let us learn about characteristics of IPv4 protocol and advantages and disadvantages of IPv4.

Also Read: 10 Best Public DNS Servers in 2022: Comparison & Review

Characteristics of IPv4

Listed below are the characteristics of IPv4:

  • IPv4 uses a 32-bit IP address.
  • The numbers in the address are separated by a decimal called period.
  • It consists of unicast, multicast and broadcast address types.
  • IPv4 is structured with twelve header fields.
  • Virtual Length Subnet Mask (VLSM) is supported by IPv4.
  • It uses the Post Address Resolution Protocol for mapping to the Mac address.
  • Networks are designed with DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Program) or by using manual mode.

Internet Protocol Version 4 TCP IPv4

Advantages and Disadvantages of IPv4

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of IPv4:

Advantages of IPv4

  • IPv4’s network allotment and compatibility are commendable.
  • It has a productive routing service.
  • IPv4 addresses provide perfect encoding.
  • It can easily attach to multiple devices over a network.
  • It is the specific means of communication, mostly in the multicast organization.

Disadvantages of IPv4

  • IPv4 addresses are on the edge of exhaustion.
  • IPv4 system management is labour -Intensive, complicated, and slow.
  • It provides inefficient and insufficient Internet routing.
  • Its optional security feature.

Hence, these were advantages and disadvantages of IPv4 protocol.


Although, there has been a shift happening to the advanced version of IPv4 which is IPv6. Despite the depletion of IPv4 addresses it continues to be in use because of its compatibility. We hope that our doc has guided you extremely well in learning about what is IPv4 address. Leave your queries or suggestions, if any, in the comments section below.

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