Adventures in Machine Learning

Navigating Networks with Python’s ipaddress Module

Python Programming and IP Addresses: Navigating the Network

Have you ever wondered how network devices, such as computers, communicate with each other? At the heart of this communication lie IP addresses and networks.

In this article, we will have an in-depth look at these concepts and delve into the intricacies of the Python ipaddress module that facilitates IP address manipulation and management.

Mechanics of IP Addresses

IP addresses, represented as 32-bit integers, are used to uniquely identify network devices, enabling them to communicate with each other. IPv4 addresses, the most commonly used IP address format, are formatted in a dotted-quad notation, consisting of four decimal numbers separated by periods.

For example, the IPv4 address is broken down into four octets: 192, 168, 0, and 1. Each octet ranges from 0 to 255, providing a total of 4,294,967,296 unique addresses.

Python ipaddress Module: Building and manipulating IP addresses

The Python ipaddress module aids in the manipulation and management of IP addresses. Let’s explore some of the primary functionalities.

IPv4Address Constructor

The constructor creates an IPv4 Address object using dotted-quad notation. An IP address object is hashable and can be compared to other IP addresses.



ip_address() method converts a string to an IPv4Address object.

CIDR Notation and Networks

CIDR (Classless Inter-Domain Routing) notation is commonly used to partition a network into smaller subnets. It defines a routing prefix, which is a sequence of bits shared by all the addresses in the network.

Python’s IPv4Network object facilitates the iteration over all its subnets, as well as the creation of a subnet given a new prefix length.


Creating subnets using endpoint addresses can be time-consuming and error-prone. IPaddrss eases this complexity by providing a subnet() method that creates subnets.

Special Address Ranges

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) oversees the allocation of IP address space. The IPv4 Special-Purpose Address Registry defines various ranges of IP addresses, including private addresses, link-local addresses, and broadcast addresses.

The private address space isn’t globally routable, thus not visible across the Internet. Link-local addresses are used for communication within an local area network (LAN).

Broadcast addresses are used to convey messages sent to all devices in the same network segment. The Python ipaddress module has provisions for dealing with reserved address ranges and their properties.

The Python ipaddress Module: Under the Hood

Composition’s Core Role

Python’s powerful ipaddress module relies heavily on classes and compositions. These classes are used to model internet addresses, subnets, and network masks.

The classes are built in a manner such that composition is the core of the module. The classes are designed to be composable, allowing the creation of a large number of useful abstractions.

The functionality of the module has been well-structured, making it easy to build and manipulate IP addresses, and manage networks. The ipaddress module has given us finer control over network communication and its management, providing a safer and more efficient network environment.


Python’s ipaddress module has significantly simplified IP address management by providing a host of useful functionalities. Network engineers and administrators can use these functionalities to build complex networks and manage them efficiently.

With the module’s well-structured approach, it’s easier to build and manipulate IP addresses, manage networks, and build abstractions. In this article, we explored the mechanics of IP addresses, how Python’s ipaddress module can aid in building and manipulating them, and the module’s inner workings regarding compositions and classes.

We delved into CIDR notation and networks, subnetting, and special address ranges, important to network communications and management. Python’s ipaddress module has enabled the efficient deployment of complex networks, providing finer control over efficient network communications and management, and it remains a crucial aspect of network engineering and administration.

With its well-structured approach, the module has made it easier to build and manipulate IP addresses, manage networks, and build abstractions, leading to a safer and efficient network environment.

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