What is a MAC address?

A MAC address is the unique identifier that is assigned by the manufacturer to a piece of network hardware (like a wireless card or an ethernet card). MAC stands for Media Access Control, and each identifier is intended to be unique to a particular device.

A MAC address consists of six sets of two characters, each separated by a colon. 00:1B:44:11:3A:B7 is an example of a MAC address.

To identify the MAC address of your own network hardware:

  1. Open the Activities overview and start typing Network for wired connections or Wi-Fi for wireless connections.

  2. Click on Network or Wi-Fi to open the panel.

  3. Click the settings button next to the active connection.

  4. The MAC address for the device will be displayed as the Hardware Address in the Details panel.

In practice, you may need to modify or “spoof” a MAC address. For example, some internet service providers may require that a specific MAC address be used to access their service. If the network card stops working, and you need to swap a new card in, the service won’t work anymore. In such cases, you would need to spoof the MAC address.