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NETWORKING - Mac Address

by Bob Wright
2006/02/04

What is a MAC Address?

Short for Media Access Control address, a hardware address that uniquely identifies each node of a network. Nodes on a network are each hardware item connected to the network, such as network cards, (NICs), routers, hubs and switches. In a home network, technically referred to as a IEEE 802 network, this type of network is divided into two sublayers. Now with out getting terribly technical using terms like DLC layer, OSI Reference Model and so forth... these two layers are controlled by the way they recognize each node on your network. In today's Ethernet networks, (99.9% of all home networks today are Ethernet), either the nodes are recognized by their MAC address, (this is already internally written into each device or node on your network), or by IP address, (IP address are typically assigned by either your software or manually in the software of your network). Now this is terribly simplified, but it gives you an idea behind the term Mac address.

How do I determine the MAC address of my PC?
Windows
Windows NT/2000/2003/XP


    * Click on Start > Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt
    * Open the command prompt
    * From the command prompt type "ipconfig /all"
    * (If the information scrolls off the screen you can type "ipconfig
      /all|more")
    * Find the network adapter you want to know the MAC address of
    * Locate the number next to Physical Address. This is your MAC address

The MAC Address will be displayed in the form of 00-11-5B-7E-A5-83.

Example "ipconfig /all" output:
Windows IP Configuration

        Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : Master
        Primary Dns Suffix  . . . . . . . :
        Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Unknown
        IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : Yes
        WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

    Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:
        Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . : cableone.com
        Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8169/8110 Family Gigabit
    Ethernet NIC
        Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-11-5B-7E-A5-83
        Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
        IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.25.100
        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.25.221
        DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 24.116.39.12
                                            24.116.0.202
                                            24.116.0.159


Windows 95/98/ME

    * Click the Start Menu, then select Run
    * Type in "winipcfg" and click OK
    * Select the appropriate Ethernet adapter
    * Locate the number next to Adapter Address. This is your MAC address

The MAC Address will be displayed in the form of 00-10-5A-44-12-B5.


Linux * As the root user (or user with appropriate permissions) * Type "ifconfig -a" * From the displayed information, find eth0 (this is the default first Ethernet adapter) * Locate the number next to the HWaddr. This is your MAC address The MAC Address will be displayed in the form of 00:08:C7:1B:8C:02. Example "ifconfig -a" output: eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00-11-5B-7E-A5-83 inet addr:192.168.25.200 Bcast:192.168.25.100 Mask:255.255.255.0 ...additional output removed...

 

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