A temporary numeric identification assigned to a node in a TCP/IP network. When a computer, smartphone, tablet, printer, scanner, TV or any other network-connected device is turned on for the first time, it is assigned the next available IP address by the DHCP protocol generally in the router (see DHCP
). This IP assignment can remain for a long time and is only changed when there are conflicts, such as when a laptop with the same IP as something else in the network is connected.
Internet service providers (ISPs) assign dynamic addresses to the modems of consumers but give business customers a non-changing "static IP." This is necessary because IP addresses cannot change for public-facing Web servers. Companies also require huge upload speeds, which consumers do not get. See static IP address
and IP address