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Computers that use a computer network or internet network need to be identified. For this reason, many network connection types, like Ethernet or Wi-Fi, use unique addresses to identify the network card, a part of a computer, to access the network. These addresses are usually called the Media Access Control address or MAC address.
Each computer is given a MAC address by its computer maker. The way for giving MAC addresses to computers, created by Xerox, is used. MAC addresses have 48-bits (how many 1s or 0s it has in it). As each of the twelve entries can have 16 possible values (0 through 9 and A through F), there are 1612 or 248 (or 281,474,976,710,656) possible MAC addresses. MAC addresses identify many things, such as the type of device being used.
A MAC address is used by the network to send and receive data (computer information) to the right place almost like mail being sent and received from a home mail address. The MAC address is like door number or street number.
IEEE Std 802-2001 (PDF). The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE). 2002-02-07. p. 19. ISBN 0-7381-2941-0. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
The universal administration of LAN MAC addresses began with the Xerox Corporation administering Block Identifiers (Block IDs) for Ethernet addresses.