Follow these steps to quickly find the Internet Protocol (IP) and Media Access Control (MAC) address of a computer running Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows NT.
For other types of computers and network gadgets, see: What Is My IP Address?
1. Click the Start menu button on the Windows taskbar.
2. Click 'Run...' on this menu.
3. Type 'cmd' in the text box that appears. A command prompt window launches on the desktop.
4. In this command window, type 'ipconfig /all'. Details are shown for each of the computer's network adapters. Computers installed with VPN software or emulation software will possess one or more virtual adapters.
5. The 'IP Address' field states the current IP address for that network adapter.
6. The 'Physical Address' field states the MAC address for that adapter.
1. Take care to read the IP address from the correct adapter. Virtual adapters generally show a private address rather than an actual Internet address.
2. Virtual adapters possess software-emulated MAC addresses and not the actual physical address of the network interface card.
Definition: MAC technology provides unique identification and access control for computers on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. In wireless networking, MAC is the radio control protocol on the wireless network adapter. MAC works at the lower sublayer of the data link layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model.
MAC assigns a unique number to each IP network adapter called the MAC address. A MAC address is 48 bits long. The MAC address is commonly written as a sequence of 12 hexadecimal digits as follows:
MAC addresses are uniquely set by the network adapter manufacturer and are sometimes called "physical addresses" for this reason. The first six hexadecimal digits of the address correspond to a manufacturer's unique identifier, while the last six digits correspond to the device's serial number. MAC addresses map to logical IP addresses through the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP).
Some Internet service providers track the MAC address of a home router for security purposes. Many routers support a process called cloning that allows the MAC address to be simulated so that it matches one the service provider is expecting. This allows households to change their router (and their real MAC address) without having to notify the provider.
Also Known As: Media Access Control
Definition: IP is the primary network protocol used on the Internet, developed in the 1970s. On the Internet and many other networks, IP is often used together with the Transport Control Protocol (TCP) and referred to interchangeably as TCP/IP.
IP supports unique addressing for computers on a network. Most networks use the IP version 4 (IPv4) standard that features IP addresses four bytes (32 bits) in length. The newer IP version 6 (IPv6) standard features addresses 16 bytes (128 bits) in length.
Data on an IP network is organized into [ipackets. Each IP packet includes both a header (that specifies source, destination, and other information about the data) and the message data itself.
IP functions at layer 3 of the OSI model. It can therefore run on top of different data link interfaces including Ethernet and Wi-Fi.
Also Known As: Internet Protocol