If you tried to enter the administrative console of your broadband router or your wireless access point by typing 192.168.0.1.1 in the address bar of your web browser, and got to Google search results instead — there is nothing wrong with your router, you’ve just made one of the most typical user mistakes with regard to IP addresses. Here’s our short guide on how not to repeat it.
What is an IP address
The world uses TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) addressing scheme to identify devices on the web. IANA, a U.S.-based organization, regional Internet-registrars and the local ISPs are in charge of assigning IP addresses to Internet users.
An IP address is a binary number, which appears as a series of four numbers (0—255 each) separated by three dots. For instance, 192.168.O.1 is a valid IP address, while 192.168.0.1.1 is just a random combination of numbers.
Every IP address contains 32 bits (4 bytes) of data, and the current IPv4 protocol provides for around 4,22 billion unique IP addresses, most of which have already been assigned. Even though the new IPv6 protocol has already been created to solve the IP address shortage problem, it still makes a lot of sense to group multiple devices and users into groups and link them to the same IP identifier.
External vs internal IP addresses
For web identification purposes ISPs assign to every new account a unique IP address, a block of IP addresses or a dynamic IP within a certain range. However, the number of machines that can use the Internet with this IP address is not limited to one: desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, cameras and many other devices can be grouped into local networks, where the machines connect via Ethernet wires or Wi-Fi radio bands (5 GHz/2.4 GHz frequency).
In a local network every device would get an internal identificator called ‘local’, ‘private’, ‘internal’ or ‘LAN’ IP address. This address would fully match the IPv4 standard, but will not be used anywhere outside the local network. That’s the reason why millions of users get access to their broadband routers or wireless access points using the same typical internal IP addresses (192.168.0.1, 192.168.l.l or 192.168.l.254 and others), but the devices are never confused.