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Private IP Address – What Is a Private IP Address?

A private IP address is a non-routable address of your device assigned by the network router. Every device connected to the same network has a private IP or network address. An IP address allows devices connected over the same network to communicate. 

What Is a Private IP Address?

Private IP addresses allow the connected device to communicate without connecting with the Internet. 

An IP address with specified non-routable ranges is a private IP address. Corporations and enterprises use private IP addresses to boost security within a network and prevent external users or hosts from establishing a connection. For example, you can connect your printer to your wireless connection and print documents, but your neighbor cannot send commands to your printer. 

Learn more on Private IP Address in this article.

What Is a Private IP Address?

Private IP addresses are used to establish a network connection in enterprises, offices, or residents. All devices such as smartphones, printers, computers, or tablets connected to an internet network have a private IP address. 

A private IP address helps routers and devices identify each other, and router identification is one of the primary reasons private IP addresses were established. 

What Are Private IP Addresses?

Private IP addresses consist of both IPv6 and IPv4 addresses. 

The following configurations classify private IPv4 addresses: 

Class A 

Class A configurations range between 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255. Class A is employed by large network connections with up to 24 bits for host and 8 bits for networks. 

Class B 

Class B configurations range between 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255. Class B is employed for mid-scale networks with 16 bits for host and network. 

Class C 

Class C configurations range between 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255. Small networks employ class C with 8 bits for the host and 24 bits for the network. 

Class A private IP addresses can have up to 16 million addresses, whereas class B allows 1 million addresses, and class C allows up to 65,000 addresses. Private IP address ranges are limited as they are reprocessed on various private networks. That’s not the case with public IP addresses, as they are identifiable.

Why Do We Need Private IP Addresses? 

Corporate networks and residential areas use private IP addresses to prevent outsiders from accessing the network. Your local internet service provider may use a single IPv4 address for customers in the same locality. A port address is used to translate the IP address to different addresses and allow multiple devices to have a single assigned address. So, using a network or port address translator enables users to connect to different hosts. 

Companies use private IP addresses to strengthen their security and restrict the use of the Internet to internal users. 

Privacy and Protection 

Data protection is one of the key advantages of private IP addresses. Devices in a private IP address are not connected to the public Internet, restricting the entry and exit of data outside the network. For companies, sensitive data is secured and accessed only by connected devices. 

Security 

A private IP address is protected from viruses and malware attacks because it restricts public access. So, compared to public IP addresses, private IP addresses are less likely to be attacked with malware and data breaches.

All devices such as phones, tablets, or computers within a private network can benefit from a private IP address with no limitation. However, the same is not true for public IP addresses. 

Moreover, a private IP address allows communication between devices that do not need an internet connection, such as printers, scanners, or file servers.

How to Use a Private IP address?

If you have a private IP address, you cannot directly get traffic from the Internet. Instead, you have to utilize Network Address Translation (NAT) to use the same public IP address for multiple devices to access the internet. 

For example, if your internet service gives you an IP address with the range 10.10.10.10, it will be presented online as a public address 122.122.122.122. This is called the Network Address Translation (NAT). Therefore, the ISP must provide you with a public IP Address to access your company or home network devices from the Internet. 

But how do we identify which IP is linked to which IP address if we have thousands of private IPs and only one public address? We use Port Address Translation (PAT) to resolve this, which performs port mappings to maintain router tables.

Another commonly asked question is how to know your IP address. Knowledge of your private IP is helpful in rare situations. For example, if you want to connect two systems on a network, you can use the private IP address. Or when establishing a remote desktop to maneuver a computer from afar, knowing your IP address comes in handy. 

You can use a VPN to mask your IP with a virtual location if you hide your IP address. VPN encrypts your data and personal information. Users can also hide their IP address with a web proxy to create an unidentifiable anonymous IP address.

What About Enterprise Usage of Private IP Addresses?

Why should an enterprise choose a private IP address? For security. While public IP addresses are more convenient and simpler to use, private IP addresses are more secure. Think of a private address as an isolated space with no communication to the outside. Your data and information remain secure in a private IP address, and the probability of being affected by viruses or malware is much less. 

Secured information means the business devices are protected from hackers and breaches. So, if data security and privacy are essential to your business operations, a private IP network is an ideal choice. 

However, private IP addresses come with additional work. A closed network means you need more tools to access the Internet and connect to a public network. Enterprises may need to invest in network-based IP VPNs to perform secure business transactions. Additional tools mean additional resources to manage the network. Based on this information, enterprises can decide whether a private IP address is more suitable for their business or a public IP. 

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