MAC and IP are the addresses that uniquely defines a device and a connection in a network. A MAC address is a number assigned to the NIC card by the manufacturer. IP address is a number assigned to the connection in a network. The basic difference between MAC address and IP address is that a MAC address uniquely identifies a device that wants to take part in a network.
On the other hand, an IP address uniquely defines a connection of a network with an interface of a device. Let us study some other differences between MAC address and IP address with the help of comparison chart shown below.
Content: MAC address Vs IP address
|Basis for Comparison||MAC||IP|
|Full Form||Media Access Control Address.||Internet Protocol Address.|
|Purpose||It identifies the physical address of a computer on the internet.||It identifies connection of a computer on the internet.|
|Bits||It is 48 bits (6 bytes) hexadecimal address.||IPv4 is a 32-bit (4 bytes) address, and IPv6 is a 128-bits (16 bytes) address.|
|Address||MAC address is assigned by the manufacturer of NIC card.||IP address is assigned by the network administrator or Internet Service Provider.|
|Retrieve Address||ARP protocol can retrieve MAC address of a device.||RARP protocol can retrieve IP address of a device.|
Definition of Mac Address
Address that uniquely defines a hardware interface is called MAC (Media Access Control) Address. MAC address is purchased by the manufacturer, producing interface hardware and assign the MAC addresses sequentially to the interface hardware as they are produced. MAC address is burned into the ROM of Network Interface Card (NIC). NIC is an interface hardware that is used by the computer to become a part of a network.
MAC address is a 48-bit hexadecimal address. The format of a MAC address is MM:MM:MM:SS:SS:SS, where MM:MM:MM is a 3-byte address of the manufacturer. On the other hand, SS:SS:SS is a serial number of NIC card. MAC Address of each computer on a network is unique. When you change or replace the NIC card of your computer, your MAC address also gets changed.
MAC address is used at the data link layer of OSI/TCP/IP model. ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) is a protocol used to receive MAC address of a device.
Definition of IP Address
The address provided to a connection in a network is called IP (Internet Protocol) address. IP address does not uniquely identify a device on a network but, it specifies a particular connection in a network. IP address is provided by the administrator of the network or by Internet Service Provider (ISP).
IP address identifies both a network and the host on that network. IP address is used while routing as it specifically identifies a network connection. If your computer is on two networks so, it will have two IP addresses.
IPv4 address is 32-bit address whereas IPv6 is 128-bit address. Your IP address will get changed each time you connect to the network as it is dynamically allocated to your device when it participates in the network. IP address for a particular connection in a network can be retrieved by RARP (Reverse Address Resolution Protocol).
Key Differences Between MAC Address and IP Address
- The full form of MAC address is Media Acess Control whereas, the full form of IP address is Internet Protocol address.
- The IP address identifies a connection to a device in a network. On the other hand, Mac address identifies a device participating in a network.
- MAC address is 48 bits (6 bytes) hexadecimal address whereas, IP address has two versions, IPv4 a 32-bit address and IPv6 a 128-bit address.
- MAC address is assigned by the manufacturer of interface hardware. On the other hand, IP address is assigned by the network administrator or Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- ARP protocol retrieves the MAC address whereas RARP protocol retrieves IP address.
MAC and IP address both are equally required when a device wants to communicate with another device in a network.