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Addressing mechanism of computers in the Internet

Tularam Bansod
18/11/2016 0 0

1 Introduction

As many people have name like  “Ramesh”, “Ram”, we are used to call these guys by name.  We can give numbers also to these people. These people get numbers as PAN card number, AAdhar card number. You know that how much these numbers are important.

How our letter reaches to our address? First it comes to main GPO then to region wise post offices and only our area postman knows our address. He physically carries letters to our home. Similarly we can hire post-box number if mailing is heavy or want to protect our identity. These are all to recognise you. How your machine can be recognised on the network or Internet? One solution is to write name on monitor by marker pen or otherwise at the time of installation you can give name to system. But how other machine would recognise your machine?

Network card manufacturers provide physical address in the network card of your machine. If we are using Ethernet technology then your card is having 48 bit Ethernet address. How to find this physical address of your machine? First check that your machine is having physical card. This you can check for RJ-45 connector on the back panel of your machine. You can run following command in the Windows platform:


C:\>ipconfig /all


Windows 2000 IP Configuration


        Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : ibm1

        Primary DNS Suffix  . . . . . . . :

        Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcast

        IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

        WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No


Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection 2:


        Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :

        Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8139(A)-based PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter

        Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-08-A1-32-74-AD

        DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No

        IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . :

        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :

        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

        DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . :

Fig 1 Output of IPconfig command (This output can change on your machine, it depends on operating system you are working, eg Windows7,8 or XP)

In the above output other details like subnet mask, IP address are there. But we will study them later. Physical address of my network card or my computer is 00-08-A1-32-74-AD.

On the Linux machine give following command to know the physical address of your network card:

You should be root user to get these details.


# ifconfig -eth0


Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:80:AD:73:F7:E2           

inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:


RX packets:1968977 errors:1 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:1         

TX packets:526 errors:48 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:48         

collisions:1 txqueuelen:100          

RX bytes:122462650 (116.7 Mb)  TX bytes:54807 (53.5 Kb)         

Interrupt:22 Base address:0x3000

Fig 2 output of ifconfig command on Linux platform

Here physical address is 00:80:AD:73:F7:E2   You can say that I use different computer to run this command.

Packets reach to your machine from other machine by mentioning this physical address in the Ethernet frame.


preamble | 48 bit

data portion 

                  physical address


Fig 3 Ethernet packet

2   Why physical address is not sufficient on the Internet?

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