Difference Between MAC and IP Address

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 06, 2022


Difference Between MAC and IP Address Difference Between MAC and IP Address

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


A collection of devices connected by links makes up a computer network. Any device that can send or receive data can be a node, including a computer, printer, or another electronic gadget. Communication channels are the connections between the nodes. Distributed processing, which divides tasks across numerous computers, is used in computer networks. Instead, one computer completes the entire operation, while each computer completes a portion of it.  In IT, communication is based on computer networks. They can contain a wide range of networks and are used in a great number of ways. A group of linked computers that can exchange information is known as a computer network. Although computer networks date back to the 1960s, they have advanced significantly in the 50 years since then. Client/server and peer-to-peer networks are the two most common types of computer networks, though they can both have other designs. Client computers and other devices connect to centralized storage servers in client/server networks. Devices used in peer-to-peer networks frequently perform the same tasks. While client/server networks are more frequently utilized by organizations, they are more prevalent in residences.

A group of computers sharing resources that are available on or offered by network nodes is known as a computer network. Over digital links, the computers communicate with one another using standard communication protocols. These connections are made up of telecommunication network technologies based on physically wired, optical, and wireless radio-frequency techniques that can be set up in several different network topologies. Personal computers, servers, networking equipment, and other specialized or general-purpose hosts can all function as nodes in a computer network. They can have hostnames and are identifiable by network addresses. After being assigned, hostnames act as recognizable labels for the nodes and are rarely updated. Network addresses are used by communication protocols like the Internet Protocol to locate and identify the nodes.

All network devices in computer networks can connect and communicate with one another. But the topic of how one device would uniquely identify the other devices in the network is something that always crosses our minds. Only with the aid of MAC and IP addresses is this feasible. There is uncertainty between these two once more. So, let's use an example to explain to them before we define them. Although Mac address and IP address are two search terms that have been extensively explored and dealt with, many people are still perplexed by these two terms. Since almost everyone is covered by these addresses, it is critical to understand how they relate to and differ from one another.

Suppose someone has to deliver a package to someone else. To effectively send the courier, the sender must provide two details about the recipient. The two items are the receiver's name and address, which may include a house number, street, city, state, and pin code (to specifically identify the right person to deliver the courier). If we apply this example to networking, the MAC address will be the address of the particular nodes where we want to send the data, and the IP address will be the address of the network connection where several devices may be present. A network's gadgets can connect and communicate with one another. However, the main question that usually comes to mind when we try to rationalize the connection between these devices is how one device would uniquely identify and communicate data to the other device in the network. Only with the aid of MAC and IP addresses is this feasible. The manufacturer gives the NIC card a MAC address. An IP address is a number that a network assigns to a workstation's NIC.

MAC Address vs. IP Address

The main distinction between a Mac address and an IP address is that although the latter identifies a device whenever it is connected to the Internet, wherever it may be on the planet, the former identifies basic computer hardware in a consistent, sequential order. Both of them, albeit they enhance the security of wireless network systems, can be distinguished from one another in several ways.

Both the MAC address and the IP address are used to uniquely identify a device on the internet. The IP address is generated by the Internet service provider (ISP), whereas the MAC address is supplied by the NAC Card's manufacturer (Internet Service Provider). There are many significant differences between a MAC address and an IP address. Determining how a network is connected requires knowledge of a device's IP address (using which the device is connecting to the network). On the other hand, the MAC Address ensures that the computing device is located precisely. It gives us the ability to distinguish diverse devices on the access network in a unique way.

Difference Between MAC and IP Address in Tabular Form

Table: MAC Address vs. IP Address

Parameters of Comparison

       MAC Address

  IP Address

Meaning It alludes to a distinctive address that was added to a certain gadget during production.  It describes a distinctive address that is associated with a certain device after it is connected to the Internet.
Full Forms Media access control address represents an Internet Protocol address.
Care For It takes care of the device's outward appearance. It oversees all activities performed via the Internet as well as a device's Internet connection.
Supplied By The maker of the product itself typically offers it. Usually, the Internet service provider offers it.
Various Names Also known as physical address or hardware. Likewise referred to as logical or Internet address.

What is MAC Address?

The acronym is MAC address or Media Access Control Address. A Network Interface Card or Controller is assigned a specific identification code called the MAC Address (NIC). A 64-bit or 48-bit address connects it to the appropriate network adaptor. The MAC Address can be represented in hexadecimal. The six different sets of two characters or digits that make up this type of address are separated from one another by colons. A network node's MAC address serves as its unique identifier. It can also be referred to as the software address, the burnt-in address, or the physical address. The NIC's manufacturer provides the MAC address (Network Interface Card). It is fixed for that particular device and is built into the hardware. The 48-bit MAC address either contains 6 groups of 2 hexadecimal digits or 3 groups of 4 hexadecimal devices. The spaces between these hexadecimal integers can be either colon (:) or hyphens (-). (:). Use 23-AB-CD-EF-56-78 OR 23AB: CDEF:5678 as an example. The 48-bit MAC address is divided into two portions of 24 bits each. The first 24 bits are used to indicate the OUI (Organization Unique Identifier), while the next 24 bits are used to represent the particular vendor data.

The phrase "Mac address" stands for "media access control address" and refers to the exact unique order that is tied to every piece of computer hardware to make it detectable when necessary. The NIC supplies this address during the product's actual production. The corporations had to search for a concept that could assist them in uniquely identifying all of those devices as the number of devices rose throughout the world. This desire led to the development of the Mac address concept. It essentially stands for media access control address and uniquely identifies every single computer equipment, making it possible for anyone to recognize and distinguish any specific device. The majority of the time, if a specific gadget is produced in a factory, the manufacturer will assign a Mac address to it. Due to this specific reason, the device must remain at the same Mac address for the duration of its operation. It is impossible to modify the Mac address for any reason. Because they exclusively pertain to the hardware, other names for Mac addresses are hardware or physical addresses. The Mac address operates on a specific layer known as the data link layer and consists of a total of 48 bits, or six bytes.

Your router must be able to transfer data packets to the appropriate device on its network when they arrive from the internet. It does this by employing MAC addresses, giving each network-connected device a private IP address based on its MAC address. Your public IP address, which is different from this, is the one that your internet service provider (ISP) gives you. Your router keeps track of outgoing requests for data so that when the data is returned, it may attach the proper private IP to the data packets and then send them to whichever device's MAC address matches that private IP. Your wireless router uses MAC addresses to transport your data to the appropriate location and to safeguard your connection by only allowing traffic from devices whose MAC addresses it is familiar with. The term for this is MAC filtering. Technicians can also utilize MAC addresses to track down network connectivity issues. Looking at the MAC address makes it simpler to identify which hardware linked to the network is sending and receiving data because they are specific to each hardware item. They can then determine which device is having connection issues.

What is IP Address?

Internet Protocol Address is referred to as IP Address. The address that helps a user recognize a network connection is known as an IP Address. It is also known by the designation given to individual connections in the current network by their logical addresses. An IP address enables us to comprehend and regulate how different devices interact with one another over the Internet. It also describes the distinctive characteristics of different Internet routers. Internet Protocol address is referred to as an "IP address" and has little to do with the computer's hardware. In other words, the purpose of assigning a specific IP address to a device is to monitor that device's Internet connection with any Internet service provider.

In contrast to a Mac address, an IP address, which stands for Internet Protocol address, is used primarily to identify any device that connects to the Internet for any reason. This allows for the tracking of all Internet-related actions and the suppression of any malicious Internet activity. This specific address is provided by an administrator of Internet services, also referred to as the Internet service provider, and it may change depending on certain unique conditions. Depending on certain modifications, this particular technology either utilizes a 32-bit address or a 128-bit address. However, there are security risks associated with this address because, after using certain fixes, a third party can learn that it belongs to a specific device. A third party can quickly determine the location and type of network a certain device is visiting if they know the IP address of that device. To further safeguard IP addresses, certain advances are being made in this area.

An address that specifically identifies a network connection is an IP address. This address, which is given to a link in a network, is known as the "Logical Address." The network's administrator or Internet service providers typically provide IP addresses (ISP). Dynamic or static can be used. When a device connects to many networks, it might only be transient and change periodically. Binary versions of IP addresses are available. Because it identifies a network connection, it is mostly employed in routine activities. It is utilized in the OSI or TCP/IP reference models' network layer.

Most IP Addresses Fall Into One Of Two Categories

Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)

An IPv4 address is made up of 32 bits. If you want to access this address in decimal form, add dots (.) between the digits. As an illustration, A 20-byte header field in the IPv4 header field has checksum bits for error correction. Support for IPsec is an optional security feature in IPv4. The extra fields are also accessible for IPv4 addresses. There is support for packet sizes up to 576 bytes. Using IPv4 addressing, the data packets can be multicast or broadcast.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6)

The IPv6 address is 128 bits. This address is also accessible in hexadecimal format, with semicolons (:) separating each digit. For illustration: 2FFE:F300:0213: AB01:0132:7289:2134: ABDC. Although the header file does not contain the checksum bits, the IPv6 header field is 40 bytes long. IPv6 has to have IPsec enabled to use security features. The optional fields are not available in IPv6 addressing. There is support for packet sizes up to 1280 bytes. IPv6 addresses cannot be used for broadcasting.

Difference Between MAC Address and IP Address In Points

  • In contrast, an IP address is used to examine a device's network connection while a MAC address is used to examine a device's hardware details.
  • The IP address refers to the o Internet Protocol address, whereas the Mac address stands for media access control address.
  • MAC addresses are also referred to as hardware or physical addresses, whereas IP addresses are referred to as logical, Internet, or network addresses.
  • While it is impossible to modify the Mac address, it is feasible to change the IP address.
  • While an IP address is tied to a device by the supplier of Internet services, a Mac address is assigned by the device's manufacturer.


The world used to revolve around technology, but as time has gone on, technology has gradually taken over the world. Today, it is easy to find a device connected to the Internet in every home and city. The two most frequently used addresses are IP addresses and Mac addresses, and they are tied to all of these gadgets to govern their unique identities. To fully comprehend the idea behind each of these talks, it is crucial to read both of them carefully and draw distinctions between them. Since practically every device is connected to one or the other, a specific authority agency is using these addresses to monitor every behaviour of every person.


Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between MAC and IP Address." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-mac-and-ip-address-883>.

Edited by

Share this article