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Inside Vs Outside IP Addresses
For our purposes, there are two types of IPs that can be used to access our devices, Inside and Outside. This article will explain the difference and help you decide which you need to use.
What is an IP address?
An IP address is 4 sets of numbers ranging from 0 to 255 separated by periods (ex. 192.168.1.1). IPs are used by devices on a network to communicate. Each device on the network has a similar but unique address. When you are trying to connect to a device like one of our controllers, the IP address tells the computer which device on the network it should be communicating with.
For a more in-depth look at IP addresses check out this article.
An inside IP is one located ‘inside’ your property. If you are plugged into the same router which the device you are trying to reach is then you could use an internal IP address to reach it. Default IP addresses look something like this: 192.168.1.1 (note: your internal IP address may look very different depending on how your network administrator set up the network). Internal IPs can only be used to connect to your devices when you are on the same network (ex. Your computer plugged into your switch, your iPhone connected to your site’s Wi-Fi). If you are outside your network (ex. On your phone’s cellular connection, on the Wifi at your local Starbucks). Then you will not be able to connect to your device. When trying to connect to a device on a local network, you have to make sure that you are on the same internal network. Sometimes, IT administrators will have multiple Networks with slightly different IP address schemes running on the same campus. It is possible for these networks to communicate but generally you need to be on the same network as the device you are trying to reach. To determine if you are on the same network as your device looks at the first 3 numbers in the IP (ex. 192.168.1.1) These numbers are the same for every device on the network, with the last number being unique for every device. You can find your computer’s IP address or your iPhones IP address. And compare it to the IP address of the device you are trying to reach. If the first 3 numbers of the IPs do not match then contact your Network Administrator.
An outside or public IP is the IP address of your router on the internet. If your network is connected to the internet, then you have an external IP address. If your network administrator ported out your device then you will be able to connect to it from anywhere you have an internet connection. To find out if your device is ported out, you can contact your network administrator or enter the outside IP of your site into a web browser. To find your outside IP address simply type “what’s my IP” into the google search bar of your browser. Copy your outside IP into the address bar and hit enter. If you see the webpage of your device come up then you are all set. If you don’t, then you have to contact your network administrator to get them to port out your device. Note, that if your device is ported out to your outside IP address then your device still has an ‘internal’ IP address, you are just using the outside IP of your network to access it.