A media access control address (MAC address) of a device is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications at the data link layer of a network segment. MAC addresses are used as a network address for most IEEE 802 network technologies, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Logically, MAC addresses are used in the media access control protocol sublayer of the OSI reference model.
MAC addresses are most often assigned by the manufacturer of a network interface controller (NIC) and are stored in its hardware, such as the card's read-only memory or some other firmware mechanism. If assigned by the manufacturer, a MAC address usually encodes the manufacturer's registered identification number and may be referred to as the burned-in address (BIA). It may also be known as an Ethernet hardware address (EHA), hardware address or physical address (not to be confused with a memory physical address). This can be contrasted to a programmed address, where the host device issues commands to the NIC to use an arbitrary address.
A network node may have multiple NICs and each NIC must have a unique MAC address. Sophisticated network equipment such as a multilayer switch or router may require one or more permanently assigned MAC addresses.
MAC addresses are formed according to the rules of one of three numbering name spaces managed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): MAC-48, EUI-48, and EUI-64. The IEEE claims trademarks on the names EUI-48 and EUI-64, in which EUI is an abbreviation for Extended Unique Identifier.
How to Find a MAC Address
To display your MAC address on a Windows NT/2000/2003/XP/Visa computer:
Go to ACCESSORIES
Select Command Prompt
Type: (no quotes) "ipconfig /all"
In the "ipconfig /all" results look for the adapter you want to find the MAC address of. The MAC address is the number located next to "Physical Address" in the list.