An IP address is actually an Internet Protocol address and is a numerical label given to each computer or printer that is a part of a computer network and which uses the Internet Protocol for communication. This IP address serves two main functions: it provides the identification for the host or network interface and the location address. It is principally a name indicating what we look for, an address where it is and the route showing how to get there.

Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are unique numeric identifiers that are needed by each and every device that connects to the Internet. This is a shared common resource that must be managed very carefully to ensure that it continues to grow and remains stable. IP addresses are binary numbers, which are stored in text files so that they can be read easily e.g. 172.16.254.1(for Ipv4) and 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 (for IPv6). Each IP address is a 32 bit number which is known as part of the Internet Protocol Version 4 that is still in use these days. Most of the Internet is currently addressed with IP version 4 (IPv4) addresses. The more sophisticated protocol on a global level and having delegated five regional internet registries to allocate IP address block to local Internet registries also called internet service providers and other entities is the version using 128 bits was developed in 1995. The deployment of Ipv6 is ongoing since mid 2000s. However, this Internet Protocol version 6 is not meant to be a direct replacement for the Ipv4 but can be used together across the Internet.

Some Ipv6 addresses are already in use but not to the same extent as the earlier version.

The internet assigned number Authority manages the IP addresses and space locations as it has an overall responsibility for the IP address pool. If anyone wants to conduct an IP address search, he can first look at the binary number provided by his own computer or laptop and then try and search for it from the internet service providers. The regional internet registries (RIR)have been assigned large block of addresses for devices in its jurisdiction and they manage, distribute and publicly register IP address and the related number of internet resources within their regions though open and bottom up processes.

Currently there are five RIRs and these are AfriNIC for the African region, APNIC for Asia Pacific, ARIN for North America and the Caribbean, LACNIC for Latin America and RIPENCC for Europe and the middle East. Thus when an IP address search is performed, it must belong to one of these RIRs. The five RIRs together form the Number Resource Organization (NRO) which carries out joint activities of the RIRS, including joint technical projects, liaison activities and coordination of policies.

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