Technology is ever-changing and to keep up with this capricious domain, it is crucial to understand basic technical terminologies, such as the difference between a modem and router, or what separates the term bandwidth from speed. You may have heard Gen Z casually throwing the term IP address, here and there but what exactly is this and how does it help an internet user?
Let’s take a look and find out why an IP address is a double-edged sword for a lot of people.
What Is an IP Address?
Internet Protocol (IP) address is the location that your laptop uses to send and receive data. It is more like a street address for your laptop on the internet. Just like typical streets are given names so that they are easier to remember; similarly, a user’s existence on the internet is defined by numbers since computers and tech prefer these, more than words. Every device, every server, even every website that’s published on the internet comes with an IP address. For that matter, when a user wants to visit a website, their laptop or desktop sends a request to the IP address of the website to view its content.
The website uses the user’s laptop IP address to send back the content that the user wants to view on their laptop. For instance, if a user wants to visit the official website of Wave Internet, the user will type in the address in the address bar and click enter. As mentioned before, a request has been sent to the official website which then delivers the content (i.e. load the content). The process is quite similar to the old way of sending letters, where you needed the receiver’s address to receive your post while attaching your address, so in case the letter was not received, it was sent back.
What Information Can a User Expect to Gather From an IP Address?
Besides working out the actual location of a user, there is much information that can be gathered from an IP address. Even though the IP address is written in numbers, it doesn’t mean that it works just like a phone number does, revealing the identity of the country from its phone code. IP addresses are ideally allocated to establishments based in a country rather than the country itself. Hence, it is meaningless to expect that a user can automatically know by reading a string of numbers put together, which country the establishment is from.
Unless they are familiar with the company setup. For instance, Apple is a company based in the U.S. whereas Virgin Media is a telecom organization based in the United Kingdom. The IP address is more than a string of numbers randomly put together. It can prove to be quite helpful when it comes to data extraction. To obtain detailed data from an IP address, you can use an IP lookup tool. Besides estimating the actual location of a user, such tools are specifically designed to extract deep information from all kinds of industries and domains.
Top Ways to Change Your IP address
An IP address can be changed via some simple methods. Not only are the following methods safe and easy to understand but they are legal too. You can implement these guidelines on Mac, your PC, or your smartphone. One thing to know is that your desktop/home laptop and cell phone come with multiple types of IP addresses. One simple way to hide your online identity is to use VPN, which alters your IP address temporarily.
Another thing that you can try is manually unplugging the router. Then check what IP address your provider is picking up and connect your router again. This method allows your router to momentarily forget your smart device so that when the time comes, your router will be installed as a new device. If you are using a combination of a modem and a router together, you will have to unplug both these devices together. You can disconnect them for a couple of minutes or leave them overnight and connect the next day. When it comes to plugging them back in, put in the modem first, then the router.
A third option involves automatically updating the IP address on various devices (Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android). This is not only meant to protect your browsing in a better way, but is supposed to secure your digital identity. For users using Windows, simply press the Win+R keys on your keypad, which will open a Run box dialog. Next, type ‘cmd’, then hit Enter. This way the command prompt will open up, in which simply type ipconfig /release and press Enter again. A long text should come on the screen. Once that text stops, type ipconfig /renew and press Enter on your keypad again. Close the black box i.e. the command prompt because you are done.
For Android users, simply tap on Settings, next press Connections, then click Wi-Fi. Select the network you are connected to at present. Next, click the gear-shaped icon, present on the right side of the network. This is where your IP address will be displayed. Then go to the bottom of your screen and click on forget. Your phone will forget the Wi-Fi and instantly disconnect. To reconnect to your home network again, click on reconnect again and you can connect via a new IP address. As far as MacOS and IOS are concerned, follow a similar method and you will get a new IP address in no time.
The main idea behind regularly changing your IP address is to have a strong check on your online privacy. However, changing your IP addresses now and then is not enough and you must invest in some robust security tools and measures that are not affected by bugs, and can handle cyber threats with much ease.
A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to change their IP address on a regular basis. In fact, many internet users are unaware of the fact that their IP addresses can be tracked and monitored by their internet service provider or other entities. An IP address is a unique number that identifies your computer or device on the internet. Just like your home address, it helps others find and communicate with you online. Your wave broadband internet service provider assigns you an IP address when you connect to their network. This IP address can change over time, depending on your connection type and location.
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