Before I answer that question, let me quickly tell you what exactly an “IP address” is.
Well, an IP address is a unique number that is used to identify any device which is on a network. “IP” stands for Internet Protocol.
Microsoft defines an IP address as “a 32 bit number that uniquely identifies a host on a (TCP/IP) network.” A host could be any device on a network such as a computer, printer or a router. This 32 bit number is further broken down into 4 Octets. (Okay, 1 Octet = 8 Bits). Then, each Octet is converted into a decimal number and is separated by a dot. The value of each octet lies between 0 to 255, in decimal format or 00000000 to 11111111 in binary format. That is why the IP address is said to be displayed in something called “dotted decimal format”
So then, to make life easier for us, let’s just say that an IP address is a number which is used to uniquely identify our computer or printer or router on a network. (Whew!)
There are five different classes of IP addresses. But that is not relevant for this topic.
In order to find out the IP address of your computer:
Click on Start and go to Run. In the Run dialogue box type in CMD and click OK. And in the command (DOS) window that opens up, type in IPCONFIG and hit <Enter>. You’ll get to see something like this:
Once you have the IP address, you can just close the window by clicking on the X on the top right corner of the window.
The IP address can tell you many things. And if you are not able to connect to a network or the internet from your home, this is the first thing you would do – check the IP address of your computer. If you see an IP address that starts with 169.254.XX.XX, well, that’s not a good sign! I will be talking about network troubleshooting in a separate topic.