Whether you have a wired or wireless network, your computer must be equipped with a Network Interface Card (NIC) to communicate over the network. A network card is essentially a computer card that converts data into an electrical signal that can be sent over a network, allowing a computer to connect to a network. And each network card has a hardware address called MAC (Media Access Control), these are unique and cannot be changed. Let’s understand the usefulness of a macro address in a network. How do I find my Mac address on my Windows 10 computer?
What is a Media Access Control Address (MAC)
The MAC address is also called the media access control address – a unique identifier assigned to a network adapter (controller/network interface card). The MAC address is also called the physical address of a network device. It provides a secure way to find senders or receivers on the network, prevent unwanted network access, trace a device on the network and much more.
MAC addresses are 12-digit alphanumeric values expressed in hexadecimal numbers. The address itself is 48 bits or 6 bytes long (bits and bytes are binary, one byte is 8 bits) and is often hard-coded by the network card manufacturer.
An example of a MAC address is 00-1A-2B-3C-4D-56. Here you see the address of the Mac, which has 6 exits. The first three bytes (a group of eight bits) are the manufacturer’s unique identifier (YES) and the last three bytes are the device-number-specific identifier, called the Network Interface Controller (NIC).
MAC address types
There are three types of MAC addresses: Unicast, Multicast and Broadcast.
- The unicast MAC address is the address of a specific network card or of the ports embedded in the network cards. The built-in physical address of a network card is the unicast MAC address of that network card.
- A multicast MAC address is a group of devices, the IEEE has the organization identification (YES) 01-00-5E(first 3 bytes or 24 bits) reserved for multicast MAC addresses. The remaining 24 bits are defined by the application or device in the network that wants to send data to the group.
- The transmitted MAC address represents all devices on the network. The IEEE has reservedFFFFF.FFFFFF as the MAC address for the broadcast. Any device that wants to send data to all devices in the network can use this address as the MAC address of the destination.
How do I find the MAC address in Windows?
There are several ways to find the MAC address on a Windows 10 computer.
Through the command line:
- Open a command prompt as administrator,
- Type the ipconfig /all command and press Enter,
- It shows the IP address of the computer and other information such as the address of the default gateway.
- And to find the physical address of the wired or wireless adapter, scroll down and look for the values next to Physical address. This will be your MAC address.
Use the network connection settings :
- Press Windows + R, type ncpa.cpl and click OK,
- The network configuration screen appears,
- Find your active network adapter, double-click it to open its properties,
- Then click on Details and in the Network Connection Details window, locate the physical address – this is your MAC address.
How to change the Macro address in Windows 10
Yeah, we already talked about the MAC address built into the physical device at the manufacturer’s. However, it is relatively easy to change the MAC address to another MAC address.
- Press Windows + R, type devmgmt.msc and press ok.
- The Device Manager opens and displays a list of all installed device drivers,
- Locate and expand the network adapters, right-click the installed network driver (e.g. a Realtek PCIe GBE family controller) and select Properties,
- Go to the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Properties section and find the network address,
- Then navigate to the value and enter the desired MAC address, click OK and restart the computer,
- Run the ipconfig /all command again and check for changes to the macro address.
IP addressvs. MAC address
- The IP address is the Internet Protocol address, while the MAC address is the media access control address.
- The IP address is a four-byte (IPv4) or eight-byte (IPv6) address, while the MAC address is a sixteen-byte hexadecimal address.
- IP addresses refer to TCP/IP (network software), MAC addresses refer to the hardware of network adapters.
- IP addresses are provided by the ISP (Internet Service Provider), while MAC addresses are provided by chip manufacturers.
- The IP address works on the network layer of the OSI model, while the MAC address works on the data link layer.
The video here explains the difference between MAC and IP address: The difference between the two using examples and the size of the frame.
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