What Is a Logical Address?

In Internet networking, a logical address is an IP address that may be assigned by software in the server or router or may be user-assigned, in contrast to the physical address (also called the MAC address) which is set in the hardware at the factory, and unalterable. The logical address is then used by the network layer 3 (or Open Systems Interconnection – OSI – layer) protocols.

Common network layer protocols include IP (paired with TCP,) IPX (often paired with SPX) and AppleTalk. The network layer protocol software translates the logical address into a MAC or physical address in order to send the packets of data along the network between devices.