Understanding the Role and Importance of MAC Addresses in Ethernet Networks

What identifier is used at the data link layer to uniquely identify an Ethernet device?

At the data link layer, the Ethernet device is uniquely identified by its Media Access Control (MAC) address.

The MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to the network interface card (NIC) by the manufacturer.

It consists of 6 bytes (48 bits) and is usually represented in hexadecimal format, with each pair of bytes separated by colons or hyphens.

The MAC address is used by the Ethernet protocol to ensure that the packet is delivered to the correct destination device within a local area network (LAN). When a device wants to send a packet to another device on the same network, it uses the MAC address of the intended recipient to address the packet. The MAC address helps in identifying the source and destination of a packet, allowing Ethernet devices to communicate with each other effectively.

It’s important to note that the MAC address operates at the data link layer, which is responsible for the physical transmission of data between devices connected on a network. Other higher-level protocols such as IP (Internet Protocol) operate at the network layer and rely on the MAC address for proper delivery of packets at the data link layer.

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