Billions of computers are linked through the Internet. And with so many devices communicating and exchanging information, each one needs to have a unique identifier so that the right information reaches the right destination.
Much as the Postal Service uses your home address to deliver the correct mail to your mailbox, computers use Internet Protocol (IP) and Media Access Control (MAC) addresses to distinguish between different devices on your network. Finding this information about your computer is simple–and it can be very useful when your machine is on a network. Here’s how to do it.
Using Windows 7
1. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt.
2. In the prompt that appears, type ipconfig /all and click Return.
3. The prompt will return network information for each network adapter in your computer. Find the section for the adapter that’s connected to your network. For example, you can find the network information for your wireless adapter by looking under the ‘Ethernet Adapter Wireless Network Connection’ section.
4. To find your computer’s IP address, look for the ‘IPv4 Address’ or ‘IP Address’ entry. This line will display the IP address for your system; typically it looks like a string of numbers separated by periods, such as 192.168.1.1.
5. To find your computer’s MAC address, look for the ‘Physical Address’ entry. This line will display your adapter’s MAC address, which typically looks like a string of letters and numbers separated by dashes.
Using Mac OS X
1. Click the Apple menu on the upper left part of the screen.
2. Click System Preferences. In the resulting System Preferences menu, select Network.
3. In the Network window, select the network adapter you’re interested in. Your IP address will appear in the right-hand pane of the window.
4. To find your MAC address for the adapter, click the Advanced… button. Your MAC address should appear at the bottom of the window.