A lot of PC users are wondering what could these numbers possibly mean, and since there isn’t a lot of information regarding this subject online (at least for those of us with little technical knowledge), we decided to try and give you a simple answer once and for all.

What is

Whenever you need to set up your local router, the only way to access it is through its default gateway. This basically means that typing in your browser takes you to router’s control panel which can then be modified, though it’s highly recommended you don’t change the settings if everything’s working fine. The is a special reserved block of non-routable private IP address and it connects the router to the rest of the network. Any other address that doesn’t start with these numbers, for example and such, is outside of your subnet, or to put it simply – it belongs to some other computer in the outside world. There are probably millions of devices that share the same address in the private network, but they never come into conflict with each other because these IPs are used only for communication within the network. To go beyond your private network outside the IP address range and browse the Internet, you have to use a firewall, proxy or router. Every PC gets the IP address from the router via DHCP protocol, which basically means your PC will get a temporarily reserved address and use it to register on the network.

But why exactly?

Because these are “round” binary numbers that allow the routing equipment to look at the bits directly, instead of trying to figure out how to route the whole data packet. It may be hard to understand, but address dates back to the 90’s when the computers were a lot slower and could only digest 8 bit information. Back then, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created three IP ranges for private networks, and the simplest and easiest to maintain and control was That’s why we use it today in our private home networks (Class C), while bigger networks (Class A), such as Apple or Comcast, use In short, the default gateway address comes from the old addressing system and is still used today to configure your router.

Configuring your router

Like we said, most Internet service providers use IP address as default gateway and chances are you’ll be able to configure your router via this address too. Control panel for your router allows you to modify security options, such as LAN, WAN, WLAN, ADSL etc., and configure router’s network connections. Just type this address in your browser and the router control panel should show itself. You’ll need to know the router’s username and password, which is usually pretty simple – just type “admin” in both fields. If that doesn’t work, you might have to contact your service administrator. This would probably be the smartest choice either way, because configuring a router is not an easy task.

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