The IP address of an electronic device is its unique identifier in a network of many devices. The device can be a PC, a router, a server, or even an IP phone. This address is used to transfer data to the different devices over a network working on IP protocol system.

Each device connected to a network must have a unique IP address. Failure to do so can give rise to serious problems, as the data transfer management devices, such as, hubs, switches, and routers, would not know where to send data. This is known as IP conflict, and can even bring down an entire network in worst cases.

The basic structure of an IP address is like, where each xxx can be any number between 0 and 255. Each of these parts is stored in 8 bits. So, the maximum number of possible combinations for each group of number is 256 (i.e. each group can have any one value from the range of 0 to 255).

Each address can be technically divided into two parts. One of these parts is the network part, which represents the class of IP address that is being used in the network. The other one is the host part, which represents the unique ID of the device in the network. Let us consider the IP address – here 192.168.10 is the network part, and represents the network. The number 14 represents the unique ID of the device in the network.

You can find out the IP address of your PC when you are connected to a network. Here’s how:

  1. Click on Start button and then on Run.
  2. In the box named Open, type “command” (without the quotes) and hit the Enter key.
  3. In the window that appears, type “ipconfig” (minus the quotes) and hit Enter key.

It may take a while, depending on the type of connection your PC has. Wireless connections take longer to display the IP address.

Once the prompt displays information, you will see a line like:

IP Address :

This is the IP address of your PC in the network. The value given on the right side is a sample value. Your IP address will likely be different from this one, but the format should remain similar.