MAC Address Filtering

Creating Computer MAC Address Filters
Strengthen Your Wireless Security

What is a MAC address:

MAC address filtering uses a network interface cards (NIC) identifier called a MAC Address, just like a vehicle VIN number for an automobile.

Every network card in the world has a unique MAC address encoded into it.

Normally its encoded by the manufacturer at the time it was built, and contains information about the maker of the card.

Media Access Control Address is what a MAC address stands for, and is mainly used for verification of a nodes physical address on the network, and during the creation of Ethernet network packets in transit.

mac address filtering

In the world of networking what is a MAC address can sometimes go by different names.


You can hear it being called the Hardware Address, and or Physical Address depending on how it's being used in context.



MAC address filtering:

A computer MAC hardware address filter is nothing more than a control list that gets compared against the hardware's ID of a network card trying to gain access to a specific function or service.

Creating computer MAC address filters gives the ability to either include or exclude the physical hardware address of the computer sending an Ethernet network packet.

In this example I'm going to show you how to create a MAC address filter, which only permits computers with network cards containing the hardware address specified in the filter to access the wireless network through the router.



Let's get started:

We'll be using the setup and configuration menus from a Linksys E1000 series wireless router, however most manufactures of wireless routers have very similar MAC filtering setup pages.

If you need help logging into your wireless router, or are unfamiliar with the process. I do provide instruction for the top 4 producers of wireless enabled routers on the market.

If your manufacture is not listed on the navigation bar to the left, then you will have to resort to the user's manual for the wireless router you own.

The first we need to go over is how to find MAC address from your network equipment, so we can enter it into our "Permitted" address filter which we will store in the router.

There are many types of wireless enabled network equipment on the market today, so I'll be showing only how to find MAC address from a PC or laptop.

tech tip

If your needing to connect a wireless handheld device such as a smart phone or android tablet, try looking in the "Network Settings" or "Device Info" section of your devices "Settings" application for the hardware address.

The format of a MAC address uses 6 sets of 2 digits or letters in hexadecimal format separated by a ":".

MAC addresses might be displayed using colons to separate the hexadecimal numbers 00:23:14:4A:E6:99, or sometimes by using dashes 00-23-14-4A-E6-99

Whichever way the physical address is displayed by a devices operating system, always use colons when entering the MAC address into a data entry field, as follows 00:23:14:4A:E6:99



How to find MAC address:

A MAC address can normally be retrieved by either using a settings applet, or by issuing a shell command from a command line interpreter.

  1. Using your PC or laptop open the command prompt window by clicking on:

  2. Start\All Programs\Accessories\Command Prompt

    This will open your computers command prompt window displaying your current path followed by a blinking cursor.

  3. Type the command: "ipconfig /all" and press the "Enter" key.

  4. computer mac address

    This command will display detailed information about your computers IP configuration.

    The Physical Address will appear as shown.

    This is the "MAC address" of the network card being used on the computer.

  5. You'll be entering the computer MAC address into your wireless routers "Wireless MAC Filter" list in the next step, so write it down.

  6. info

    Next, to make sure your wireless router security is aware of all the other wireless devices which will be connected to your home network and write down their MAC addresses until a complete list of all the devices which will be allowed to connect to your wireless network is obtained.



Creating your MAC Address Filtering List:

Now we will be entering all the MAC address's into a MAC address filtering list inside the wireless routers configuration manager.

  1. From the main settings screen upon logging into your router Select "Wireless" and then the "Wireless MAC Filter" sub tab.

  2. wireless mac filter
  3. In the section labeled "Wireless MAC Filter" Select the "Enabled" radio button to active the filtering option.



  4. mac address filtering access restriction
  5. In the next section Select the "Permit PC's listed
    below to access the wireless network" radio button.




  6. mac address filter list
  7. In the section labeled "MAC Address Filter List" Enter all the "Physical Addresses" of the wireless network equipment which you want to be permitted to access your wireless home network in the fields provided.


  8. mac address filtering save settings
  9. Click on the "Save Settings" button on the bottom of the page.


That's it! You just greatly improved the wireless security of your wireless home network.



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