Types of IP Addresses
While these are divided into 4 groups, we can actually split them into two. The first two octets refer to the network, and the last two reference the host.
The first octet defines the class of the object; it is the only part of the IP address that is assigned by the InterNIC authority.
If an address falls in the first 128 bits (0-127) this means that is a class A network. There are only, therefore, 127 class A addresses. Each of these can handle up to 16,777,214 hosts.For class A networks, these remaining numbers can be set up by the network administrator to manage hosts. In other words these are reserved for very large networks such as major governmental resources or major providers.
Class B networks, which fall in the range of 128-191, use 16 bits for the network address, and 16 bits for the host numbers. In this case, the first two bytes are assigned by the InterNIC , and the remaining bytes are assigned by the network administrator.
Class C addresses cover the range between 192.0.0.* and 223.255.255.*.
Class D covers the range between 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52, and is reserved for multicasting. Tthis data is not limited to a particular host.
Class E is an experimental range which covers between 240.*.*.* and 255.*.*.*
What information can I get from an IP address?
There is certain information you can get directly from an IP address, such as its location and whether the IP address is using a VPN or if the IP address is using a proxy. However, you typically would need a third party data provider like Abstract's IP Geolocation API to enrich this data for you.
These concepts are a little difficult to cover in a short article such as this one, and there are many more elaborations that can occur, such as with the use of subnets, and more for distributing resources within a network. What we can see is that there is a great deal to be understood in the structure of an IP address.
While you can break apart each of these elements and then look them up one of the central databases for determining who manages which ranges, it’s often easier to make uses of external APIs, which do a lot of the difficult legwork with you.