What is a MAC Address?

MAC address is a unique identifier that is assigned to a NIC (Network Interface Controller/ Card). It consists of a 48 bit or 64-bit address, which is associated with the network adapter. MAC address can be in hexadecimal format. The full form of MAC address is Media Access Control address.

In this MAC Address tutorial, you will learn:

Why Use MAC Address?

Here are the important reasons for using MAC address:

  • It provides a secure way to find senders or receivers in the network.
  • MAC address helps you to prevent unwanted network access.
  • MAC address is a unique number. Hence it can be used to track the device.
  • Wi-Fi networks at the airport use the MAC address of a specific device in order to identify it.

Architecture of MAC

The above figure shows the architecture of MAC. This figure contains:

  1. MAC Address containing 6 outlets.
  2. First, three octets (group of eight bits) are Organizationally Unique Identifier (OUI). It is a 24-bit number that identifies the manufacturer, organization, or any vendor. The last three pairs of digits are the number specific to the device, which is known as Network Interface Controller (NIC) specific.
  3. Three octets contain 8 bits like a0, a1, a2, a3, a4, a5, a6, and a7.
  4. In a0, there are two bits, 0 and 1. 0 indicates unicast having a unique address of destination server. 1 bit means multicast MAC address of protocol, data stream, or application.
  5. In a1 also, there are two bits, 0 and 1. 0 indicates globally unique (OUI ENFORCED) to identify manufacturers and vendors worldwide or globally. 1 means LOCALLY ADMINISTERED, which is similar to LAN (Local Area Network) IP address.

Types of MAC Addresses

Here are the important types of MAC addresses:

Universally Administered Address

UAA is the most used type of MAC address. It is given to the network adapter at the time of manufacturing. The first three octets of Universally Administered Address find the organization / manufacturer that issued the identifier. The remaining octects of the MAC address is assigned by manufacturer.

Locally Administered Address

LAA is an address that changes the MAC address of the adapter. You may assign this address to a device used by network administrator. It overrides the address assigned by device manufacturers. Locally Administered Address does not contain OUI (Organizationally Unique Identifier). The full form of LAA is Locally Administered Address.

How to find MAC address in Windows?

Here are the ways to find MAC address in Windows:

Finding the MAC address with the Command Prompt:

Step 1) Click on "start" button.

Click on Start Menu Icon

find MAC address in Windows

Step 2) Type command prompt in a "search" box.

Click on the search result

find MAC address in Windows

Step 3) In the command prompt

Type ipconfig /all and press enter

find MAC address in Windows

Step 4) Output of the command is shown

To find out the physical address of the wired or wireless adapter, you need to scroll down and look for the values next to "Physical Address,". This will be your MAC address.

find MAC address in Windows

Finding MAC address from Network Connection Settings

Another way to find MAC address in windows is to check the details of your network adapter in Windows operating system.

Step 1) Click on "start" button.

Click on Start Menu Icon

find MAC address in Windows

Step 2) Type view network status and tasks in a "search" box.

Click on the search result

find MAC address in Windows

Step 3) Click on your network connection.

Ethernet 2 as shown in screenshot

find MAC address in Windows

Step 4) In the next screen

Click on "Details".

find MAC address in Windows

Step 5) Locate the "Physical Address".

The value for the physical address in the Network Connection Details window is your MAC address.

find MAC address in Windows

How To Change The MAC Address in Windows?

Here are the ways how you can change the MAC address in Windows:

Using the Device Manager to change MAC address

Step 1) Click on "start" button.

Click on Start Menu Icon

change MAC address in Windows

Step 2) Type device manager in a "search" box.

Click on Search Result

change MAC address in Windows

Step 3) Click on Network Adapters.

Tree will expand

change MAC address in Windows

Step 4) Right-click on the network adapter section

Click on "Properties".

change MAC address in Windows

Step 5) In the next screen

Click on Advanced tab.

change MAC address in Windows

Step 6) In "Property".

Go to "Network Address"

change MAC address in Windows

Step 7) Go to "Value"

Type MAC address you like

change MAC address in Windows

Step 8) Restart your PC.

This will enable changes.

change MAC address in Windows

Step 9) Check the change

Type ipconfig/all in command prompt.

change MAC address in Windows

Using Registry to change MAC address

Step 1) Click on "start" button.

Click Start Menu

change MAC address in Windows

Step 2) Type run in a "search" box.

Click on "Run"

change MAC address in Windows

Step 1) Write REGDIT

Press "OK".

change MAC address in Windows

Step 2) Navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<network adapter>\Parameters
change MAC address in Windows

Step 3) Right-click

Click on "new" -> "String Value".

change MAC address in Windows

Step 4) Type a name of Network Address

Press Enter

change MAC address in Windows

Step 5) Double-click the new value

Enter the adapter's new MAC value.

change MAC address in Windows

Step 6) Press "OK".

New value is saved

change MAC address in Windows

Step 7) Restart your PC.

This will enable the changes

change MAC address in Windows

Step 8) Check the change.

Type ipconfig/all in command prompt.

change MAC address in Windows

Difference between MAC address and IP address:

MAC Address IP Address
The MAC address stands for Media Access Control Address. IP address stands for Internet Protocol Address.
It consists of a 48-bit address. It consists of a 32-bit address.
MAC address works at link layer of OSI model. IP address works at network layer of OSI model.
It is referred as a physical address. It is referred as a logical address.
You can retrieve MAC address of any device using ARP protocol. You can retrieve MAC address of any device RARP protocol.
Classes are not used in MAC address. In IP, IPv4 uses A, B, C, D, and E classes.

Summary:

  • MAC address is a unique identifier that is assigned to a NIC (Network Interface Controller/ Card).
  • It provides a secure way to find senders or receivers in the network.
  • MAC Address containing 6 outlets.
  • First, three octets (group of eight bits) are Organizationally Unique Identifier (OUI).
  • The last three pairs of digits are the number specific to the device, which is known as Network Interface Controller (NIC) specific.
  • Three octets contain 8 bits like a0, a1, a2, a3, a4, a5, a6, and a7.
  • The important types of MAC address are: 1) UAA (Universally Administered Address), and 2) LAA (Locally Administered Address).
  • UAA is the most used type of MAC address.
  • LAA is an address that changes the MAC address of the adapter.
  • MAC address works at link layer of OSI model whereas, IP address works at network layer of OSI model.

 

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