What Is An IP Address?

What Is An IP Address?

An IP address can be described as a unique address used to identify individual internet-enabled devices. The full meaning of IP is “Internet Protocol”. The internet protocol is a series of guidelines regulating how data is exchanged between local networks or internet-based devices.

That is to say, the Internet Protocol address functions as an identifier for each local network or device, that enables the transfer of information between devices over the internet. The IP address usually contains location and allows communication between local networks or devices such as computers, routers, websites, mobile devices, and more.

Definition Of An IP

The Internet Protocol (IP) address for individual internet-based devices is a series of numerals separated from one another by periods. Each IP address is usually a set of four numbers distinguished by periods. An example of an IP address is The numbers in each set can be between 0 to 255. That is, the complete IP addressing format is to

It is important to note that IP addresses are not generated randomly but are produced and distributed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), a subset of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN — a nonprofit body — was founded in The US in 1998. The organization’s objective is to ensure that the internet is well-protected and make it accessible to everyone. Hence, anytime one registers a domain on the internet, the person must contact the ICANN registrar who in turn pays a token to ICANN to get the domain registered.

How IP Addresses Function

Sometimes, an internet-based device may not be properly connecting to the internet the way it is supposed to connect. Other times, you may want to troubleshoot why your network may not be effective. These things can help an individual understand the functions of an Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Internet Protocol addresses have a lot of similarities with communication through language. However, these systems use a series of rules or guidelines to communicate with one another. All internet-based devices or networks exchange information with one another using their Internet Protocol addresses. Since they speak the same technical language, computers across different locations can communicate with one another.

The use of Internet Protocol addresses often occurs out of public view. Below is how the process takes place:

  1. The user’s device connects to the internet indirectly but through connecting to a network connected to the internet. This network will now allow your device to be able to access the internet.
  2. At home, the user’s network is often their Internet Service Provider (ISP). When they are in the office, it will be their company network.
  3. The Internet Service Provider receives an individual’s internet activities and routes them back to the user. Since it is the Internet Service Providers that enable users to connect to the internet, it becomes their responsibility to allocate an IP address for the user’s device. Nevertheless, the IP address can change. For instance, the IP address may be changed depending on whether the user’s modem or router is switched on or off. The Internet Service Providers can also change the IP address for users.
  4. When a user is away from home and carries their device along, their home IP address cannot be carried along. This is because such a user may have to use another network to access the internet. At that point, they will have to use a different but temporary Internet Protocol address provided by the Internet Service Providers of their new location.

Types Of IP Addresses

There are different types of Internet Protocol addresses. Some of these IP addresses also have categories, with each containing different types of IP addresses. The main types of Internet Protocol addresses include :

  • Consumer IP Addresses

A business organization or an individual often have two types of Consumer Internet Protocol addresses, which are Private IP address.

  • Public IP address

These two types of IP addresses are named in relation to the network location. Private IP addresses are used within a network while Public IP addresses are used outside a network.

The importance of IP addresses in networks and internet-enabled devices cannot be overemphasized. Without them, internet-based systems cannot communicate with one another. Like home addresses, IP addresses are used to determine the location of individual internet-based devices and enable easy communication with such devices.

Although there are different types of Internet Protocol addresses, they all serve two basic functions :

  • Enabling devices to get connected to the internet via Internet Service Providers.
  • Enabling the ease at which individual devices are located for efficient communication between other networks.

If you are wondering “what is my ip” there are a lot of sites online that can help.

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