An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a unique numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. These labels, in the form of IPv4 or IPv6 addresses, are used to identify and locate devices on the network, allowing them to communicate with one another.
An IPv4 address is a 32-bit number, typically written in the form of four octets separated by periods (e.g. 192.168.1.1). IPv6 addresses, on the other hand, are 128-bit numbers and are written in the form of eight blocks of hexadecimal digits separated by colons (e.g. 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334).
There are two types of IP addresses: public and private. Public IP addresses are assigned to devices by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and can be accessed from anywhere on the internet. Private IP addresses, on the other hand, are used within a private network and are not accessible from the internet.
An IP address plays a crucial role in enabling communication between devices on a network and is a fundamental component of the Internet Protocol. It allows devices to send and receive data, enabling the functioning of applications such as email, web browsing, and online gaming.