Internet Protocol (IP)
The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagrams (packets) across an internetwork using the Internet Protocol Suite. Responsible for routing packets across network boundaries, it is the primary protocol that establishes the Internet.
IP is the primary protocol in the Internet Layer of the Internet Protocol Suite and has the task of delivering datagrams from the source host to the destination host solely based on their addresses. For this purpose, IP defines addressing methods and structures for datagram encapsulation.
IP is a connectionless protocol and does not need circuit setup prior to transmission.
the Internet Protocol only provides best effort delivery and its service can also be characterized as unreliable.
Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth revision in the development of the Internet Protocol (IP) and it is the first version of the protocol to be widely deployed.
IPv4 uses 32-bit (four-byte) addresses, which limits the address space to 4,294,967,296 (232) possible unique addresses. However, some are reserved for special purposes such as private networks (~18 million addresses) or multicast addresses (~270 million addresses). This reduces the number of addresses that can potentially be allocated for routing on the public Internet. As addresses are being incrementally delegated to end users, an IPv4 address shortage has been developing
Originally, an IP address was divided into two parts, the network identifier represented in the most significant (highest order) octet of the address and the host identifier using the rest of the address. The latter was therefore also called the rest field. This enabled the creation of a maximum of 256 networks. Quickly this was found to be inadequate.