What is the difference between an IP Address and a MAC Address?
What is an IP Address?
An IP Address is a numeric representation of a device (computer, game console, etc.) on a computer network
that uses TCP/IP to communicate (the logical connection of most of the internet).
What is a MAC Address?
A MAC Address is a numeric representation of a device (computer, game console, etc.) on a computer network
that uses Ethernet to communicate (the physical connection between most computers and routers).
What is the difference between them?
On a computer network, computers communicate in layers.
If a software program on computer 1 wants to send a message to a software program on computer 2, the following translation happens.
The software application on computer 1 finds the logical (IP Address) of a machine and tries to send a message to it.
Computer 1’s operating system takes this logical message and finds the physical hardware location of this device
and sends the message to this device.
On Computer 2, the Operating System receives this message, unwraps the message and decides if it is also for the correct logical location. If it’s the correct logical location as well, it unwraps the original message and sends it to the program waiting for this message.
This is a simplified explanation, but serves our purposes for now.
Does my computer have an IP Address or a MAC Address?
From the explanation above, hopefully you realize that the answer is both.
Every computer on a computer network has both a MAC Address (physical layer) and an IP Addres (logical layer)