Difference between MAC address and IP address

What is the Mac address?

MAC address is a unique identifier that is assigned to a NIC (Network Interface Controller/ Card). It consists of a 48 bit or 64-bit address, which is associated with the network adapter. MAC address can be in hexadecimal format. The full form of MAC address is Media Access Control address. A MAC address is generally in six sets of two-digits/characters that are separated by colons.

What is the IP address?

An IP address is an address that helps you to identify a network connection. It is termed as the ‘Logical Address,’ which is provided to a connection in a network.

IP address helps you to control how devices on the Internet communicate and defines the behavior of internet routers.

Key Differences

  • MAC address is a unique hardware identification number that is assigned to a NIC (Network Interface Controller/ Card), whereas the IP address is an address that helps you to identify a network connection.
  • MAC address is assigned by the manufacturer of the hardware interface while the IP address is assigned by the network administrator or Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • Mac address defines the devices identity, but IP address describes how the devices are connected to the network.
  • MAC addresses can be used for broadcasting, on the other hand, IP address can be used for broadcasting or multicasting.
  • The MAC address is implemented in the Data-Link layer of the OSI or TCP/IP reference model. In contrast, the IP address is implemented in the Network layer of the TCP/IP or OSI model.

In this tutorial, you will learn:

Why need Mac address?

Here are pros/benefits of using MAC address:

  • It provides a secure way to find senders or receivers in the network.
  • MAC address helps you to prevent unwanted network access.
  • MAC address is a unique number; hence it can be used to track the device.
  • Wi-Fi networks at the airport use the MAC address of a specific device to identify it.

Why need an IP address?

Here the pros/benefits of using IP address:

  • An IP address is assigned to every device on a network so that the device can be located on that network.
  • It helps you to develop a virtual connection between a destination and a source.
  • IP address is one type of numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the IP for communication.
  • It acts as an identifier for a specific machine on a particular network.
  • It helps you to specify the technical format of the addressing and packaging scheme.

Characteristic of mac address

Here, are some important characteristic of mac address:

  • TCP/IP networks can use MAC addresses in the communication
  • It helps you to Identify a specific NIC in a computer on a network
  • Network devices cannot efficiently route traffic using MAC addresses
  • Not provide information about physical or logical network configuration.

Characteristics of IP Address

Here, are an essential characteristic of IP address:

  • IP address is a numeral label assigned to each device
  • IP helps you to controls how devices on the Internet communicate and identifies the behavior of internet routers.
  • It is assigned by the network admin or internet service provider (ISP).
  • It can be either 32-bit long (4 bytes) or 128-bits (16 bytes).

How to find out your IP address?

Here is a way to find the IP address in Windows:

Step 1) Click on the “start” button.

Click on Start Menu Icon

Step 2) Type command prompt in a “search” box.

Click on the search result.

Step 3) In the command prompt type ipconfig and press enter. You can see a field called IPv4 Address.

How to find your MAC address?

Here is a way to find the MAC address in Windows

Step 1) Click on the “start” button.

Click on Start Menu Icon

Step 2) Type command prompt in a “search” box.

Click on the search result.

Step 3) In the command prompt

Type ipconfig /all and press enter

Step 4) Output of the command is shown.

To find out the physical address of the wired or wireless adapter, you need to scroll down and look for the values next to “Physical Address”. This will be your MAC address.

MAC Address and IP Address

Here are the main differences between MAC and IP address:

MAC Address IP Address
MAC address is a unique identifier that is assigned to a Network Interface Controller/ Card. An IP address is an address that helps you to identify a network connection.
The full form of MAC address is Media Access Control Address. The full form of IP address is an Internet Protocol Address.
It is assigned by the manufacturer of the interface hardware. It is assigned by the network administrator or internet service provider (ISP).
Information is send by Ethernet using the mac address.

Information is send by the Internet using the IP address.
The Mac filtering feature helps to prevent security threats by hackers. The IP address does not have any specific filter.
Mac defines the device identify. IP address define how the device are connected to the network.
Mac address is separated by colons. Ip address is separated by dots.
Mac address is hardware oriented. IP address is software oriented.
You can’t hide the mac address from the device. It is possible to hide IP addresses using the router or VPN.
The MAC addresses are not flexible and not remains constant for a device. The IP address is flexible. It gets changed every time whenever it connects to some other network.
Mac address helps you to identify the device in the local network. IP address helps you to identify the device in the global network.
MAC addresses can be used for broadcasting. The IP address can be used for broadcasting or multicasting.
The MAC address is implemented in the Data-Link layer of the OSI or TCP/IP reference model.

The IP address is implemented in the Network layer of the TCP/IP or OSI model.
Mac address help to solve IP address issues. IP never addresses able to solve Mac address issues.