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Difference between MAC and IP address

What is the Difference between MAC and IP address?

A computer is a device that is extremely crucial to perform daily only tasks and it can be found at all places including shops, malls, offices, homes; the list is endless. But, with so many devices around us, how do you identify them accurately? You might say that you can recognise them with their shape, brand or even size. However, how do you identify them more accurately? This is where MAC and IP addresses come in. Both these help you to identify network devices, but they do things differently. Here’s our blog to help you understand the difference between MAC and IP address.

If you are looking at things from a MAC address vs IP address point of view, then you should understand that there are plenty of differences between the two. The MAC address is something that is provided by the manufacturer of your device. On the other hand, the IP address is dependent upon the internet service provider (ISP) that you are using for your internet connection on your computer.

However, that is not the only thing that makes them stand out. There is an even larger point of difference between these two. For starters, your computer’s IP address is only helpful for identifying the internet connection. But, in case of a MAC address, you can accurately identify the physical location of a computer. Here are all the differences between the two.

Difference between MAC address and IP address

While talking about the IP and MAC address difference, it is important that we split them according to specific points. Here’s what you should know:

Point of difference

MAC address

IP address

Full form MAC address stands for Media Access Control. The term IP Address stands for Internet Protocol address.
Number of bytes in storage MAC addresses consist of 6 bytes. IP addresses can be either of 8 bytes or 6 bytes.
Retrieval protocol You will need to use the ARP protocol to find a device’s MAC address. The RARP protocol is used when you are looking to retrieve a device’s IP address.
Provider The MAC address is provided by the manufacturers of the NIC cards. Your internet service provider will give you the IP address of your device.
Usage MAC addresses are ideally provided to ensure that the device can be located physically. IP addresses are only used to find the logical address of a computer.
Operation MAC addresses usually work on the data link layer. On the other hand, the IP address will usually work on the network layer.
Changes Your MAC address remains unchanged since they are coming from the manufacturers themselves. IP addresses can change very easily. All you have to do is switch to a different internet service provider and the IP address will change too.
Access to third parties You can use any third-party software to find a device’s MAC address easily. Third parties usually cannot find out the IP address right away. It stays hidden but can be found out.


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