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What is an ISP and IP address?

An ISP stands for Internet Service Provider and IP address means Internet Protocol Address. Wow it's that simply, well no. Nothing ever is. Your ISP is how you gain access to the Internet. This is how you're reading this right now. You can be your own ISP and be what is called "Being a Node on the Internet" or you can subscribe and connect to one. I don't want to go to deep in to the world of networking and the lands of WAN (Wide Area Network) and LAN's (Local Area Network). But, your IP address tells another computer what computer is trying to communicate to it and which one is requesting information. Now this is all done through ports and standardized protocols. But suffice to say that the IP address is the stamp that is placed on a file when it's transmitted on any network.

So what does this mean to me? Well when you post or e-mail articles, they originate out of your ISP. Your ISP places their stamp on the file when it gets transmitted on the actual Internet or WAN. So when you look at any article in your e-mail or on UseNet, it states where it came from. Either by IP address or @the server name.tag extension. Due to the fact that ISP must keep log files because of the Digital Millennium Act, where they send files and received file they must keep in a log of transfers. This log records which IP (computer) is talking to it, what is being transmitted, and where does this communiqué goes to next (IP). The Courts can now force the ISP to give up their confidential log files to prosecute the potential criminal. So you can trace down who is doing what, this can also tells you who is a potential trustable source and who wont give you a virus, as they can be tracked. So think twice about what you post.

FAQ answers attributed to Raymond E. Feist are copyright by Raymond E. Feist.
It should also be born in mind that the answer given was only applicable on the date written, and to a specific question. You may find further, similar questions, in the FAQ.


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