Eli5 Whats the difference between a MAC address a IP address and IMEI address?

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Is there one universal way to identify all electronics?

What is each one used for?

I got as far as understanding that an IP address can be changed and it’s recognized/used for networking and MAC addresses are physically imprinted on hardware but then why do we have IMEI?
Can you share an example where a (lay) person would use each of them?

Are there additional identifiers for electronics ?

TIA

In: 0

The MAC(Media Access Control) address is the Ethernet hardware address of the chip that runs the data link.

The IP(Internet Protocol) address is the logical address on the network, there are both LAN and WAN IP addresses, and they are both unique in their own way.

The IMEI(International Mobile Equipment Identity) is only present in systems which connect to the cellular phone network.

Yes, there are many other identifiers, none of which are universally unique.

A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a hardware address assigned to a network interface for a computer to use at a hardware level.

An IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique number- not really an address- assigned to mobile equipment like cellular phones and other devices that use certain mobile networks.

The two aren’t really used for the same purposes. A very vague analogy would be that a MAC is like your street address while an IMEI is like your car’s VIN number.

IMEI stands for international mobile equipment identifier, and is akin to a human fingerprint, as there are no two alike. Its a 15 digit number that uniquely identifies a mobile device, or GSM handset. Those numbers are developed and managed by the GSM association, which is basically the oversight commission for IMEI.
Based on this number, your device can be identified, tracked and located. A mobile carrier can use it to determine if the device is valid, locked/unlocked, stolen, etc.. and they can also activate/deactivate the devices access to their mobile network. Lastly, the IMEI can and is used by govt and law enforcement for geo location efforts. Everytime your phone hits a cell tower, your IMEI is logged.

The prevailing strategy when it comes to interconnect all of these devices is by *layering.* Layering basically means to divide up how you communicate into different layers with each layer not knowing or caring about what happens on the other layers.

Since each layer doesn’t know what’s going on at other layers (mostly) you need different addressing schemes. This is what MAC and IP addresses are: different ways of addressing devices on different layers for a specific technology. For example, MAC addresses are used with specific technologies operating on the data link layer. You might instead decide to use a different technology that doesn’t use MAC addresses. But your layer 3 (which uses IP) might not change, in which case you would still using IP addresses at that later. This kind of flexibility is what the layered model provides.

I do not know much about IMEI, and do not see how it readily fits into this scheme. It does not appear to be an address the same way MAC and IPs are, but it is an identifier for SIM cards and other mobile devices.

MAC address is a serial number present on every network interface. Most software allows to configure a different one if needed. It is used to communicate between two computing devices directly connected to the same network segment. Some sneaky programs running on the computer can use this number as part of an identifier for any purpose.

An IP address is used for sending data between separate networks through one or more routers. It’s a easier to assign readable, logical IPv4 addresses than MAC.

0 views
0

Is there one universal way to identify all electronics?

What is each one used for?

I got as far as understanding that an IP address can be changed and it’s recognized/used for networking and MAC addresses are physically imprinted on hardware but then why do we have IMEI?
Can you share an example where a (lay) person would use each of them?

Are there additional identifiers for electronics ?

TIA

In: 0

The MAC(Media Access Control) address is the Ethernet hardware address of the chip that runs the data link.

The IP(Internet Protocol) address is the logical address on the network, there are both LAN and WAN IP addresses, and they are both unique in their own way.

The IMEI(International Mobile Equipment Identity) is only present in systems which connect to the cellular phone network.

Yes, there are many other identifiers, none of which are universally unique.

A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a hardware address assigned to a network interface for a computer to use at a hardware level.

An IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique number- not really an address- assigned to mobile equipment like cellular phones and other devices that use certain mobile networks.

The two aren’t really used for the same purposes. A very vague analogy would be that a MAC is like your street address while an IMEI is like your car’s VIN number.

IMEI stands for international mobile equipment identifier, and is akin to a human fingerprint, as there are no two alike. Its a 15 digit number that uniquely identifies a mobile device, or GSM handset. Those numbers are developed and managed by the GSM association, which is basically the oversight commission for IMEI.
Based on this number, your device can be identified, tracked and located. A mobile carrier can use it to determine if the device is valid, locked/unlocked, stolen, etc.. and they can also activate/deactivate the devices access to their mobile network. Lastly, the IMEI can and is used by govt and law enforcement for geo location efforts. Everytime your phone hits a cell tower, your IMEI is logged.

The prevailing strategy when it comes to interconnect all of these devices is by *layering.* Layering basically means to divide up how you communicate into different layers with each layer not knowing or caring about what happens on the other layers.

Since each layer doesn’t know what’s going on at other layers (mostly) you need different addressing schemes. This is what MAC and IP addresses are: different ways of addressing devices on different layers for a specific technology. For example, MAC addresses are used with specific technologies operating on the data link layer. You might instead decide to use a different technology that doesn’t use MAC addresses. But your layer 3 (which uses IP) might not change, in which case you would still using IP addresses at that later. This kind of flexibility is what the layered model provides.

I do not know much about IMEI, and do not see how it readily fits into this scheme. It does not appear to be an address the same way MAC and IPs are, but it is an identifier for SIM cards and other mobile devices.

MAC address is a serial number present on every network interface. Most software allows to configure a different one if needed. It is used to communicate between two computing devices directly connected to the same network segment. Some sneaky programs running on the computer can use this number as part of an identifier for any purpose.

An IP address is used for sending data between separate networks through one or more routers. It’s a easier to assign readable, logical IPv4 addresses than MAC.