What is IPv4?

IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4, is the fourth iteration of the protocol that assigns unique addresses to devices on a network, allowing devices and services to recognize each other and exchange information over the Internet. It was established in 1982 and is still widely used today.

Each IPv4 address is a 32-bit number. It consists of four groups separated by periods, each containing a value between 0 and 255 in the format "". These IPv4 addresses provide approximately 4.3 billion unique identifiers, while also reserving blocks for specific networking functions.

How does IPv4 work?

The operation of IPv4 involves several key steps to ensure accurate data transmission across the internet:

1. Address Assignment: Each device on the network is assigned with a unique 32-bit IP address, which identifies it on the internet.

2. Data Packaging: When sending information, IPv4 packages your data into packets. Each packet includes the sender's and receiver's IP addresses.

3. Routing: These addresses guide routers in directing packets toward their intended destinations through optimal paths.

4. Fragmentation (if needed): If packets are too large for certain parts of the network, IPv4 splits them into smaller fragments. These fragments are reassembled back into their original form when they reach their final destination.

5. Quality of Service Management: IPv4 can prioritize traffic based on QoS settings, ensuring that high-priority tasks (like video calls) maintain performance even when networks are busy.

6. NAT Process: To conserve address space, Network Address Translation allows multiple devices on a local network to share a single public IP address for accessing the internet.

Advantages of IPv4:

1. Simplicity: The structure of IPv4 is straightforward, allowing networks to quickly recognize the information contained in IPv4, including sender and receiver IP addresses. Therefore, it is easier for networks to process and send data based on the information.

2. Broad Compatibility: IPv4 has been in use for decades, so most current devices and operating systems support it.

3. Proven Reliability: IPv4 has undergone thorough testing and continuous improvement since its adoption and is now very reliable and robust.

Limitations of IPv4:

1. Address Exhaustion: Due to the use of 32-bit IP addresses, IPv4 provides only about 4.3 billion available IP addresses. With the explosive growth of the Internet and the Internet of Things, the number of available addresses is rapidly running out. As a result, the IETF released IPv6, whose 128-bit address space provides an almost inexhaustible supply of 340 billion available addresses.

2. Absence of Security Enhancements: IPv4 lacks some advanced security features compared to IPv6, making it more susceptible to cyber threats such as session hijacking, IP spoofing, and DDoS attacks.


1. How do I check my IPv4?

You can check your IPv4 address with tools available on the web. For example, X-VPN has launched a free IP address checker tool that can check your IPv4 address and some of the information it contains.

2. How can I protect my IPv4 address?

Protecting your IPv4 address and your digital privacy can be effective with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts internet data and reroutes it through a remote VPN server, masking your IP address and significantly enhancing the confidentiality of your online interactions.