John has answered re a part of the topic. I think you were just referring to the external address(es) assigned to you by your ISP. These can be a single dynamic, single static/fixed, or a group of statics, (multiple static IPs).
is allocated to you each time you connect to the ISP, and comes from a pool the ISP has. ISPs also have to pay to have IP addresses issued to them to allocate to customers, so may decide to pay for 100,000 when they have 150,000 customers, in the expectation that they will never have more than 100,000 trying to connect at the same time.
Some dynamic IP addresses turn out to be very "sticky" - the pool is so arranged that even if you disconnect for a couple of weeks, next time you connect you get the same one. O2/Be for instance. But you cannot rely on this if it matters.
means the ISP has to make sure they have enough for every customer who wants one, plus if they also offer dynamic some more for the pool. This is why some ISPs charge extra for a static IP address.
IPs like you have just obtained just means that all traffic sent from elsewhere to those addresses all get sent to your router, and in your router you direct each to fixed internal IP addresses, one for each piece of equipment you have connected.
I was told that by using static IPs, things get sent straight over the internet without going through any firewalls etc.
I believe that to be absolute twaddle. Otherwise anybody wanting to hack into your macine would just get themselves a static IP address and go straight through your router and software firewalls. Clearly this isn't what happens.
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