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Definition: IP

(1) (Intellectual Property) IP has traditionally referred to a company's proprietary assets. See intellectual property.

(2) For technology terms, see iPhone, IP Code, identity provider, intentional programming, image processing and IndustryPack.

(3) (Internet Protocol) Today, IP mostly refers to the global standard network technology used in the Internet and almost every type of local and long distance digital data network. The Internet protocol is actually a part of the TCP/IP protocol suite (see chart below). See LAN, WAN and Internet.

Just the Address
IP is common shorthand for TCP/IP, and it is also shorthand for the address assigned to every device in the network. "What's the IP?" might be asking for the address of the server in a datacenter on the Internet or a printer in a home network. See IP address, Internet Protocol and IP network.

The Network-to-Network Layer
Although IP has become the common name for the entire protocol, IP is actually one layer in TCP/IP. It is the network-to-network protocol, and "internet" means "between networks." For details, see TCP/IP and TCP/IP abc's.