An IP address (Internet Protocol address) is a unique address that certain electronic devices currently use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a computer network utilizing the Internet Protocol standard (IP)—in simpler terms, a computer address.
Any participating network device—including routers, switches, computers, infrastructure servers (e.g., NTP, DNS, DHCP, SNMP, etc.), printers, Internet fax machines, and some telephones—can have its own address that is unique within the scope of the specific network. Some IP addresses are intended to be unique within the scope of the global Internet, while others need to be unique only within the scope of an enterprise.
The IP address acts as a locator for one IP device to find another and interact with it. It is not intended, however, to act as an identifier that always uniquely identifies a particular device. In current practice, an IP address is less likely to be an identifier, due to technologies such as Dynamic assignment and Network address translation.