What is a MAC address?

FAQ #4726 Updated August 20, 2015


What is a MAC address?


Every device that connects to the internet or a network has a MAC address. There are billions of devices with MAC addresses. A media access control address (MAC address) is a unique identifier number assigned to "networkable" device, like a Shure ULX-D receiver, that can connect to an Ethernet network  A MAC address is like a "serial number" for the Network Interface Card, and is required for most IEEE 802 network technologies, including Ethernet and WiFi. Each network-capable Shure device has a unique MAC address. Note: the MAC address is different from the IP address.

MAC addresses are most often assigned by the manufacturer of a network interface controller (NIC) and are stored in its hardware, such as the card's read-only memory or some other firmware mechanism. If assigned by the device manufacturer, such as Shure, a MAC address usually encodes the manufacturer's registered identification number and may be referred to as the burned-in address (BIA). It may also be known as an Ethernet hardware address (EHA), hardware address or physical address. This can be contrasted to a programmed address, where the host device issues commands to the NIC to use an arbitrary address.

MAC addresses are created according to the rules of one of three numbering name spaces managed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): MAC-48, EUI-48, and EUI-64. The IEEE claims trademarks on the names EUI-48[1] and EUI-64,[2] in which EUI is an abbreviation for Extended Unique Identifier.

The standard format for printing a MAC address is six groups of two hexadecimal digits, separated by hyphens or colons, in transmission order, e.g. 01-23-45-67-89-ab   or   01:23:45:67:89:ab.


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