What is an IP?
An IP address is a number assigned to a device on a network. This IP address allows your computer to be found on the network (the internet), allowing the packets to be routed to your computer. The most common version is IPv4 which is a 32 bit numeric address in the format www.xxx.yyy.zzz. The newer version, IPv6, is a 128 bit HEX address in the format of a1a1:b2b2:c3c3:d4d4:e5e5:f6f6:g7g7:h8h8. As more and more devices are connected to the internet it has become clear that IPv4 will not have enough addresses available for the future growth of the internet. As a result there is a push toward implementation of IPv6 across the internet.
Why do I need to know my IP?
It is always handy to know your IP address. It can tell you what network, or ISP you are connected to. It allows you to tell other people what your IP is so that they can connect to your computer for file sharing, screencasting, or other services. You also may need to know your IP address to enter into permission lists of firewalls or other security systems so that you can access secure systems.