Each smartphone, computer, IoT device, or any other device must have an IP address to connect to the Internet. Without it, it won’t have a universal identifier that everybody on the network can understand. The IP address that you can get can be a Dynamic IP address or Static IP address, but today we will focus our attention on the first one.
What is an IP?
IP stands for Internet Protocol, and it is a set of communication rules that devices need to use and obey to use the network of networks called the Internet. A part of its set of rules is the IP addresses, which are the identifier of the devices. One device needs to present itself with its IP address, and it requires the IP address of another so that it can send any data packet.
How do you get an IP address?
There are two types of IP addresses depending on their connectivity to external networks. A private IP address is used just inside your private network, and public IP address is used to identify the device or devices on the Internet.
Both can be assigned manually (static IP address) or dynamically with IP management like the DHCP server.
Dynamic IP address
A dynamic IP address is a temporary address that serves to identify a device on a network. The device must use it to connect, send and receive data packets with the rest of the devices on the network. It is called dynamic because there is a mechanism, usually a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server, that automatically assigns an IP address to every new connected device for some time. After a while, when the time runs out, the device needs to ask again for a new IP address to continue using the network.
The DHCP server keeps the account – lease period of IP addresses and manages the complete pool of IP addresses. The Dynamic IP address allocation saves an enormous amount of time for network administrators. This is because they don’t need to do all the work manually.
When you are getting an Internet service for your home or office, you will almost for sure get a Dynamic IP address. It will automatically change, and our device identifier will change. That is not a problem for most people, but there could be some situations when having a static IP address is better, like remote access and some service hosting.
Pros of Dynamic IP addresses
Easy to use. A DHCP server will automatically manage the IP addresses without the need for human interaction in most cases.
It could be more economical. The static IP addresses cost, and they are running out (IPv4 addresses), so the price is rising. The Dynamic IP addresses are a lot more cost-efficient.
Less risk. If you have an important device (server) that uses a Dynamic IP address, it is harder for hackers to attack it. It will change its address over time.
Cons of Dynamic IP addresses
Single point of failure. If the DHCP server is down, so is the complete network, and this will stop the communication.
Dynamic IP addresses might be a problem in the case of some services like surveillance, VoIP, or hosting websites. However, there is a solution, and it is called Dynamic DNS. It links the IP address to a domain name and creates a method of automatic IP update. That way, you can still use a server with a dynamic IP address and offer a service to external users.
Even though IPv6 might provide enough addresses for all the devices, we will still use Dynamic IP addresses because of their convenient use.