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What are the differences between physical and logical addressing?

What are the differences between physical and logical addressing?

The OSI model is a good place to start to learn more about the differences between physical and logical addressing. Think of the physical address as the 48-bit MAC address that manufacturers encode in their network interface cards (NICs). This type of address is unique, referred to as the Ethernet or hardware address, and cannot be changed but can be spoofed. The MAC or Ethernet address is associated with Layer 2 (data Link) of the OSI Model. The logical address is a 32-bit IP address that is not embedded in the network card but it is assigned to it for the purpose of routing between networks. This type of address operates at Layer 3 (network) of the OSI Model. The Internet Protocol (IP), in combination with Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), forms the TCP/IP suite, which is the de facto protocol (i.e., universal computer language) that connects the network of networks – that is, the Internet. The OSI Model is a standard developed by the International Standards Organization (OSI) to provide a blueprint for conformity for software development and network communications.

This was last published in April 2005

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