Getting To Know Your Netgear IP

Most of us have had to edit our Netgear router settings at one point or another. To do so, we’ve needed the Netgear IP, which, as we’ve mentioned elsewhere, is, along with the router admin username and password, again, the factory defaults are “admin” and “password” respectively.

But what’s the meaning behind all this mysterious “IP” business? What does it stand for? What does it do? We’ve heard the term possibly a million times by now, but few of us understand the systems at work behind it. Well, despite a wee bit of jargon, it’s really pretty straightforward. Let’s dig in, shall we?

IP defined

If you’ve had any contact at all with network devices, you’ve had an encounter with IP addresses, but you might not have any idea what an IP address is. IP is an acronym that stands for “internet protocol”; IP is a communications standard that controls the format of data that is passed from an individual network to another network. The protocol determines the structure of packets of data, and when the packets adhere to the protocol, each network knows how to handle the data packets that are passed to it from another network

The IP protocol doesn’t just mandate how data packets are structured. It also establishes a system of addresses that allows the network that receives a packet to know where that packet needs to go. Every device—also known as a host—on every network has an IP address of its own, and that address is used to make sure that every packet of data that enters the network is directed toward the device that it’s intended for. Each IP address is made up of a group of numbers and separator characters. The oldest IP address format uses four numbers between 0 and 255, and each of those numbers is separated by a dot; this format is called IPv4, and it was the address format used in the original implementation of the IP protocol.

There’s a newer address format, called IPv6, that consists of eight hexadecimal numbers with colons used as separators. This format allows for a greater number of unique addresses, which is a concern as the number of networked devices has exploded in recent years. However, the IPv6 format is not yet widely used, and the IPv4 format is still the most common.

Router defined

Now that you know what an IP address is, you’ll be able to understand what a router is. The router acts as a sort of gatekeeper, examining packets as they enter the network, determining the IP address of the device the packets are intended for, and directing the packets toward their destination devices. The router has an internal routing table that provides a set of rules for the router to follow as it figures out where to send each packet.

The router’s job is easiest if the destination device is within its own network. In that case, the router can simply hand the packet off directly to the intended recipient and be done with it. Often, however, the destination lies somewhere on another network, and in that case, the router consults its routing table to determine the best path in the direction of the recipient and then passes the packet to the next closest router along the path. This is how the internet works; it is essentially a giant web of routers that pass data packets back and forth until they get to where they need to go.

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