The main difference between MAC Address and IP Address is that the MAC Address (Media Access Control Address) is a physical address while the IP address (Internet Protocol address) is a logical address.
A computer network is a collection of devices connected together to share data and resources. A device in the network has a MAC address and an IP address. The MAC address is a hardware address that is burnt to the NIC during the manufacturing process. On the other hand, the IP address is a logical address that helps to identify the connection of the device to the internet. The user can view these addresses of his device by typing “ipconfig” in the command prompt.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is MAC Address
– Definition, Functionality
2. What is IP Address
– Definition, Functionality
3. Difference Between MAC Address and IP Address
– Comparison of Key Differences
MAC Address, IP Address, Networking
What is MAC Address
MAC address stands for Media Access Control Address. The computer manufacturer provides this address to the machine. Thus, each computing device has a MAC Address. It helps to uniquely identify each device. It is also called the Physical Address. This address is in the Network Interface Controller (NIC) of the device.
It is a hexadecimal address which is 48bits long. The format is MM:MM:MM: SS: SS: SS. There is a total of 6 bytes. The first 3 bytes represent the manufacturer while the other three bytes describe the serial number of the NIC. One example of a MAC address is 00:1B:63:84:45: E6. The networking device Switch checks the MAC address to send data to the destination device in data communication. Furthermore, according to Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, the MAC address works in the Data Link Layer.
What is IP Address
IP address stands for Internet Protocol address. It is a logical address that helps to connect the device to the network. An administrator or the Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns the IP address to the device. It is possible to assign the IP address manually or dynamically. There are two types of IP addresses. They are IPv4 and IPv6. The most common IP address version is IPv4. It is a 32bit address, which is equivalent to 4 bytes. One example is 22.214.171.124. The other version which is IPv6 is a 128-bit address.
Router is another vital networking device. It forwards data from one network to another depending on the IP address. When a router receives a packet, it examines the IP address. If the packet is for its own network, it receives the packet. If it is not, the router forwards the packet to the other network. Therefore, the router uses the IP address to take decisions on forwarding the packet to the correct destination. Furthermore, according to Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, the IP address works in the Network Layer.
Difference Between MAC Address and IP Address
MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to a Network Interface Controller (NIC) of the computing device. On the other hand, IP address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.
MAC address stands for Media Access Control address whereas IP address stands for Internet Protocol address. MAC address is also called the physical, hardware or ethernet address. On the other hand, IP address is also called the logical address, network or internet address.
MAC address helps to uniquely identify the device while IP address helps to identify the connection of a device on the internet.
The device manufacturer assigns the MAC address to the device while an administrator or an ISP assigns the IP address to a device. It is not possible to change the MAC address, but changing is possible with the IP address.
MAC address is 48 bits (6 bytes) long. IPv4, IP address is 32 bits (4 bytes) and IPv6, IP address 128bits (16bytes).
Associated OSI Layer
The MAC address works in the Data Link Layer while IP address works in the Network Layer.
MAC address stands for Media Access Control address and IP address stands for Internet Protocol address. These are two address are frequently used in networking. The difference between MAC Address and IP Address is that the MAC Address is a physical address while the IP address is a logical address.
1.“MAC Address.” Plagiarism Definition, Available here.
2.“IP Address.” Plagiarism Definition, Available here.
1. “Ipv4 address” By Indeterminate – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Airodump-ng scanning” by Christiaan Colen(CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
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