What is an IP address

Devices in a network have to be distinguished. Therefore addresses are assigned to the devices to identify them uniquely. These addresses are called (Internet Protocol) addresses. The IP was specified in RFC 791.

In general a IP is just an enumeration. For the sake of structuring it is seperated into groups (or partitions, ranges). This grouping can be most easily seen in the so called dot-notation, that consists currently of four and in the future of sixteen numbers.

For daily use, one usually uses the name of a device or computer, its hostname.

Corporations lease one or more groups of addresses and can then use addresses of these ranges, statically or dynamically.

Beside public addresses, there are private address ranges, that are mostly used by smaller corporations and private users. There main difference is, that router do not route data streams between such private addresse in the public net.

Depending on the type of net access, the IP address assigned to oneself keeps changing or is quite stable. These variants are called dynamic or static IP addresses.

See your IP adress.

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