Every computer that's part of a network is assigned its own ID number, known as an IP address. (IP is short for Internet protocol.) You don't need to memorize or post the number on the wall, but if you run into problems with your machine, you may be asked to provide the IP address to a technician for troubleshooting. You may also need to know the IP address when you install and configure certain external devices for the network, such as firewalls or broadband modems.
If your computer is successfully networked, you can discover its IP address by following these steps:
1. From the Windows desktop, click the My Network Places icon.
The My Network Places window opens.
2. Click the View Network Connections link (on the left side of the My Network Places window).
The Network Connections window opens.
3. Double-click your network connection.
Your network connection's dialog box opens with the General tab displayed.
Your laptop may have several connections, including a wireless network, a 1394 or FireWire connection, and a LAN.
3. In the General tab, view the Local Area Connection information.
See the connection status, the amount of time (duration) it's been active, and the current speed.
4. Click the Support tab and note the IP address.
In the Support tab, you can see the connection's technical details, including the IP address, the subnet mask, and default gateway. You don't need to understand the gruesome details right now, but you (or the techie helping you out) may need them when troubleshooting or configuring advanced devices.
One more significant detail may be of importance to a support technician. It's called the MAC address. The media access control (MAC)address is a unique identification that's permanently assigned to each piece of hardware that's part of a network setup.
To find the MAC address, follow the preceding numbered list and then click the Details button in the Support tab. Windows displays Network Connection Details. On this display, the MAC address is (just to confuse you) called the physical address.