IP Address Definitions

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Common terms, definitions, and acronyms for IP address terminology.

The following is a list of definitions and short explanations for some commonly-used terms and acronyms on this site. Many of these terms refer to Internet and networking-related functions and protocols with which some may not be familiar.

ARIN

American Registry for Internet Numbers. A Regional Internet Registry (RIR) that manages IP address space allocation, transfer, and record maintenance, DNS, among other Internet related functions. The ARIN service region includes Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands, and the United States.

ARP

Address Resolution Protocol. A network protocol that is used to convert an IP addresses to physical addresses or MAC addresses. The protocol operates using a request and reply functionality and operates within a solitary network.

ccTLD

Country-Code Top Level Domain. An Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, a sovereign state, or a dependent territory. Every two-letter TLD is or originated as a ccTLD, including the recently public domains .co and .me.

DHCP

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A network protocol used to allow devices on a network to communicate via Internet Protocol (IP). DHCP is used by most routers, and enables connected devices on the network to operate simultaneously while connected to the Internet.

DNS

Domain Name System or Domain Name Service. The method of converting human-readable domain names to IP addresses.

DNSBL

DNS-based Blackhole List. A list of IP addresses and domains that have been identified by malicious by one or more sources. The list provides security at the DNS level, providing an additional barrier of security for end-users.

DDNS

Dynamic Domain Name System/Service. DNS that is configured to periodically update without user intervention or maintenance. This provides static IP address functionality for dynamic IP addressing.

FTP

File Transfer Protocol. A network protocol that is used to transfer files over a network, such as the Internet. The default port for FTP is port 21 for most machines. One drawback to FTP is security, which is listed in RFC 2577.

gTLD

Generic Top-Level Domain. A type of top-level domain that is open for use for any purpose. gTLDs are maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for use in the DNS of the Internet.

HTTP

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. The network protocol that is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. The default port for HTTP is port 80.

IANA

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. IANA is responsible for IP addressing and other Internet protocol resources.

IEEE

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Pronounced “Eye-triple-E,” this organization is a technical community involving Internet professionals from around the world collaborating to promote technological advancement.

ICANN

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN coordinates IANA functions as they pertain to the Domain Name System (DNS).

IETF

Internet Engineering Task Force. “The goal of the IETF is to make the Internet work better.” The IETF maintains documents that govern protocols and methods of organization on the Internet.

IMAP

Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP is a protocol for e-mail retrieval. IMAP allows an e-mail client to access e-mail on a remote mail server. An example of IMAP functionality includes the ability of a smart phone to access one’s email from a built-in mail application.

IP

Internet Protocol.

IPv4

Internet Protocol Version 4. The fourth version of the Internet Protocol and the first of the IP versions to become widely used.

IPv6

Internet Protocol Version 6.The sixth version of the Internet Protocol, created to address the shortage in IP addresses under IPv4.

ISP

Internet Service Provider. A communications company that offers Internet connectivity as a service to consumers and businesses.

LAN

Local Area Network.

MAC

Media Access Control. A 48-bit address used to identify a network interface controller.

MIME

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions.

NIC

Network Interface Controller. A piece of hardware that provides an interface for electronic devices to connect to a network. Examples include a wireless network card or Ethernet controller.

NS

Name Server. A server responsible for maintaining DNS records, which point IP addresses to distinct domain names.

P2P

Peer to Peer. A networking model that involves the sharing of data or information across multiple clients.

POP

Post Office Protocol.

Port

An application-specific or process-specific connection to a network.

rDNS

Reverse Domain Name System. The resolution of IP addresses to domain names.

RFC

Request for Comments. Memorandums published and maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). RFCs are simply “technical and organizational notes about the Internet”. The RFCs contain information about many aspects of computer networking. Some aspects of networking that are recorded include protocols, procedures, programs, and concepts.

SMTP

Simple Mail Transport Protocol. See RFC 2821 – IETF.

SURBL

A list of websites that have appeared in unsolicited messages, or SPAM.

TCP

Transmission Control Protocol.

TLD

Top-Level Domain

UDP

User Datagram Protocol.

VLAN

Virtual Local Area Network

VPN

Virtual Private Network

WAN

Wide Area Network

WhoIs

Owner information of a domain name.

WWW

World Wide Web.