What is a MAC address?


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What is a MAC address?MAC address (Media Access Control) is interpreted as an especial feature code of Network Interface Card (NIC) realized communication between gadgets in the connections system in a physical level. This number is appointed to the NIC by its designer and kept in read-only memory.

IP and MAC addresses make possible data exchange in computing communication system. Knowing of IP address and MAC number of your device makes remote access accomplishable with Wake-On-LAN procedure. In addition, MAC address can be used for restrict access to different network resources, such as the Internet.

MAC address’s length is 48 bits provided 248 (or 281,474,976,710,656) possible addresses. They are recorded as 6 groups of double hexadecimal numbers divided by hyphen “-“ or two-spot “:”.


  • 00:11:22:33:44:44;
  • 67-78-89-AB-CD-EF.

First 3 bits called OUI (Organizational Unique Identifier) is an especial identificatory of organization or producing company. Lowest 3 bits is an interface number; theirs value is established in factory and unique for each particular device.

Universal and local MAC addresses

Universal MAC address is assigned by the producer of its network interface on a random basis including producer feature code. This number is marked on hardware equipment and stored in the memory.

Otherwise, the majority of modern NICs map user’s MAC address allowed to indicate this number performing virtual communication system organization. This is a local MAC address with no constant mode and which doesn’t burn in a card during production.

How can you find your MAC address?

  • Windows

In a command line enter “inconfig/all”. Address is displayed in “Physical address”.

  • Mac

Type “networksetup-listallhardwareports” in command line, and you will see it in “Ethernet address’.

  • Linux

Write “inconfig” in command line. In “HWaddr” The MAC address of your NIC will be displayed.

In general, MAC address is given permanently and can’t be changed. But in some cases, you can modify it in a software level, but it will run wild after system reset. The procedure of address transaction is known as MAC-spoofing.

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