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Example home network


MAC and IP Address

MAC (Media Access Control) address is a hardware address for a networking device. For example, an Ethernet port in a laptop would have its own MAC address as well as the wireless card in the same laptop will have its own MAC address. The format of a MAC address is a sequence of six two–digit hexadecimal numbers separated by colons; for example, 00:2E:71:CF:A1:98

The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For example, 192.200.78.155 could be an IP address. The same laptop mentioned in the example above would have a single local IP address that is assigned by your router. The router assigns each local networked device a IP address in the range of:

The last one on the list (192.168.0.0 through 192.168.255.) is the most common. The protocol used to assign these numbers is called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). No two device can have the same IP address or a conflict will occur when the router tries to send out data. Furthermore, your cable or DSL modem will assign a global IP address to your router. Therefore, any computer out on the internet will see one of the computers located on your LAN as the router’s global IP address and not the local IP address.

A good analogy for MAC and IP address is to think of an apartment building’s street address as the IP address and the individual apartment’s numbers as MAC addresses.

Wireless Formats

In 1997, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the first WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) standard. They called it 802.11. At a maximum bandwidth of 2 Mb/s, the original 802.11 protocol was pretty slow. The following formats emerged as technology developed:



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