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Networks don’t identify devices of any kind by their name, whether it’s a laptop or a smartphone. Rather, they identify them with numbers used as identifiers. An IP address is made up of numbers that identify any type of digital device that connects to the Internet. “IP” stands for Internet Protocol, and there are actually several IP addresses involved when it comes to your computer. One is the IP address of your router, which is how your computer talks to the Internet at large. It’s generally assigned by your Internet service provider, or ISP, and handles all the traffic between your computer and the Internet. 

It’s a good idea to know your router’s IP address for many reasons, such as remote control software, VoIP calls, or to troubleshoot network problems. If you’re asking, what is my IP address, thinking it’s going to be a challenge to locate, the good news is it’s rather easy, you definitely don’t have to be a computer geek to find it. 

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Use the Command Prompt in Windows

If you’re running Windows, finding your IP address requires the command prompt, so you’ll need to search for “cmd” (minus the quotes) using Windows search. Click to get the command line and then type “ipconfig” (again, minus the quotes) in the pop-up box and hit return. You’ll not only see the IP address but the default gateway, which is the router, and the subnet mask. Above the row of data that’s in the middle, you’ll see the kind of connection – if you have a wired connection, it would have details under Ethernet Adapter, otherwise, it will show “Wireless LNA Adapter Wi-Fi.” 

There are exceptions. If you have a device like Microsoft Surface or any other kind that is running Windows 10 S, you won’t have access to the Command Prompt or another type of command-line app. You can still find your device’s IP address by using the control panel, task manager, or settings. The fastest way to do it is to go to “task manager” and click on the button that says “more details.” Then click “performance tab” followed by the network adapter. You’ll see the IP address of your device here. 

Systems Preferences on the Mac or Settings on Your iPad

If you have a Mac, all you have to do is head to system preferences and select “network” to find it. By clicking the connection type to the left, you’ll see IP addresses for each type. If you have an older version, you might have to click the tab that says TCP/IP. On an iPadOS/iOS, go to settings and then Wi-Fi. You’ll see an “i” in the circle next to the network you’re on. Click that, and then you’ll see the IP address as well as the router and subnet.

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A Free Lookup Tool

It’s just as easy to use a lookup tool to find your IP address, and you’ll find both free and paid versions. IP address trackers are very helpful for businesses, too, as they allow admins to find all IP addresses in their networked environment to help prevent addressing issues such as multiple devices that are attempting to use the same one. Trackers are also helpful in detecting the presence of an unauthorized device at home, something that can lead to stolen data and even identity theft. With 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports received in 2020 by the FTC, it’s a major concern.