This is the era of the Internet, and many people have a lot of devices that are connected to their router with the help of Wi-fi or Ethernet. Devices like PCs, laptops, smartphones, etc. When you connect the device, you're using to the Internet, and websites can only communicate with those devices with the help of an IP address. An IP address is a numerical identifier that is assigned by your ISP ( Internet Service Provider). You should know that the IP address is entrusted to your router. It’s not assigned to individual electronic devices in your household. For each device that you have, a MAC address is assigned.
1. Local IP address
As soon as you establish a connection with your devices via your router, all devices will have a separate private IP address. You should know that this private IP address can be seen only within your home network. That IP address is used for identifying every individual device in your home.
Nevertheless, when one of your devices wants to communicate outside of your home via the Internet, it must use an additional IP address to do that. That’s where the MAC address comes to help. MAC is short for Media Access Control.
2. What is the MAC address?
Each device that is connected to the Internet has its own hardware address that is called the MAC address. With the MAC address, all devices that are connected to your home network can be identified. The moment a device is made, a MAC address is assigned to it and hardcoded on its network interface card. NIC is a computer circuit card that ensures your computer is connected to the network. MAC address has exactly 12 hexadecimal digits, which consists of six groups.
Also, you should know that two devices mustn’t be connected to the identical home network. If this happens, those two devices will have a hard time communicating because the local network is going to be confused as to which device should get the packet.
3. How does it work?
We’ll use an example. Let’s say you find an interesting link on Facebook, and you choose to click on it. You should know that your request will then travel across a lot of routers before it reaches its end goal. Both of your IP addresses, private as well as the public IP address, will not change in the process. On the other hand, the MAC address is going to change quite frequently because your data is traveling across the globe. When you've made that request, the Media Access Control Address is going to change each time your data goes to a new server or browser before it reaches its ultimate destination.
Both addresses are used for identifying network devices, but each of them does it differently. A MAC address identifies the device on a local network, while the IP addresses are used for identifying devices on a global scale network. IP addresses change from time to time, while MAC addresses are always the same. These addresses are essential for devices to communicate on the Internet.