Media Access Control address or commonly known as MAC address is a unique identifier for network interfaces. It is used in most of network technologies as a network address. It’s also called burned-in address (BIA) or Ethernet hardware address (EHA) because it’s a unique identification code which cannot be altered because its embedded to the hardware. Each NIC (network interface card) has its own unique MAC ID which is different from IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
The MAC address is a 8 bit address with 6 different sets of hexadecimal numbers. Few examples are as follows;
Some of the manufacturers use a unique identifier in the MAC address which helps to identify the manufacturer. 3 examples are shown below of DELL, CISCO and Nortel.
- Dell: 00-14-22,
- Cisco: 00-40-96,
- Nortel: 00-04-DC
One of its main usage is in filtering or wireless networks. If few people connect to a wireless network (WiFi) then the public IP of them will be the same and therefore how the packets of data move to the exact person which requested, it is based on the MAC address.
It can also be used to track network users and even limit access to them. Filtering can be used to track network users, and to limit their access.
MAC addresses can also be used in data recovery to connect to a wireless device.
It can also be used to locate the geographical location of the devices.
Easy way to find your MAC ID, if your using windows platform, simply go to command prompt and type “ipconfig/all” which will display all the MAC ID’s of your devices.
In a Mac computer, the process to find MAC address is as follows: go to utilities, and start the Terminal app. Type networksetup –listallhardwareports. The computer will display all network interfaces and their MAC addresses