Fundamentals of communication and networkingː IP standards

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PAPER 2 - ⇑ Fundamentals of communication and networking ⇑

← Subnet masks IP standards Public and private IP addresses →


IP Standards[edit]

The Internet protocol has evolved over a period of time and undergone several versions. IP version 4 (IPv4) has been the main version through the explosive growth of the Internet through the 80s, 90s and into the 21st century. With a 32 bit address field there are over 4 billion addresses. However due to the way the addresses were subdivided, the way they were allocated and used and the growth, no more addresses are available for new networks. NAT has gone a long way to alleviate the problem, but demand is such that a new and bigger address space has been developed. This is IP version 6 (IPv6). This new version has a 128 bit address field and many new features.

IPv4[edit]

Ipv4 is covered by RFP 791 in all its detail.

IPv4 Header Format
Offsets Octet 0 1 2 3
Octet Bit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
0 0 Version IHL DSCP ECN Total Length
4 32 Identification Flags Fragment Offset
8 64 Time To Live Protocol Header Checksum
12 96 Source IP Address
16 128 Destination IP Address
20 160 Options (if IHL > 5)


Fields of interest are

  • Version - 4 or 6
  • DSCP - This is a priority field allowing for some packets to be marked as higher priority than others.
  • Identification - This allows for duplicate packets to be ignored, or missing packets to be flagged up.
  • TTL - Time to Live. This is decremented by 1 each time the packet goes through a router. At 0, the packet is deleted.
  • Protocol - This describes what the IP packet is encapsulating.
  • Source Address - the 32 bit IP address of the Source
  • Destination Address - the 32 bit IP address of the destination.

IPv6[edit]

Ipv6 was first covered by RFP 2460 in all its detail, but is often being superceeded.

This version allocates 128 bits for addresses. This is 232 addresses ( 7.9×10 28)


Ipv6 header.svg