Identifying devices on a network can be difficult. Most systems allow their owners to name them, which is why you’ll often find “John Doe’s PC” or “Jane Doe’s iPhone” on a given Wi-Fi network, but those names can’t be trusted because they’re easy to modify. A better way to make sure you’ve correctly identified a given device is to check its media access control (MAC) address. You may need this information for several reasons, including creating a whitelist of devices that are allowed access.
Manufacturers assign MAC addresses to different network adapters such as Wi-Fi radios and Ethernet controllers while they’re being made so any device with connectivity has at least one.
And unlike the names people give their devices, these identifiers are supposed to be permanent. (There are ways to spoof MAC addresses, but it’s more difficult than renaming “John Doe’s PC” to “JD’s Laptop.”) There’s just one problem: It can also be harder to find your device’s MAC address.