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What is an IP address and a MAC address?

    IP address

    IP stands for Internet Protocol Address. It is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses Internet Protocol for communication.

    The internet needs a way to differentiate between different computers, routers, and websites. IP addresses provide a way of doing so and form an essential part of how the internet works.

    An IP address serves two fundamental functions. It defines the host, or more specifically its network interface, and it provides the location of the host in the network, and thus the capability of establishing a path to that host.

    Your IP address is assigned to your device by your ISP(Internet Service Provider).

    We have two versions of the IP address, the first one is IPv4, where the address is represented by 4 numbers between 0 and 255 and separated by data. Example-

    But because of Internet growth, the 2^32 possible addresses of IPv4 wasn’t enough. that is why there is a second version called IPv6 which has 2^128 possible addresses, which is extremely big.

    MAC address 

    MAC stands for Media access control. MAC address is the physical address, which uniquely identifies each device on a given network. It is assigned to the NIC (Network Interface card) of each device that can be connected to the internet.

    Why do we have both MAC addresses and IP addresses?
    We know every mac address is assigned to the NIC of a hardware device that helps to identify a device over a network. When we request a page to load on the internet, the request is responded and sent to our IP address.
    Both MAC and IP addresses are operated on different layers of the internet protocol suite. The MAC address works on layer 2 and helps identify the devices within the same broadcast network (such as the router).
    On the other hand, the IP addresses are used on layer 3 and help identify the devices on different networks.
    We have the IP address to identify the device through different networks, we still need a MAC address to find the devices on the same network.