MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
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What is a MAC address?
by kp

A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique ID that is embedded into the ROM of an Ethernet network card. This unique 48-bit address is encoded into the card by the manufacturer and is represented by a 12-digit hexadecimal code.  A typical MAC address has the following format: 00:10:14:20:64:D4. Each section is called an octet and is separated either by a colon or dash. The first three octets identify the card manufacturer, and the remaining octets are serial numbers set by the vendor. From the address above, the 00:10:14 identifies the manufacturer of the card as CISCO Systems. For a list of MAC addresses by manufacturer, go to IEEE.org.

To find the MAC address on your system, go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Information. From the System Summary menu, expand the Components list, then the Network list. From Network, click on Adapter to reveal details on all adapters for your computer, including MAC addresses.

References:
Newton, Harry. Newton's Telecom Dictionary, 21st Edition. ISBN1578203155
IEEE Mac Address Vendor Codes

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