Physical Address

What Does Physical Address Mean?

In IT, a physical address refers to either a memory location, identified in the form of a binary number, or a media access control (MAC) address.

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A physical address is also known as a binary address or a real address.

Techopedia Explains Physical Address

In computing, physical address refers to a memory address or the location of a memory cell in the main memory. It is used by both hardware and software for accessing data. Software, however, does not use physical addresses directly; instead, it accesses memory using a virtual address. A hardware component known as the memory management unit (MMU) is responsible for translating a virtual address to a physical address.

In networking, physical address refers to a computer’s MAC address, which is a unique identifier associated with a network adapter that is used for identifying a computer in a network.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.