Media Access Control Address

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What Does Media Access Control Address Mean?

A media access control address (MAC address) is a unique identifier for an Ethernet or network adapter over a network. It distinguishes different network interfaces and is used for a number of network technologies, particularly most IEEE 802 networks, including Ethernet. In the OSI model, MAC addresses occur in the Media Access Control Protocol sub-layer.

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A MAC address is also known as physical address, hardware address and burned-in address.

Techopedia Explains Media Access Control Address

MAC addresses are generally assigned by the vendor/manufacturer of every network interface card (NIC) developed. They are implemented in most network types, but unlike IP address, MAC addresses are permanent and can’t be changed. A MAC address is created using the specifications provided by IEEE.

Each MAC address consists of a 12-digit hexadecimal notation, which is embedded within the NIC firmware and is composed of a six-digit manufacturer’s organization unique identifier followed by a six-digit serialized or random unique identifier.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

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.