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I am trying to find locations of some IP addresses. I am using http://www.geobytes.com/IpLocator.htm?GetLocation but it seems not returning exact information.

I am from Egypt, and whatever I search using IP of ppl I am sure they are not from "Cairo" (the capital city), it returned saying the location of that IP is Cairo!

Any help on that?

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4 Answers

IP addresses aren't assigned to individual subscribers, but rather to an ISP or large organization. The ISP takes an IP address from the range of addresses it has been assigned and then gives one (or more) to each of their subscribers. Usually, the subscribers' addresses don't follow any set pattern and there's no guarantee that a particular IP address corresponds to a specific subscriber (unless the subscriber pays the ISP extra for a 'static' IP address [but there's no way to 'know' an IP is static, that's just a service-level of the ISP.])

So, IP addresses can only be resolved down to the geographic area that the ISP services, or to a subset of the area it services. The ISP can tell you who, exactly, had an IP address at a specific point in time. But they won't. Not without (usually) some sort of government order, subpoena, etc. So, the only publicly available data relating to who has what IP address is not granular or up-to-date enough to get much narrower than ~50 miles (80KM).

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It's not (usually) possible to locate further than the IP pool without personal data from the ISP. For this reason, you're getting the approximate location of the server serving the IP addresses rather than the location of the person using it.

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Depending on the ISP more or less detailed information may be available.

For example, if you are using Comcast, they will use a particular IP range for a geographic area. But every time you restart you modem/network router you may be assigned a different IP address from the IP range for your area.

I don't know of sites that openly provide more detailed info based on an IP. A company like Skyhook Wireless could have such information. There were also media reports of google vans roaming cities connecting to open wifi routers, they would also have very exact geographic info.

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IP addresses don't require exact locations, let alone exact locations. IP pools have approximate locations of the organization to which the IP address is assigned to. This may not be the City or even the country where the IP address is being used. IP addresses given out by DHCP or other dynamic methods will in many cases be given to different locations. My current IP address had geo-location data which is about 120 off.

From the standpoint of user location, many IP addresses are used for NAT (Network Address Translation) for an organization's network. The network may be a LAN (Local Area Network), MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), or WAN (Wide Area Network). These networks make the location of the user increasing unrelated to the location of the IP address. VPNs are also a factor. VPN users may be mobile making their location even more unreliable.

IPv6 is likely to make the issue of geo-location via IP address even less reliable. IPv6 support for mobility, will likely confuse the issue further.

DNS does provide mechanisms to provide geo-location data. When I have considered using it, I have always decided not to publish the data. Although, I did publish it a long time ago in an internal DNS.

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