As a business owner you are always faced with financial considerations. That question, “How can I save money?” Or, “Do I really need this?” They are common questions. When it comes to your Internet connection, we have recently described how saving money on your Internet connection is often times, not the best choice.
Then there is the matter of the static IP address. Why is this also costing you more money? Those Internet providers are always trying to find a way to take more of my money! Or, are they?
What is the Difference Between a Static IP Address and a Dynamic IP Address?
In order to understand its importance and the reason for additional costs, we must first understand the difference between a static IP address (always assigned) and a non-static IP address (called dynamic because it changes at timed intervals).
IP addresses are 32 bit numbers identifying a computer/networked device on the Internet. They are currently represented in 4 parts with dots between them, such as 10.0.0.1 or 192.168.0.1 as some of you may recognize from setting up a residential router. Those numbers represent the calling card of that computer, similar to that of your cell phone number, a unique address that lets other systems know how to find you.
Computers inside your home are most typically using dynamic IPs assigned by your home router, known as private IP addresses, because they are only known to other machines in your own network. Your router also has an dynamic IP address assigned from your Internet provider from its pool of IPs, called public IP addresses, because these addresses can talk to one another all over the world.
So your router is connected to your Internet provider which can talk to other public computers/routers. It’s also connected to you personal computer so it can make connections to those public computers. Got it?
Why Do We Have Dynamic IP Addresses?
The need for dynamic IP addresses is due to the limited number of public IP addresses available in Internet Protocol version 4, also know as IPV4.
With dynamic IP addresses, there is a pool of IPs your Internet provider can assign. When you connect to the Internet, your router is leased one IP address from that pool for a timed interval. When the interval is completed, usually at disconnection of the IP address, it is sourced back into the pool of available IPs. This allows Internet providers to have more customers than IPs.
With broadband connections, it’s easy to just lease IP addresses when needed. That’s why dynamic IP addressing is widely used today. The downside is, your IP address can change any time you get disconnected.
The fact that you get disconnected does not necessarily mean the IP address is going to change, just as the fact that you get the same IP address does not mean it is assigned statically.
Losing that IP address may result in other computers/routers inability to locate you.
The Need for a Static IP Address!
Most businesses use high speed Internet to run private or public servers. These people want their Internet address to stay fixed with the same numbers all the time, so people know how to access their server.
People with a static IP address may have a domain name or corresponding email accounts, such as [InsertYourBizNameHere].com, linked to their IP address. So if the IP address changed whenever they had to turn their modem or router off, their server and thus the email could become unreachable.
A static IP address can also help when VPNs are being set up for remote access to your business office resources. Without the ability to also know your offices “calling card,” work would be cumbersome.
The Additional Cost…
So the additional cost of a static IP address is a result of multiple things:
- There are a limited source of public IPv4 IP addresses. While they are working on IPv6 to expand the IP pool, the tech and implementation still has a ways to go.
- ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, is responsible for the allocation of all public IP addresses to providers. Providers must prove the necessity of the need for all IP addresses they are provided. There is a cost associated to the provider for each pool of addresses. In other words, the providers don’t get IPV4 addresses for free either.
- There are more resources, both technically and in man hours, to managing static IP addresses because of their “always on” nature. It limits maintenance and provides more accountability for the provider.
So if you are a business, looking at the costs at the end of the day – know that your static IP address is worth the small price you pay for it for all it gives you in return.
Ethernet Photo via Shutterstock