If you’ve ever dealt with a computer, tablet, smartphone, or even a video game console, you’ve likely come across those long strings of numbers separated by periods like 192.168, followed by more numbers. This is an IP (Internet Protocol) address, which serves as the identity for your network or device. And if you’ve run into connection issues before and tried to fix them with the help of online tutorials, chances are you’ve had to work with these numbers at some point.
You know the drill: you notice something’s not working right, and you head to Google on your cell phone using your data plan. You find some troubleshooting tips and then scribble down that lengthy numeric sequence on a scrap of paper in hopes of solving the problem. But there’s an organization called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that wants to make a big change. They’re suggesting that we replace those complicated numbers with something as simple as a personalized name.
Here’s the thing, the customization would only affect our private networks – swapping the numbers for a word wouldn’t change how the connections work. The IP addresses, especially those of the IPv4 kind that start with 192.168, would function exactly the same even after the name change.
So, what exactly is an IP address? Without getting into the nitty-gritty technical details, think of an IP address as a digital identity card for the internet. It’s the label that identifies both the devices that connect to an internet network and the network itself. Essentially, it’s your device’s unique identifier on the web, similar to how a personal ID works in the non-digital world.