Computer Networking Tutorial - Internet Protocol

Below is the lesson plan for an online Internet Protocol (IP) tutorial. Each lesson contains articles and other references that explain the basics of IP networking. We recommend completing these lessons in the order listed, but the concepts of IP networking be learned in other progressions as well. Those involved in home networking have different needs than someone working on a business network, for example.

IP Address Notation

Command Prompt - Ping - Responsive IP Address
Command Prompt - Ping - Responsive IP Address. Bradley Mitchell /

IP addresses have certain rules for how they are constructed and written. Learn to recognize what IP addresses look like and how to find your IP address on different kinds of devices.

The IP Address Space

The numeric values of IP addresses fall into certain ranges. Some number ranges are restricted in how they can be used. Due to these restrictions, the process of IP address assignment becomes extremely important to get right. See the difference between private IP addresses and public IP addresses.

Static and Dynamic IP Addressing

A device can get its IP address automatically from another device on the network, or it can sometimes be set up with its own fixed (hardcoded) number. Learn about DHCP and how to release and renew assigned IP addresses.

IP Subnetting

Another restriction on how IP address ranges can be used comes from the concept of subnetting. You'll rarely find subnets of home networks, but they are a good way to keep large numbers of devices communicating efficiently. Learn what a subnet is and how to manage IP subnets.

Network Naming and Internet Protocol

The Internet would be extremely difficult to use if sites all had to be browsed by their IP addresses. Discover how the Internet manages its huge collection of domains through a Domain Name System (DNS) and how some business networks use a related technology called Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS).

Hardware Addresses and Internet Protocol

Besides its IP address, every device on an IP network also possesses a physical address (sometimes called a hardware address). These addresses are closely linked to one specific device, unlike IP addresses that can be reassigned to different devices on a network. This lesson covers Media Access Control and all about MAC addressing.

TCP/IP and Related Protocols

Many other network protocols run on top of IP. Two of them are especially important. Besides Internet Protocol itself, this is a good time to get a solid understanding of TCP and its cousin UDP.