Investigating Public IP Address Assignment in Infrastructureless Social Networks
Authors: Amit Ramkissoon
Abstract: An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a logical address that is used by the router to identify a device on a network. An IP version 4 (IPv4) address is composed of 32 bits that are split into 4 octets of 8 bits each. Each IPv4 address is encoded using decimal notation giving the address the appearance of being composed of 4 integers. As such IPv4 addresses range from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255 with 232 or 4294967296 possible addresses. An IP version 6 (IPv6) address is composed of 128 bits that are split into 8 octets of 16 bits each. Each IPv6 address is encoded using hexadecimal notation giving the address the appearance of being composed of 32 alphanumeric characters. As such IPv6 addresses range from 0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000 to FFFF:FFFF:FFFF:FFFF:FFFF:FFFF: FFFF:FFFF with 2128 or 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 possible addresses. Infrastructureless Networks are distributed networks where no sense of infrastructure is present in the network. As such, no central server or administrative device is present and each device operates as a client and a server. When such infrastructureless networks are used for sharing news and social interactions, it is defined as an Infrastructureless Social Network. Hence given the finite set of public IP addresses available to devices on Infrastructureless Social Networks and the dynamic nature of Infrastructureless Social Networks, there is a need to conserve public IP addresses on such networks. Therefore, this work proposes the Law of Conservation of IP Addresses and uses Infrastructureless Social Networks as a test base. The proposed Law of Conservation of IP Addresses states that a public IP address cannot be created nor destroyed but rather redistributed by a DHCP Server from one end device to another. Based upon this proposed law, Infrastructureless Social Networks are used as the testing ground for testing the proposed law. In Infrastructureless Social Networks, one approach by which public IP addresses are normally assigned is based upon some form of grouping or clustering. In the group, the group leader is used as the administrator of the group and is normally charged with distributing the IP addresses to members of the group. The public IP addresses are assigned based upon those that are available on the network and hence are not created as the Law of Conservation of IP Addresses proposed above. When each device leaves the network, the device releases the public IP address back to the network and it is once again available for use by a device. Hence the public IP address is not destroyed. If the group leader leaves the network, the members of the group appoint a new group leader and the public IP address is updated accordingly. Even though there is no central device, each end device acts as a DHCP server and distributes addresses as they join and leave the network. Hence the Infrastructureless Social Networks have proven to be an excellent testbed for the Law of Conservation of IP Addresses. As such the conclusion is that the Law of Conservation of IP addresses aptly describes how public IP addresses are assigned and have proven its applicability to the world of Infrastructureless Social Networks.
Keywords: Assignment, Conservation, Distributed, Infrastructureless Social Networks, Public IP Address
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