Thursday, 09 December 2021

What is the difference between MAC address and IP address?

Surely you have ever heard of the IP address or MAC address. Both concepts are identifiers of devices connected to the network made up of several numbers and letters. It is common for many users to confuse them and for them to really know what each of these addresses is for. The basic difference between MAC and IP addresses is that the former uniquely identifies a device. Instead, an IP address uniquely defines the connection to a device on a network. 

It is very common for many users to confuse them and not really know what each of these addresses is for. Next, we will explain what they consist of and how useful IP and MAC addresses are and what differences there are between the two.

What is the IP address

For starters, the IP address is the most common. All devices connected to a network have an IP address that identifies them. The IP serves to distinguish the devices that are connected to a network. This address, made up of numbers, can vary and is normally assigned to you automatically when you connect to a network. 



There are two types of IP addresses, Public IPs and Private IPs, and each of them has a totally different purpose. The public is assigned by our Internet operator and serves to identify us on the Internet. This is not stable, on the contrary, the most normal thing is that they change from time to time.

On the other hand, the Private IP is the one assigned to the devices -printer, router, mobile or computer- within a private or home network. In this case, all the devices connected to the same WiFi have a different address. 



IP addresses are made up of numbers separated by periods. The addresses from to, from to, and from to are reserved for private IPs.

What is the MAC address

The MAC address is the unique identifier that each manufacturer assigns to the network card of their devices. Therefore, the MAC address identifies the network card of a device and cannot vary. It is like the DNI. Therefore, when you connect to a network, you must be careful because you are giving the 'DNI' of your device to the network administrator to have access to it. Being unique, MAC addresses can be used by a network administrator to allow or deny access to a network.



A MAC address, unlike an IP address, also contains letters. These digits are not random. Three of the six MAC address pairs identify the manufacturer, and the other half the device model. An example MAC address would be 20-19-5a-43-65-b5.

Both addresses are used to identify a device. However, the IP address identifies a connection to a device on a network and the MAC identifies a device that participates in a network. 





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