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What is MAC Address?

This tutorial covers everything one like to know about networking basics including circuit switching vs packet switching, TCP/IP protocol fields, ARP/RARP protocol fields, what is IP address ,what is MAC address, networking devices which include hub, switch, bridge, router, gateway and firewall.

MAC address stands for Medium Access Control Address. MAC address is also referred as physical address or hardware address or ethernet address.
MAC address is unique to network device wanting to utilize TCPIP network or LAN or WLAN service. It is "burnt into" the device by manufacturer of the device or Card.
MAC address is composed of 48 bit or six hexadecimal digits,separated by colons or dashes.
Example - 00-14-2A-3F-47-D0
Remember Hexadecimal digits can be numbers from 0-9 and letters from A-F.

MAC address represent manifacturer of the card and device number. The first three pairs of digits represent manufacturer(called OUI-Organisationally Unique Identifier) and last three pairs of digits represent number specific to the device(called NIC-Network Interface Controller Specific). ARP,Address Resoultion Protocol is used to convert IP address to the MAC address. MAC address is very essential for the IP layer to work. MAC is the foundation for IP address to communicate packet from one system to the other. Similar to IP addresses, there are some MAC addresses defined for special purposes,For example FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF is reserved ror broadcast purpose.

Commands to know what mac address system has

arp -a
Above command lists out all the IP addresses and their physical addresses attached to the system where command is issued.
Similarly "rarp" command is used to convert physical address to the IP address.
"ipconfig/all" command is used to know physical address of the device.

RELATED LINKS

List of 3 digits of MAC or Ethernet card mannufacturer- READ MORE

This page explains what is mac address, gives various classes,commands and useful references.

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Networking related links

Circuit Switching vs Packet switching   LAN vs WAN vs MAN   What is an IP address   What is MAC Address   Basics of OSI and TCP-IP Layers   What is Hub   What is Switch   What is Bridge   What is Router   What is Gateway   Firewall basics   TCP-IP Packet format   ARP Protocol format  

RF and Wireless Terminologies


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