Confused by phrases like Internet Protocol (IP), IPv6, IPv4 and IPng? Webopedia explains the difference between IPv4 and IPv6, and looks at the topic of migrating to a 128-bit address space.
What is Internet Protocol (IP)?
IP (short for Internet Protocol) specifies the technical format ofpackets and the addressing scheme for computers to communicate over a network. Most networks combine IP with a higher-level protocol called Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which establishes a virtual connection between a destination and a source.
IP by itself can be compared to something like the postal system. It allows you to address a package and drop it in the system, but there’s no direct link between you and the recipient. TCP/IP, on the other hand, establishes a connection between two hosts so that they can send messages back and forth for a period of time.