How does IP address location tracking work

An IP address location tracking is often referred to as either an “IP Address Geolocation” or “Geo IP”.

How does IP address location tracking work

The IP Geolocation services generally utilize IP address databases, that have an approximate geographical location for each IP address. The IP addresses are generally grouped into blocks where each block has a specific longitude and latitude assigned to it according to the IP address leasing authority such as an ISP provider.

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ISP providers do not provide an exact location for each IP address because of the privacy policies and the dynamic nature of these addresses where each IP can be assigned to a different user at any given point in time.

Two types of IP addresses used with Geo IP

There are 2 types of IP addresses – dynamic and static. The dynamic IP addresses are those that are frequently assigned to different users as IP allocation demand increases or decreases. The static IPs are those that are leased to a specific user for a prolonged amount of time.

IP address tracking misconception

There is a common misconception, that IP address tracking can track a user’s location in real-time. However, the function of GEO IP location services is to read the information about an IP address location from a database and not via other methods such as a GPS location. IP location databases are most commonly updated in intervals of x-number of weeks or by-monthly.

Getting an exact physical address of an IP address

If an exact precise location and the user of an IP address is required, a police warrant must be obtained in order to get the information about an IP address holder and the physical address of an ISP account holder at a specific moment of time.

The IP address tracking and GPS (Global Positioning System)

In some situations when a location of a service landline or aerial vehicle or a person is required to be reported in real-time based on an IP address, the Global Positioning Systems are utilized that precisely provide a latitude and longitude data that is later coupled and assigned to a hardware unit based on an IP address. An example of such utilization is aerial and landline drones that are used for surveillance within a restricted zone and are connected via radio communications to the WAN or LAN or mobile service vehicles that utilize static proxy IP addresses.

Are IP address databases a reliable source of IP address geolocation data?

IP based geolocation generally provides about 40 percent to 80 percent accuracy for a user’s region or state

If the IP address data serves a statistical purpose only and does not require a precise stress address of a device, then the database-driven data can be considered to be sufficiently reliable (as long as it’s regularly updated). There are a few major IP location database providers on the market, and each has its own advantages. Each provider has its own (in some way unique) methods of database data acquisition and compilation. Many services that utilize such data, generally acquire the data from multiple databases provides in order to more precisely approximate an IP address device location. These services include but are not limited to Internet user statistical data, website statistics, payments fraud prevention, financial institutions security devices, medical device maintenance, and so on.

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