Ever wondered how it’s possible to use so many internet connections, yet none of your emails get lost or confused? You can get onto the Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop or public library, and even access it from your house. But somehow your information remains separate from the other tenants sharing the Wi-Fi.
The Internet is the online world of information and entertainment that allows users around the globe to access the same pieces of information. But with so much information exchange, it needs to have some type of organizational method.
When your computer connects to the Internet, it identifies itself with a number. Like a Driver’s License or Social Security number, the IP address is a unique identifier for your device. “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol”. The protocol is the internet’s set of rules or standards that is necessary for you to send and receive information online. Think of the flow of data and information to and from your computer via the internet as automobile traffic. Traffic lights, signs, and speed limits ensure that vehicles travel efficiently, as protocols do for data.
The “address” part of the term IP address is the set series of numbers and decimals that a computer identifies with in order to connect to the internet.
Now that the terms are defined, let’s take a look at how this process actually works:
Your device uses a router to connect to the Internet. Every router has a list of different IP addresses that it can assign to devices.
Try to think of the assigned IP address as a hotel card key pass, and the hotel as the firewall/router. A hotel has a limited number of different coded room key cards that it can issue at a time. You receive a new key card with each hotel stay. This card simultaneously differentiates you from the other tenants while allowing access to your room.
And in case you’re wondering, your internet activity can be tracked to your internet connection through the IP address you’re assigned. So your internet activity isn’t ever truly anonymous. Just avoid illegal online activities and this shouldn’t be an issue.