Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth iteration of the Internet Protocol (IP) and it is the first version of the protocol to be widely deployed. IPv4 is the dominant internet layer protocol on the Internet and apart from IPv6 it is the only standard network layer protocol used on the Internet.
IPv4 is a data-oriented protocol to be used on a packet-switched network (e.g., Ethernet). It is a best effort protocol in that it does not guarantee delivery. It does not make any guarantees on the correctness of the data; this may result in duplicated packets or packets delivered out of order. These aspects are addressed by an upper layer protocol (e.g., TCP, and partly by UDP).
IPv4 only allows addresses up to 12 digits, that is, IPv4 supports a maximum of 4.3 billion IP addresses, limiting the number of devices that can be given a unique IP address to connect to the Internet. This cap has constrained the growth of the Internet worldwide and has limited the number of computers and other devices that can be connected to one another over the Internet.
The world ran out of IPv4 addresses in February 2010.
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