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Difference Between MAC and IP Address

mac_ipMAC vs IP Address

MAC (Media Access Control) and IP (Internet Protocol) are the two addresses that identifies your computer in a network. It is usually used to track data packets to ensure that they get to where it was intended. An IP address is usually assigned by the network administrator or internet service provider, you are either provided a static one at the beginning or given a dynamic one every time you connect to the network. This is not true with MAC addresses as it is already embedded on the device or the network card during manufacturing. It is supposed to be permanent and could not be changed by anyone as it was meant to identify a specific network interface card no matter where it is in the world.

Experienced IT people can deduce from an IP address to which network that computer is connected to and consequently its approximate location. Certain addresses should only be from certain regions or countries and are thus a little bit easier to track. With a MAC address, this is not possible as the address itself does not contain information that lets you identify its location. For this reason, it is more comparable to a name than an address.

One of the uses of a MAC address which people are most likely to encounter is in MAC filtering, used by wireless routers to allow or disallow certain computer from accessing the network. This is a quick and easy method if you only want a handful of computers or laptops to connect. A MAC address can also be used to assign an IP address to a certain computer. The server queries the MAC address of the network card, looks it up in a list, and assigns the corresponding IP address,

Despite all the security measures put in place. MAC and IP address spoofing is still easy for those who knows how to do it. It is therefore still possible to gain access to a WiFI network by monitoring it and intercepting the MAC address of an authorized computer. IP address spoofing is also possible, a common practice for people who do not want to be found.

Summary:
1. MAC address is supposedly unique to each network interface card while an IP address is usually replaced
2. An IP address reveals which element on which network it is while the same cannot be extracted from a MAC address
3. MAC is one of the security methods in WiFi
4. Both IP and MAC addresses can still be spoofed or copied


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2 Comments

  1. I have tried to leave a comment on this blog but every time I try it refreshes the comment or gives an error. Do you think the writer could possibly look into the reason it keeps messing up?

  2. I think one of the most vital difference between a MAC address and IP is that all the NIC of a computer will be assigned the same ip address by a DHcp , but their MAC is always unique and different .

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