What in the world is a MAC Address???

When helping users troubleshoot issues with connecting their devices to our wireless network, often I ask “What’s the MAC?”

First, let’s look at what a MAC address isn’t.

  • ​It’s not the serial number.
  • It’s not the FCPS Asset tag number.
  • It’s not the name/number someone wrote on the back of the device with a Sharpe.
  • It’s not only found on MacBooks.

A MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces such as wireless and Ethernet cards. When a computer (regardless if it is wired or wireless) connects to a computer network, it is physically identified on that network by its MAC address. All devices with a wired or wireless network card – regardless of manufacture or operating system – will have this unique address. Our wireless system uses this address to register devices.​ The MAC address never changes for a device (except in cases where hardware is replaced.)

If you want more info check out the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAC_address then summarize it and report back to me because that looks like a lot of reading.

You can find instructions on how to find the MAC address for most devices at the link below.


​Note: Apple calls the MAC address the Wi-Fi Address on its devices.

So if I ever ask you “What’s the MAC”, now you know why and probably way more than you wanted to.

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