What is IP Address and MAC Address

What is IP Address and MAC Address

IP Address

IP Address is the acronym for Internet Protocol address. An internet protocol address is used to uniquely identify a computer or device such as printers, storage disks on a computer network.

There are currently two versions of IP addresses. IPv4 uses 32-bit numbers. Due to the massive growth of the internet, IPv6 has been developed, and it uses 128-bit numbers.

IPv4 addresses are formatted in four groups of numbers separated by dots. The minimum number is 0, and the maximum number is 255. An example of an IPv4 address looks like this;

IPv6 addresses are formatted in groups of six numbers separated by full colons. The group numbers are written as 4 hexadecimal digits. An example of an IPv6 address looks like this;



In order to simplify the representation of the IP addresses in text format, leading zeros are omitted, and the group of zeros is completed omitted. The above address in a simplified format is displayed as;


MAC Address

MAC Address is the acronym for media access control address. MAC addresses are used to uniquely identify network interfaces for communication at the physical layer of the network. MAC addresses are usually embedded into the network card.

A MAC address is like a serial number of a phone while the IP address is like the phone number.


We will assume you are using linux for this exercise. Open the command prompt.

Enter the command

ip a

You will get detailed information about all the network connections available on your computer. The results shown below are for a broadband modem to show the MAC address and IPv4 format and a wireless network to show IPv6 format.

# ip a

1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN group default qlen 1000
link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
inet scope host lo
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 ::1/128 scope host
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
2: eno1: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000
link/ether e0:07:1b:ff:6d:ac brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
inet brd scope global noprefixroute eno1
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 fe80::30a4:dab1:d199:dd9c/64 scope link noprefixroute
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever


Leave a Reply