How Is the IP Address Used?

How to work with the IP address

Wireless Router
Rich Legg / Getty Images is the start of the private IP address range that includes all IP addresses through Because of this, this IP address is usually not used on a network (e.g. a phone or computer is not assigned this address).

However, some networks that include in their network but do not start with this address, can use it for a device without any issues.

For perspective, one common IP address assigned to home routers is

This IP address is used because the router is on the network. In the same way, routers on the network are usually assigned the local, private IP address of

Why Most Devices Don't Use

Each Internet Protocol (IP) network consists of a continuous range of addresses. The first address number in the range is used by the protocol to designate the network as a whole. These so-called network numbers normally end in zero.

An address like becomes unusable for any other purpose once it is established as a network number. If an administrator attempts assigning to any device on that network as a static IP address, for example, the overall network will stop functioning until that device is taken offline.

Note that can still theoretically be used as a device address if that network set up with a very large address range (for example, a network that spans from through

That's why devices having IP addresses ending in zero are very rarely seen on networks, with the exception of

How Big Is the Network?

The size of the network depends on the network mask chosen. For example:

  • Ranges between and with 65,534 possible hosts
  • Ranges between and with 16,382 possible hosts
  • Ranges between and with 254 possible hosts

Home broadband routers that run on the network most commonly have as their configuration, which means they normally use as their local gateway address. This set up allows the network to assign up to 254 devices with a valid IP address, a number that's extremely high for home networks but entirely plausible based on the configuration.

Note: Home networks can only handle so many devices at once; ones that have more than even 5-7 devices connected to the router at once often notice massive performance issues. This is not due to the limitations of the network but instead things like signal interference and bandwidth sharing. 

How Works

The dotted decimal notation of IP address converts the actual binary numbers used by computers into a human readable form. The binary number corresponding to is this:

11000000 10101000 00000000 00000000

Being a private IPv4 network address, ping tests or any other connection from the Internet or other outside networks can not be routed to it.

As a network number, this address is used in routing tables and by routers to share their network information with each other.

Alternatives to

Many other addresses ending in zero can conceivably be used instead; the choice is a matter of convention.

Like what's mentioned above, home routers are usually installed on the network instead of, which means the router probably has a private IP address of