What is an IP Address?
An IP Address is short for Internet Protocol Address and is a unique string of numerical values that are assigned to each device on a network for purposes of device identification. Depending on your network configuration, the IP address will look similar to:
Computers and devices then use the IP address in order to firstly identify each other and then to enable communication with each other either via the Internet, inside an internal network as well as on other networks (if they are available to each other).
IP address can either be assigned manually or automatically. The recommended practice for smaller networks is assigning the devices automatically using the network’s DHCP server.
For larger, more complex networks it may be recommended to assign the addresses manually and group devices together according to type (PCs, Printers, IP Phones etc.). Providing you keep a detailed record of the addresses, it is easier to manage, control and troubleshoot any network issues.
Private and Public IP Addresses
There are different types of IP addresses, but most commonly people ask what’s the difference between Private and Public. A private IP address is the unique address that is assigned within a private network and ensures that all devices connected to the network can connect to and communicate with one another.
The public IP address is similar, but it is the unique address that identifies you / your computer to the Internet. It is used to ensure that all the information that you have been searching for can find you.