What is a MAC address?

MAC address stands for Medium Access Control Address. MAC address is also referred as physical address or hardware address or Ethernet address.

MAC address is unique to network device wanting to utilize TCPIP network or LAN or WLAN service. It is “burnt into” the device by manufacturer of the device or Card.

MAC address is composed of 48 bit or six hexadecimal digits,separated by colons or dashes.

Example – 00-14-2A-3F-47-D0

Remember Hexadecimal digits can be numbers from 0-9 and letters from A-F.

MAC address represent manufacturer of the card and device number. The first three pairs of digits represent manufacturer (called OUI-Organisationally Unique Identifier) and last three pairs of digits represent number specific to the device(called NIC-Network Interface Controller Specific). ARP,Address Resolution Protocol is used to convert IP address to the MAC address. MAC address is very essential for the IP layer to work. MAC is the foundation for IP address to communicate packet from one system to the other. Similar to IP addresses, there are some MAC addresses defined for special purposes,For example FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF is reserved ror broadcast purpose.

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