How Many Bits Are in a MAC Address?

There are 48 bits, or six bytes included in a MAC address. MAC stands for Media Access Control, and its address are written in a MM:MM:MM:SS:SS:SS format.

In this format, the first three bytes written into the formula are provided by the manufacturer. It is the assigned ID number of the manufacturer. The second three bytes in this sequence are a serial number, also provided by the manufacturer, but specific to the device. MAC is also referred to as the physical address of a device.

To find the MAC address on a Windows device, the user would type "ipconfig /all" into the command prompt. For UNIX and Linux machines, the MAC can be found by using the commands "ifconfig -a", "ip link list" or "ip address show". On Apple iOS, MAC addresses can be found by opening the System Preferences folder and selecting the Network option.

MAC is part of TCP/IP, and is considered the hardware support model of this protocol. An IP address is considered the software support for this network protocol. One of the main differences between the two is that IP addresses are assigned, typically by a network administrator. MAC addresses are supplied by the manufacturer prior to implementation by the end user.