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for me mac address is used to communicate ( transfer data ) withing a network and a ip address is used to send data across networks. Is this how mac and ip addresses used in communication ?

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closed as off topic by Jason Berg, SvW, Chopper3 Jan 23 '11 at 21:09

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Your understanding is broadly correct. MAC addresses are physical addresses and are used at the OSI Data Link Layer(2). They are used for transferring data between hosts in the same network. IP addresses are logical addresses used at the OSI Network Layer(3). They are used for transferring data from a host in in one network to a host in a different network.

You can get more information by reading up on the OSI model.

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  • MAC Address ---> OSI Layer 2
  • IP ---> Osi Layer 3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model

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