What is an IP address?

Even small villages in the most ancient parts of the world have some type of location identifier, be it a land mark, a tree, a bush or perhaps even a strangely shaped rock.  In the developed world, we have several types of address that are commonly used to ship goods to and from, we use addresses to send and receive correspondence every day.  We may have a home address, a business address, or perhaps even a P.O. Box address.  Ultimately, these addresses are used to share a location with someone else, it’s a way to find someone and know that that person or business could be found at that location.  “Sharing” is precisely the key elemental function of an address, and that is the same for an IP address.  In the digital world, an IP (Internet Protocol) address, is just that, a way to share your location on the internet with other people.

How do you get an IP address? When you move into a new home or business, one of the first things you’ll do is contact the local ISP (internet service provider) and setup an account with them.  You will typically receive a modem or a combination modem/router from them. The modem will come pre-configured with what is known as a static IP address, (static IP addresses never change).  The address will have the following format,, and will usually look more like the following example:  If the modem is a combo unit, it will also be a router.  The router is a piece of equipment that communicates between the devices in your home and the internet.  If your modem is not a combo unit, you will have to get a router in order to manage the Wi-Fi and additional Ethernet connected devices.  Here are four of the best routers in the market right now:


Once the router is connected to the modem through an ethernet cable, the router will be able to give each device in your home a unique IP address.  The job of the ISP is to issue a static IP address while the job of your router is to issue dynamic IP addresses to each device that gets connected to your home network.  A common internal IP address looks similar to this example:

Common routers are limited to how many devices you can connect to them using an Ethernet cable, so if you plan on connecting several devises using an Ethernet cable, you’ll want to look into buying am Ethernet Switch with several ports.  Here are two of the best switches:


Keyword definitions related to this article:

  • Modem: A device that converts signals which are used to transmit and receive information between computers.
  • Router: A device that mediates the transmission of data packets over a network.
  • ISP: Internet Service Provider
  • IP Address: The numeric address of a computer on the internet.

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