An IP Address – or Internet Protocol Address is a method to uniquely identify different devices on a network. There are two types of IP addressing known as IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 is the type in common use as is required by Art-Net.
The newer version, IPv6, is currently being tested on the Internet. It is intended to address the problem that the Internet will soon use up all the available IPv4 addresses. IPv6 is a 128-bit address compared to the 32-bit address range of IPv4.
The IPv4 address is made up of two parts, the host address (HostId) and the network address (NetId). The reason for this is that an ‘internet’ can contain numerous networks. Splitting the IP address into these two sections gives huge benefits when routing data.
A network variable called the Subnet Mask is used to define the relative size of the NetId and the HostId. The diagram below shows this:
The letters ‘n’ and ‘h’ represent bits in the NetId and HostId parts of the IP address. The subnet mask can divide the two parts of the IP address at any bit value. However it is usual to do so on a byte boundary. Indeed the IP addresses that divide on a byte boundary have specific names:
The IP is expressed in either a long word format (0x12345678) or dot format (188.8.131.52). Convention is that the former is hexadecimal and the latter is decimal. The IP uniquely identifies any Nodes or Controllers on a network.
Art-Net can operate on any IP scheme, but defaults to a Class A network.