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How To Change MAC Address

Updated on September 7, 2010

What Is A MAC Address

Every network device that supports the TCP/IP protocol has a unique identifier called a MAC Address. The MAC address is used at the data link layer of the OSI networking model and ensures that every device has a unique identifier that can be used on the network.

The IEEE Standards Organization administers the pool of MAC addresses. To build compliant network equipment, the manufacturer must obtain a pool of MAC addresses that are assigned to them by the IEEE. No MAC address is ever assigned to a manufacturer more than once. This guarantees that all MAC addresses are unique.

A MAC address is defined and built into each piece of networking hardware. That is that every LAN card, network adapter, wireless router, hub, and other network enabled devices have a MAC address hard-coded into the hardware of each network adapter. Fortunately, the MAC address can be changed in numerous ways.

Easy Way To Change MAC Address on LAN Cards

Although there are ways to hack the Windows registry to change a network adapter's MAC address, and some network cards support having their MAC address changed by configuring it in the operating system, the easiest way to change a MAC address is with a networking utility.

Free software allows users to change the MAC address installed on their network card without having to dig into operating system configuration options. This is particularly useful for when a user need a temporary MAC address change such as when free access to a network is tracked via MAC addresses.

For example, the free wireless network in Cherry Creek North allows users up to 2 hours of free Internet access every 24 hours. This access is monitored and restricted via the MAC address of the network adapter accessing the free WiFi. Using a MAC address changer like Technitium MAC Address Changer or SMAC MAC Address Changer allows a user to change their laptop or netbook's MAC address temporarily in order to reset their two hours of free Internet access over the WiFI network in Cherry Creek. 

Similar procedures can reset the amount of free network access on other broadband WiFi systems like those at coffee shops, airports, and municipal wireless networks.


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