An IP address is a numerical value assigned to a network device and is used for the identification and location of a network device. It is an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which uniquely identifies all devices on the Internet and allows computing devices to communicate with destinations such as websites and streaming services. An IP address is usually assigned by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and it is the address of an online device used to communicate over the Internet. The local IP address represents the device on your network and the public IP address is the face of the network for the rest of the Internet. The purpose of an IP address is to manage the connection between devices that send and receive information over a network.
Without an IP address, there's no way to contact other devices connected to the Internet, such as mobile phones, computers, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It also allows websites to know who is connecting. To protect your IP address, it is recommended that you use a virtual private network (VPN) to hide it from cybercriminals seeking to commit identity theft or fraud. If two devices have the same IP address, the network will confuse the devices and, to resolve the conflict, one of them will be banned from the network. This highlights the importance of having a unique IP address for each device connected to the Internet.