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Last Updated: 4/4/2011 7:46 PM
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Public vs. Private: Types of IP Addresses

By Erik Rodriguez

Tags: Public vs. Private IP Addresses, ,non-routable IP space, private IP space, Private IP with NAT, RFC 1918

This article provides information different types of IP addresesses. Public addresses and private addresses are disucussed and examples are given.


As the Internet grew, the original design became harder to operate. Public IP addresses used by websites, cellular phones, and other devices quickly started descreasing the total number of IP addresses available. By design, the Internet has a maximum of 4,294,967,296 public IP addresses. To help preserve these addresses, private (non-routable) IP address space was assigned. In conjunction with NAT, this significantly reduces the number of addresses needed. The list below shows the 3 ranges of IP addresses which are reserved for private use.
  • - (16,777,216 addresses)
  • - (1,048,576 addresses)
  • - (65,536 addresses)

Private Address Operation

The address space above is defined by an RFC (specifically RFC 1918) which designates these for private use and non-routable. Non-routable simply means these ranges can not be used in the public Internet. They are designated for use on internal networks and usually in conjunction with NAT. Most residential broadband routers such as Linksys, D-Link, and Netgear will use by default. This is the most common private address space.

Large network found in data centers and corporate offices, commonly use a range with more address space. The and are preferred. These address ranges can have their subnets split further to assign to different physical or logical networks. Those networks can then be NATed to the Intneret or routed internally between different VLANs.

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