MAC address

Term Main definition
MAC address

A MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller to identify it on a network. It is made up of six groups of two hexadecimal digits, separated by hyphens, colons, or without a separator.

A MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller to identify it on a network. It is made up of six groups of two hexadecimal digits, separated by hyphens, colons, or without a separator.

A MAC address is so important because it is the unique identifier that is assigned to a network interface controller. This identifier is used in communications within a network segment and is common in most IEEE 802 networking technologies.

A MAC address is primarily assigned by a device manufacturer and each address can be stored in the hardware, such as the card's read-only memory. A new random number of digits is generated for each packet sent out and provides a nonpredictable form of addressing for any node on an IPv4 network that has more than one network interface (i.e., NIC), such as routers and multilayer switches.

MAC addresses are also primarily assigned by device manufacturers to identify different types of hardware on a LAN segment - such as printers, servers, etc.

There are two different types of MAC addresses: EUI-48 and EUI-64. The first type, EUI-48, replaces the obsolete term MAC-48, while the second type, EUI-64, is a more recent standard that has replaced MAC-48. Both types are managed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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Synonyms: Media Access Control Address