Thursday, May 15, 2014

Find My MAC Address - Keys to Running Your Wireless Network

Running a wireless network can be a challenging endeavor in the educational technology space.  I've written a couple of BLOG posts on evaluation and maintenance issues that the normal wireless network might have in education, but there is (obviously) more to it than simply selecting and implementing the correct system.

One of the biggest questions I answer in my day-to-day is in regards to security.  And, as with anything else, there is more than one way to skin a cat.  One of the more popular methods is using MAC Address based authentication.  The MAC (Media Access Control) Address is an alphanumeric value that is unique to your network adapter.  It looks something like this: 00:23:1h:1q:rj:56.  That means that no other computer, anywhere in the world, has the same address.  This address is burned into a chip on the network adapter itself, so you cannot change it.  This makes it a great way of securing and identifying computers on your network.

However, the administrative overhead to this method can be quite cumbersome -- especially when your technology support person wears many hats.  And when you may have more than one device and/or operating system in your environment.  So, in an effort to help you save some time -- here is a quick list on how to find the MAC address on just about any device.

Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (there may be slight variances)

  • Click the Start icon
  • Click Control Panel
  • Select Classic View
  • Click Network and Sharing Center
  • Select Manage Network Connections from the list on the left hand side
  • Right click on the connection you are trying to find the MAC address for and select Properties – you will have a separate MAC address for your wireless card and your Ethernet (LAN) card. Make sure you use the correct one.
Apple OS X
  • Click the Apple in the Upper Left Corner
  • Click System Preferences
  • Double Click on the Network Icon
  • Select the Wi-Fi Adapter
  • Click Advanced, the MAC Address will be at the bottom of the dialog box.
Apple iOS
  • Open Settings
  • Open General
  • Open About
  • The Wi-Fi Address is towards the bottom, that is the MAC Address
Android (generally)
  • Go to Settings
  • Select About Phone
  • Select Status
  • On the list that appears look for Wi-Fi MAC Address towards the bottom.

Bruce has worked in educational technology for over 17 years and has implemented several 1:1/BYOD programs.  He also has been a classroom teacher for various subjects.  Bruce is the author of five books: Sands of TimeTowering Pines Volume One:Room 509The Star of ChristmasPhiladelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel.  He also has a new novel coming out in June 2014, The Kill Commission.  Follow Bruce's Novel releases by subscribing to his FREE newsletter!

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