An IP Address is a unique string of numbers that is assigned to every device connected to the Internet. It serves two main purposes: it identifies the network interface to which it is assigned and it indicates the device’s location within the network. An IP address is an essential part of the technology that makes the internet work; without it, the internet would be much slower and less functional.
Each computer, scanner, printer, tablet, phone, TV, smart speaker and other IoT devices has its own unique IP address that can be used to identify it. The devices are connected to each other using a variety of networking protocols, including TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which manages how the data is transmitted from one device to another. Each piece of information sent over the Internet is broken into small units called packets, and each packet contains the destination address and a source IP address. The source IP address is checked by each gateway computer on the way to determine where to forward the packet to next.
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) assigns an IP address to your router, which in turn assigns it to the devices on your home or business network that connect to the internet via your router. These devices are also assigned private IP addresses that cannot be accessed from the Internet, but can only be seen by other devices on your local network. The external-facing IP address that is exposed to the Internet is referred to as your Public IP Address, and it is very important for things like online gaming, opening ports for email servers and other services, and remote connections.
IP addresses can be static or dynamic, and each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Static IP addresses are fixed and never change, while dynamic IP click here addresses are assigned to devices on a temporary basis and can and do change.
For example, your Internet-connected devices can get a new dynamic IP address when you turn on or restart them. Or, your ISP can change your IP address if it becomes too busy to maintain its current capacity.
There is currently an ongoing struggle between the demand for IP addresses and the limited number of available addresses, especially with the advent of IoT devices. The solution was to come up with a more flexible IPv6 protocol suite, which has a potential pool of 340 undecillion addresses (that’s 340 followed by 36 zeroes).
Understanding even the basics of what an IP address is can help you troubleshoot issues when your devices are not connecting correctly or when you have difficulty sending and receiving emails. Simplilearn’s Cyber Security training courses are a great place to start when you want to learn more about the technical details behind how the Internet works.