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The Definitive Guide to Understanding IP Addresses and VPNs and Implications for Businesses

Most people are familiar with IP addresses and the purpose they serve for interfacing with a network. You may even use IP address intelligence data to meet multiple use cases in your day-to-day activities. Perhaps you are a digital marketer using it for targeted advertising; a network administrator leveraging IP address data to keep your systems secure; or an enterprise that relies on it for complying with the multitude of regulatory guidelines and licensing and copyrights agreements when operating in a global environment.

But if you’ve been confused about the myriad flavors of IP addresses, you’re not alone. IP addresses, and the entire IP space, is one of the most complex topics in business computing. That complexity makes it difficult — but not impossible — to understand.

Why is it not impossible? Because subject matter experts throughout Digital Element came together to develop this white paper as a guide to help establish a foundational understanding of how IP addresses work.

We started at the very beginning — the beginning of the Internet that is. We’ve documented how IP addresses came about, their initial purpose, their history, who assigns them, and under which conditions. We define the multiple types of IP addresses, address accuracy levels, and offer up a host of insights we can glean from IP address intelligence data.

It was not a short exercise, but we’re proud to say we can now offer The Definitive Guide to Understanding IP Addresses and VPNs and Implications for Businesses.

It was a monumental effort, but someone needed to do it. Given the critical role that the Internet plays in our day-to-day business activities and our personal lives, the world needs an authoritative resource on IP geolocation.

This is a resource for you to reference when making a host of decisions about corporate cybersecurity, customer experiences, advertising strategies, intellectual property and compliance management, and so much more.

What’s in the Digital Element IP Geolocation White Paper?

Chapter 1: Introduction. We begin with a history of IP addresses and how they came about. Importantly, we define each type of IP address (and there are many). If you’ve wondered what the differences between fixed and static IP addresses are, read this chapter.

Chapter 2: The Evolution of IP Geolocation Data. This chapter covers the history of IP geolocation data and who assigns them to whom. It also examines how the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) created an urgent problem: an impending shortage of Internet addresses, leading the Internet Society to develop IPv6, the next generation of IP addresses. This chapter explains critical concepts, such as NAT and CGNAT, and the challenges they address.

Chapter 3: IP Address Geolocation Reliability and Vulnerabilities. This chapter brings the topic closer to home, examining Digital Element’s evolution in the IP geolocation address space. The heart of this chapter recognizes that IP geolocation data has certain limitations and vulnerabilities, and what they mean for you.

Chapter 4: How IP Addresses are Allocated. This chapter looks at how IP addresses are assigned to global regions, including large IP blocks to ISPs and large corporations. It discusses why some ISPs opt to allocate IP addresses to users within a single region for higher stability, while others assign them across multiple regions. It also describes how Digital Element leverages these insights to provide critical context around IP addresses, and how they can enhance specific use cases.

Chapter 5: The VPN Market. This chapter defines types of proxies and compares their differences, including VPNs, darknets, and residential IP proxies, all of which are growing. In this chapter we describe why security teams need a nuanced understanding of the market in order to make informed decisions and prevent potential security breaches.

Chapter 6: Parting Thoughts: This chapter looks at five trends Digital Element will monitor over the next year: the 5G impact on geolocation data, IPv6 impact on IP Geolocation Methodology, IoT and IP addresses, and the mass adoption of VPNs.

The Definitive Guide to Understanding IP Addresses and VPNs and Implications for Businesses is free and available for download today. We hope you’ll find it useful and informative. If you need more information, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

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