IP Addressing, MAC Addressing, Data packets and Protocols

IP Addressing

An IP Address is an Internet Protocol Address. It is unique to a computer, so other computers can identify the computer on a network. It provides an address for data to be sent to. This is useful for networks with multiple computers on them, because if a data packet wasn't being sent to a particular IP address, it could go to any computer on the network. An example IP address is The first 3 sets of digits identify the network, and the last set of digits identifies the address of the computer. This allows access to the internet.


A MAC Address (Media Access Control) is a 48 bit binary number that is often shortened to a 6 bit hexadecimal number (EG. 00:BD:D0:86:BB:F7). It is located in the NIC card or WI-FI adapter. It is used so that computers on a network can be recognised. This is used in a LAN, not a WAN. MAC Addresses and IP Addresses are two completely different things.


Packets are "Clumps" of data that can be collected by the computer. An analogy is an airport. Luggage is the packets, the conveyor belts are the wires, and the airplane is the computer where the packets are going.


Protocols are certain rules that determine how a task is carried out, in this case a set of rules that show the data how it should be transmitted through a network. A popular protocol on the internet is TCP / IP. The world wide web is based on these.