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What is an IP address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the unique number that gets assigned to your connected device. Every mobile phone, laptop, cable box, tablet, server, along with thousands of other types of devices that are connected to a computer network has one. Much like how a street address identifies where you live, an IP address functions as the identifying "street address" of the device, and allows companies to see where the device is located and route traffic to the nearest server for faster connections and lower latency. The most widely used version of IP today is Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) however, due to the limit on the number of IPv4 addresses that can be allocated, Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is rapidly being adopted in the industry.

Why is an IP address needed?

An IP address is assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

How do I get an IP address?

IP addresses work more like the party lines used in the early phone systems. Most end-user IP addresses are dynamically assigned (from a pool of available IP addresses), rather than pre-assigned. When you connect to the Internet, your ISP assigns your computer an IP address that will likely be used during the life of that connection. These are dynamically assigned (or DHCP) IP addresses. When your device (Wi-fi laptop, cable/DSL, modem, etc.) disconnects from the Internet, some other device may be assigned that address for temporary use. Servers (e.g., Web site hosts) and other devices that are permanently connected to the Internet are often assigned, "static" IP addresses, when they need to have a "permanent address" where users or other servers can find them.

What is the difference between a Public IP address and a Private IP address?

A private IP address is an IP address that's reserved for internal use behind a router or other Network Address Translation (NAT) device, apart from the public. Private IP addresses are in contrast to public IP addresses, which are public and should not be used behind a firewall or router. All public/assigned IP addresses are global, Private IP addresses are not exposed to the internet and therefore are not routable.

What is IP Geolocation?

IP geolocation is the science of determining the physical location and Internet connection characteristics of a web visitor. IP geolocation is the technology upon which our Internet Location Intelligence platform is based.

What is the Neustar IP GeoPoint database?

Neustar's IP GeoPoint database is the authoritative source of IP decisioning data on 99.99%* of routable IP addresses worldwide. For each of the millions of IP addresses contained in our database, Neustar collects and maintains more than 40 attributes including continent, country, state, city, postal/zip, latitude/longitude, phone prefix/area code, time zone, anonymizer/proxy, hosting facility and DMA and MSA codes. With insight into both IPv4 and IPv6** addresses, we provide organizations the ability to accurately decision not only on location, but also on the type of connection the IP is using to access a site.

*IPv4 routable IP addresses
**Not all fields available for IPv6 addresses

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