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What Is an IP Address – And How to Know Yours?

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What Is an IP Address : With billions of people using the internet every minute, haven’t you ever wondered how all the data reaches your computer correctly? Haven’t you thought why it never gets received by, say, your neighbor’s computer, by accident?

Just like your home address, your computer needs a unique identifier so it will be able to receive data from a specific network. Every computer that is connected to a network has this unique identifier, called the Internet Protocol (IP) address.

 

 

The IP address is the unique identifier of the TCP/IP protocol, the basic communication language or protocol of the internet. TCP/IP is a two-layer program, and the IP address is the lower layer and it handles the address of the file packets so it gets transmitted to the right destination.

IP Address Versions

            IP addresses have two standards, namely the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

The IPv4 is the most widely used protocol to create IP addresses. It uses 32-bit address scheme which is made up of four number separated by dots. This can create up to 4 billion addresses, but since the use of internet has been more widespread, there is a possibility of running out of addresses. And because anything that connects to the internet requires an IP address (such as computers and smartphones), a new version was developed.

The IPv6 is a 128-bit address scheme, where the IP address is made up of eight groups of hexadecimal numbers separated by colons. It can create up to 3.4×1038 addresses, providing a solution to the rapid exhaustion of IP addresses from IPv4. All modern desktops support IPv6 but it is not yet widely deployed in other devices, such as voice over IP (VoIP), residential networking routers, and networking peripherals.

 

IP Address Assignment

            There are two ways in which a computer gets it IP address: it can either be newly assigned at the time of booting, or be permanent by a fixed configuration of the hardware of software. These are called dynamic IP address and static IP address, respectively.

Dynamic IP addresses are frequently assigned on LANs, dial-ups, and broadband networks by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), a network protocol that automatically assigns a computer its IP address. A dynamic IP address reduces the burden of assigning a specific permanent IP address to a device – it can change even by just turning the router on and off. Plus it uses a leasing system, which means that an IP address is only active at a given period of time, and once the lease expires, the IP address also changes.

Static IP addresses are manually configured for a device, which means that it doesn’t change. Domain Name System (DNS) servers use static IP addresses so your device automatically connects to them, so you won’t have to re-configure the DNS servers on your router in order for you to normally use the internet. Static IP addresses are also extremely useful whenever you have remote access applications, which lets you access the computer all the time even with a remote connection because your IP address is still the same.

How to Find Your IP Address

            There are many ways to know what your public and private IP address are depending on the device you’re using. Below are the following steps to know what your IP addresses are.

For Your Public IP Address:

  1. Open your web browser, and make sure that it is connected to your network.
  2. Visit any search engine, but Google is highly recommended.
  3. Type “my ip address” on the search box, then click the search button. Your public IP address will be at the top of the results page.

For Your Private IP Address (Windows):

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Type “cmd” then press the Enter key to open the Command Prompt.
  3. Type “ipconfig” then press the Enter key. Your device’s private IP address is on the “IPv4 Address” entry.

For Your Private IP Address (Mac):

  1. Click the Apple menu, then click “System Preferences”.
  2. Click the “Network” icon. Your list active adapters will be shown on the left side.
  3. Select your active adapter. Your IP address will be shown on the “IP Address” entry.

For Your Private IP Address (Android):

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap “Wi-Fi”, select the Menu button (⋮), then tap “Advanced”.
  3. Find the “IP Address” entry. This will show your android device’s private IP address.

Find Your Private IP Address (iPhone):

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Turn on your Wi-Fi and select your wireless network.
  3. Tap the ⓘ icon next to your wireless network. Your private IP address will be displayed next to the “IP Address” entry.

Find Your Router’s IP Address (Windows):

  1. Click the Start button, then type “cmd” then press the Enter key to open the Command Prompt.
  2. Type “ipconfig” then press the Enter key. A list of all your network adapters will be shown.
  3. Choose your active adapter and find the “Default Gateway” entry, which will list your router’s IP address.

Find Your Router’s IP Address (Mac):

  1. Click “System Preferences”, then click the Network icon.
  2. Select your network adapter from the list shown on the left.
  3. Find the “Router” entry which will contain your router’s IP address.
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