MAC (hardware) address

A MAC address is a 48-bit hexadecimal number that uniquely identifies a network adapter (hardware) on a local network. This is different from the IP address used to identify a host, which is assigned by DHCP or by a system administrator.

Finding a System's MAC address

Most operating systems provide a couple of ways to find the MAC address associated with each network interface. Typically there is at least one graphical way (GUI) and at least one command line way (CLI). The CLI way is usually faster. The MAC address may also be printed somewhere on the case (possibly under the battery of a laptop) or network card.

Apple OS X systems

GUI

  • Click on the File-Apple.png menu at the upper left corner of the desktop and select System Preferences…
  • Once System Preferences opens, click on the Network button.
  • Highlight Built-in Ethernet on the left side and click the Advanced button at the lower right of the Preference Pane.
  • Click on the tab Ethernet where the Ethernet ID will be listed.

CLI

At the command line, run the command ifconfig. The command may not be in your path, in that case try /sbin/ifconfig.

The wired ethernet interface is typically en0 and the wireless interface is typically en1.

The ether address is your MAC Address.

Linux, BSD, and other UNIX-like systems

GUI

Every distro and window manager does it differently. There are too many variations to go into here.

The easiest way to look the MAC address up on UNIX-like systems is from the command line.

CLI

At the command line, use one of these commands:

  •  ifconfig -a. The command may not be in your path, in that case try /sbin/ifconfig -a.
  •  ip link show

The HWaddr or ether address is your MAC Address.

Windows systems

GUI

Open the Control Panel, and click on Network and Sharing Center. In your active network click the Ethernet link. In the Ethernet Status window, click Details... The MAC address is labeled as "Physical Address".

CLI

In the Command Prompt, run the command ipconfig /all. Locate the correct Ethernet adapter. The "Physical Address" is the MAC address.

Details

Article ID: 1538
Created
Tue 5/26/20 6:14 PM
Modified
Wed 10/7/20 4:47 PM