MAC and IP address

A brief explanation of MAC and IP address and why it’s so important.


By the time you are reading this post, you must be connected to the internet. Ever wondered how the Internet that mines connected to knew me. I need this page or website. You made the request, so how did you load it? You don’t tell the internet which is your mobile or laptop or PC or who or where you are?

In fact, you don’t have to bother doing this because there are two addresses called “IP” and “MAC” addresses that are doing this for you. Internet Protocol or IP is simply your home number and Media Access Control or MAC address is the number of the room you live in your home.

Let us simplify this MAC (Media Access Control) address and IP Address (Internet Protocol) both are used to uniquely define a device on the internet, but they do the job at different levels.

What is the MAC address?

MAC address is the unique identification number assigned to each network device. Which is embedded in the memory (ROM) of the device by the manufacturer Company. This MAC address is assigned to the device’s Network Interface Card (NIC). MAC addresses are used on all network networks (Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wireless, etc.). The Data Link Control (DLC) layer of the network consists of two parts. The first is the logical link control layer and the second is the media access control layer. MAC address is the second part. The MAC address of each device connected to the network is Universal Unique. In other words, each device has a different MAC Address Assignment. With this physical address, the devices are able to communicate with each other. MAC addresses are also called Networking Hardware Address and Ethernet Hardware Address (EHA).

MAC addresses are built into computer NICs “Network Interface Cards”. The MAC address is a unique identifying number for any network device. It is in hexadecimal format. MAC address format is MM:MM:MM:SS:SS:SS. For example: 05: 9b: bd: 89: e4: 4q It must be 12 digits. The first half of the MAC address indicates the model or brand of the device and the other half is the unique number of the device. It can be compared to the IMEI of mobile or the VIN number of a car. This is the difference between IP and Mac. Contrary to what most people think, MAC addresses can be changed easily, it’s just almost always there is no need to change a device MAC Address. MAC Addresses usually have 3 types – (a) Unicast (b) Multicast and (c) Broadcast.

What is the IP address?

IP Address is also to be a part of a network. IP Address isn’t built-in; it isn’t usually static. It changes from one network to another and from time to time. If I put it in simple terms, I would say it’s an identifier so devices can communicate on a bigger scale compared to MAC Address.

A logical address that is used to uniquely identify each computer or device or server connected to the Internet or network is called an Internet Protocol address or IP address. Two versions of the Internet Protocol are used: IP version 4 (IPV4) and IP version 6 (IPV6). Version two reveals the IP address separately. However, due to the widespread use of IP version 4, the release of version 4 is generally taken to mean IP address.

IPV4 is Internet Protocol Version-4. Currently, IPv4 is the most widely used IP address. A total of four octets (8-bit binary) or a total of 32 bits are required to express each IP address in IPv4. A total of 4294496296 (232) unique addresses can be created by IPV4. IPv4 addresses are usually written in Decimal format. With which we can identify 429497294 hosts. The decimal number of each part is a number between 0 and 255. Some addresses in IPv4 are set aside for special needs, such as private network (~ 16 million addresses) or multicast addresses (~ 280 million). Each is separated by an octet dot (.). For example, Each number/part of the address represents a group of 8 bits. However, in many cases, IPv4 addresses are expressed with hexadecimal, octal or binary numbers instead of dot-decimal. According to the class, the IP version 4 (IPV4) the address is divided into 5 parts. And each class has a range. Namely: (a) Class A – Public IP Range ( to & Private IP Range ( to, (b) Class B – Public IP Range ( to & Private IP Range ( to, (c) Class C – Public IP Range ( to & Private IP Range ( to, (d) Class D – Public IP Range ( to & (e) Class E – Public IP Range ( to Note, Class D & Class E have no private IP addresses.

IPV6 is Internet Protocol Version-6. IPv6 has a total of eight parts for each IP address to be expressed and each bit requires 16 bits or a total of 128 bits. A total of 2126 unique addresses can be created by IPV6. IPv6 addresses are usually written in Hexadecimal format. IPv6 is displayed in 6 groups of 4 hexadecimal numbers and each group is separated by a colon symbol. An example of an IPv6 address is: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has begun developing this IPv6 to address the limitations of the currently widely used IPv4. The application of IPv6 has already started in different countries of the world which is gradually increasing.

Why do we need a MAC address?

Let’s say you are connected to the Wi-Fi access point (Wi-Fi is a broadcast medium) and you want to send a packet to some server (Google). A packet is formed with source (your IP), destination (Google IP). This packet is a software abstraction and to send this packet out to the Wi-Fi router you need to send it using electrical signal pulses.

So, when you are sending the signal out of your computer to the Wi-Fi Router, there are many people out there using the same Wi-Fi access point and can receive your signal because it’s a broadcast network (In broadcast network, a signal sent by one host is received by everyone within the signal range of the router).

Everyone who is present in your router vicinity is getting your signal and there is confusion regarding who should take the signal and receive the packet. We want our packet to be sent to the router as it is going to take our packet to the ultimate destination. So, we specify the Router’s Hardware Address (MAC address) encoded in the signals which are permanent to the router (Even if the router takes some other IP the next day), and the packet is sent. Everyone has their own MAC addresses and matches with the incoming packet’s MAC address when they are listening.

If it belongs to them, they receive it, otherwise they reject the packet silently and the packet is received by the intended device.

How to find out your own MAC and IP address?

A network is not just a system made up of some computers. In addition to computers, many other types of network devices are connected to a network. With the help of which a network is able to do all its work smoothly. And we can easily use the Internet or other networks. But it can be difficult to recognize so many different devices. So to solve this problem a unique number is given for each network device. Which is called the physical address of the device. And in the language of the network, it is called MAC Address. In today’s article, we will show you how to find out the MAC Address of a computer. Here are the ways to find your computer’s MAC Address.

For Windows users:

  1. First open the Command Prompt on your computer. Open the Run utility by pressing the WIN + R key to open the Command Prompt. Then type cmd and press Enter key.
  2. Then type ipconfig/all in the Command Prompt window and press Enter key.
  3. Then under the Ethernet adapter Ethernet section on the right side of the Physical Address you will see the MAC and IP Address of your computer.

For Linux users:

  1. First open the Command Prompt on your Linux computer. 
  2. Then type the ifconfig command.
  3. Then under the Ethernet adapter Ethernet section on the right side of the Physical Address you will see the MAC and IP Address of your computer.


Let’s try to explain in simpler language, when you enter Facebook, first you say hi to your router, the router will easily understand who gave the hi by looking at your mac address, then he will see what he requested after that hi. Since Facebook has made the request, the router will assign its IP and send the request to the internet and finally return to the same route and load Facebook on your mobile or PC. Although actually a very complex process very short.

Now just know that the IP address carries your location and the MAC address specific will define where you are sitting. When you are on the internet, communication is being done with IP and when the packet is being entered locally, then you are being connected by Mac.

Author Bio 

Md Rakibul Hasan is a very simple and organised person. He has an extraordinary mindset through which he has the ability to move forward by solving any difficult problem, and he has been able to solve any logical problem very smartly. His RESEARCH INTEREST is (1) AI (2) Machine Learning (3) Intelligent Robots (4) Computer Vision (5) IoT.

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