Things you must know about IP addresses

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An IP address or “Internet Protocol” address is the ubiquitous part of any online experience. Fundamentally, IP addresses are unique online identifiers. Every computer has its own IP address through which it communicates with other computers and shares information. This revolutionary communication protocol was invented by Robert Elliot Kahn (Bob Kahn), who is an American electrical engineer, together with Vint Cerf.

Though IP addresses are crucial for all web-based activities, many internet users don’t know their computers’ IP addresses and the importance of knowing it. If you too belong to this league, just keep on reading to understand how you can find out your IP address and why you must know it.



Find your IP address

Windows: If you’re using Windows, go to the Start Menu and click on Run. Then type “cmd” in the box and hit the “OK” button. Then type “ipconfig” at the prompt and your IP address’s information will be displayed.

Linux: If you have a Linux system, you can find out your IP address at the prompt by typing “ifconfig” into it.

Macintosh: If you’re using a Mac system, open up the Terminal program and type “ifconfig” at the prompt and your IP address will be displayed. You can find the Terminal program in Applications, under the Utilities folder.

The importance

Knowing your IP address would help you in the following ways:

  • Enjoy faster connections: NetBIOS is a program that enables applications on different computers to communicate within a LAN. The process is similar to DNS, where a connection is created by using a computer’s “name” and a sequence of discovery packets. Instead of initiating the process by taking the slower route of typing “\\[computer name]” (san quotes) into an IE (Internet Explorer) Window, you can dodge the NetBIOS or DNS lookup procedure by typing “\\[IP Address]” when you know the direct IP address.
  • Facilitate remote control and administration: From managing IP-based security cameras to controlling your desktop remotely, you can do them all when you know your IP address.
  • Easy network troubleshooting: When suspecting a DNS server failure for your sloppy network connection, sending a ping request to that server’s IP (in case you know it) will help you to verify what the problem really is. If it’s not a DNS server failure, you can eliminate the possibility and focus on other aspects instead for faster troubleshooting.

If you don’t know your IP address, won’t you say it’s time to know it?

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