What Is An Internet Protocol (IP)?

Internet Protocol (IP) Defined

Internet Protocol or IP is a set of rules for routing and addressing packets of data, which allows data to travel across networks to the correct destinations.

Each computer on the Internet has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other computers on the Internet. 

IP addresses are important as when a user sends or receives data, the data gets divided into smaller pieces called packets. Each of these packets contains both the sender’s Internet address and the receiver’s address. The packets are then sent to a gateway computer that reads the destination address and forwards the packet to an adjacent gateway. This gateway then reads the destination address until the gateway recognizes the packet as belonging to a computer within its immediate neighborhood or domain. That gateway then forwards the packet directly to the computer whose address is specified.  Once the packets arrive at their destination, they are handled differently depending on which transport protocol is used in combination with IP. 

In Data Defined, we help make the complex world of data more accessible by explaining some of the most complex aspects of the field.

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