What is private IP?

Be informed when securing your corner of the cloud.

For businesses large and small, walls are coming down and physical boundaries are disappearing wherever markets are growing.

More companies are going mobile as they expand their remote workforces to offer a more responsive customer experience. Others are taking advantage of new connectivity options to quickly, securely and affordably establish a presence closer to customers and new opportunities across the U.S.

These companies have outgrown standard ways of getting online. They can no longer work with a single shared connection to the internet. At the same time, they’re not ready for an enterprise-grade suite of private connections more typical of a multi-million-dollar organization with thousands of employees and a sky-high annual IT budget. They need a secure space in the cloud dedicated to their operations and data, one that suits their size, budget and specific bandwidth requirements. They also can’t afford to invest in a whole new networking approach that may need considerable reconfiguring a year or two down the road.

Many companies in this camp simply need to connect and collaborate via, for example, conference calling and messaging. They need a safe and efficient means for storing, sending and receiving large files across widely distributed locations. They need an online seat that is the right fit for current business conditions, and that can scale up or down, bandwidth-wise, as their operational situation changes.

Private IP addressing often fits the bill for growing companies with limited IT resources. Private IP, or PIP, provides a simple, dedicated cloud-based network that allows businesses to consolidate applications into a single network infrastructure. It allows for relatively uncomplicated connectivity very similar to that of the public internet while enabling the flexibility, security and reliability of a gated network like a VPN.

Whether your company is on the brink of major growth or struggling against the limitations of insufficient bandwidth for your current volume of business, consider whether private IP may be right for you. Take a look at a few frequently—asked questions before making your next networking move.

What types of challenges are addressed by private IP?

Small- to medium-sized businesses often benefit from PIP addressing. Here’s a scenario.

A hiring firm—let’s call it Brains Co.—has eight employees in a Chicago office. Brains is expanding operations and headcount into Seattle and Atlanta. The company has plans for two more offices in the next 20 months to accommodate clients in New York and Dallas. The five-year-old company has grown from two clients in the legal sector to more than 150 across the country in industries ranging from healthcare to IT and government affairs. Headcount will increase, and many of the new hires will work remotely and travel often.

This company must regularly transfer large files in a wide range of formats. It also must conduct webinars and convene teleconferences across time zones on very short notice. It has compliance requirements to meet, and data must be kept carefully secured at all times. It regularly uses video for multi-site training and will need advanced collaboration and presence tools for its highly-mobile employees. Brains also doesn’t have the resources to reconfigure an inappropriately architected network as it rolls out new services.

For Brains Co., private IP can:

  • Provide consistency and continuity of service to geographically diverse clients
  • Drive productivity and efficiency improvements
  • Deliver high-performance mobile access to email and other key business applications such as CRM
  • Establish an upgrade path to support advanced unified-communications applications in the near future
  • Replace an aging WAN and communications network without upending day-to-day operations

How does private IP return value?

Depending on how your PIP is structured, and what your service provider offers, ROI advantages can amount to an IT team at your fingertips. Your online-connections experience could be completely transformed. Private IP can:

  • Reliably connect—It enables real-time access to hosted data and applications.
  • Manage and streamline network operations—Many service providers offer proactive monitoring to reduce users’ operational management effort.
  • Lower costs—Reduced WAN complexity often results in network cost savings, as well as fewer network support issues with their big price tags.
  • Simplify innovation—Private IP networks can typically, and easily, support communications services such as VoIP and videoconferencing that, in turn, support growth.

So, what’s under the hood? How does private IP work?

This is where things can get technical. Not hard, if you’re an IT specialist, but arcane to many others. However, a cursory look at protocols and addressing may help clarify how the relatively simple PIP technology allows users to effectively communicate over a secure, efficient and flexible private-network infrastructure. It serves as a foundation for automating and streamlining business processes such as e-commerce, shared intranets and extranets.

PIP provides connections into a private external network, or extranet, that move data and establish off-site, remote links. It does so in ways that are very similar to the public internet everybody uses to check social media, stream videos, download apps and more. The public and private IP versions use very similar protocols for routing. The public internet uses border gateway protocol (BGP) which is also used by most multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks on which PIP is based. This routing helps the user experience because working in PIP mode seems no different from using the public internet. It is widely tapped for communications between autonomous networks and has extensive routing policies for implementations of complex or simple networks.

MPLS technology used by private IP allows for the integration of Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing. The layers are among the seven that comprise the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model of networking common in telecommunications for, among other things, cellular service. This network-service platform provides a base that is scalable, survivable and efficient without sacrificing performance. The private IP network is a closed and private MPLS backbone (meaning that it allows no internet connectivity). It doesn’t support any direct customer-access connections. MPLS networks will automatically detect and dynamically re-route around transmission-path failures.

Private and public IP addressing
With private networks, a distinct set of addresses has been established by the authorizing organization IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) to locate computers on a specific PIP. For the public internet, the authorizing organization ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has designated a different set of addresses for devices that access that public network, or internet. This way, the routing of signals to and from specific private IP networks is kept separate from the public internet, and from other PIP networks.

These addresses, whether public or private, are like mailing addresses for homes and businesses. Every computing device that accesses a PIP or the public internet must have a distinct address in the appropriate range for connections to go through. It’s like the incorrect or non-existent mailing address resulting in an undeliverable letter. Or paycheck.

For a little extra credit
The private IP addressing architecture uses IPv4 and IPv6 specifications to define the private addressing ranges. IP packets that use addresses in these ranges cannot be routed through the public internet. Public IP addresses can be found through an internet lookup. Simply type “what is my IP address” into your browser address bar, and hit enter. Private IP addresses cannot be found this way.

If you’re curious about PIP addressing, how routers are NAT (network address translation) devices, and how machines and users routinely bounce to and from public and private networks everyday, all the time, there are infinite resources on the subject. Just search on “IP addresses: Everything you need to know,” or something similar.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of private IP?

Advantage 1: Privacy and security
The internet is teeming with cyber-pestilences and villains of every stripe. That’s why data protection and privacy top the list of advantages for those who choose private IP. Devices aren’t exposed to the public internet, so hackers have a harder time getting at them and their users.

Advantage 2: Reliability
Private IP networks are isolated from other networks, making them less vulnerable to such common issues as external equipment malfunctions or connectivity loss. If a problem does occur, pinpointing its cause and solution is a simpler matter that can save precious time and budget dollars.

Disadvantage 1: Complexity
Private IP networks involve additional setup and non-standard configurations. They also will not interact with the public internet; alternative solutions are needed. These are usually supplied by most service providers for users who want seamless access to both private and public (e.g. internet) networks.

Disadvantage 2: Cost
With PIP, the cost of server space and equipment, as well as for configuration and maintenance, is not spread across millions of users as it is with the public internet. Instead, the operator providing the private IP carries these costs, of which a portion is passed on to users.

Is private IP right for you?

Now that you know more about what’s involved with private IP, you should be better equipped to make informed decisions as your business grows. The technology is a popular choice for governments, enterprises, start-ups and businesses in the middle of the market. It can be an ideal solution for you, too, as you boost your network for that next big opportunity.

Verizon offers a range of connectivity options tailored to organizations of all sizes in both the public and private sectors. Private IP from Verizon is an MPLS-based VPN service that delivers a simple network designed to grow with your business while helping you consolidate applications into a single, easy-to-use infrastructure. To learn more, visit us online.


    • Get started now.

  • Work with our experts.

    Tell us about your business, then meet with our professionals to ask questions, get advice or obtain a quote.

    Request a quote