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How to Setup Home Network by MAC Address Instead of IP Address

  • The post explains what MAC address and IP address are, and why you might want to use MAC address filtering to secure your home network.
  • The post provides the general steps and screenshots for setting up MAC address filtering on your router, as well as some tools to find out the MAC addresses of your devices.

If you want to secure your home network and control which devices can access it, you might be interested in setting up your devices by MAC address instead of IP address. In this blog post, I will explain what MAC address and IP address are, why you might want to use MAC address filtering, and how to do it on your router. I will also provide some frequently asked questions and answers related to this topic.

What is MAC Address and IP Address?

A MAC address, or Media Access Control address, is a unique identifier assigned to every network interface card (NIC) in a device. It is usually written as a series of 12 hexadecimal digits separated by colons or dashes, such as 00:1A:C2:7B:00:47. A MAC address is used to identify a device on a local network and facilitate data transmission between devices.

An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a numerical label assigned to every device connected to a network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. It is usually written as four decimal numbers separated by dots, such as An IP address is used to identify a device on a network and route data packets between devices.

Why Use MAC Address Filtering?

MAC address filtering is a security feature that allows you to specify which devices are allowed or denied access to your network based on their MAC addresses. By using MAC address filtering, you can prevent unauthorized devices from connecting to your network and potentially compromising your security or consuming your bandwidth.

However, MAC address filtering is not a foolproof method of securing your network. It has some limitations and drawbacks, such as:

  • MAC addresses can be spoofed or changed by hackers or malicious users who want to bypass the filter and access your network.
  • MAC address filtering can be inconvenient and time-consuming if you have many devices or guests that need to connect to your network. You will need to manually add or remove their MAC addresses from the filter list every time.
  • MAC address filtering does not encrypt or protect your data from being intercepted or tampered with by other devices on the network. You will still need to use other security measures, such as passwords, firewalls, and encryption protocols.

Therefore, MAC address filtering should be used as an additional layer of security, not as the only one.

How to Set Up MAC Address Filtering on Your Router?

The exact steps for setting up MAC address filtering on your router may vary depending on the model and brand of your router. However, the general process is similar for most routers. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Find out the MAC addresses of the devices you want to allow or deny access to your network. You can usually find the MAC address of a device in its settings menu, on its label, or in its documentation. Alternatively, you can use a tool like Advanced IP Scanner to scan your network and display the IP and MAC addresses of all connected devices.
  2. Log in to your router’s web interface using your browser. You will need to enter the router’s IP address (usually or in the address bar and enter the username and password (usually admin/admin or admin/password) when prompted.
  3. Navigate to the wireless settings or security settings section of your router’s web interface. Look for an option that says MAC address filtering, access control list (ACL), or something similar.
  4. Enable the MAC address filtering feature and choose whether you want to allow or deny access to the devices on the list. Depending on your router, you may have different options for setting up the filter mode, such as whitelist (only allow), blacklist (only deny), or both.
  5. Enter the MAC addresses of the devices you want to allow or deny access to your network in the appropriate fields. You may need to separate them by commas, spaces, or enter them one by one.
  6. Save your changes and restart your router if necessary.

Here are some screenshots of how to set up MAC address filtering on some common routers:

Linksys Router

How to set up MAC address filtering on Linksys Router

Netgear Router

How to set up MAC address filtering on Netgear Router

TP-Link Router

How to set up MAC address filtering on TP-Link Router

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers related to setting up your home network by MAC address instead of IP address:

Question: How do I find out my router’s IP address?

Answer: You can find out your router’s IP address by using a tool like ipconfig on Windows or ifconfig on Mac/Linux. Alternatively, you can check the label or documentation of your router for the default IP address.

Question: How do I change my device’s MAC address?

Answer: Changing your device’s MAC address may be useful if you want to bypass a MAC address filter or spoof another device’s identity. However, changing your MAC address may also cause network issues or violate your device’s warranty or terms of service. Therefore, you should only do it if you know what you are doing and at your own risk. The exact steps for changing your MAC address depend on the type and model of your device. You can find some guides on how to change your MAC address on Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone.

Question: How do I reset my router’s password?

Answer: If you forgot your router’s password or want to change it for security reasons, you can reset it by using the reset button on your router. The reset button is usually a small hole or pinhole that you need to press and hold for about 10 seconds using a paperclip or a similar object. This will restore your router to its factory settings, including the default username and password. However, this will also erase any custom settings you have made on your router, such as MAC address filtering, so you will need to set them up again.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. The author and the website are not liable for any damages or losses that may result from following the instructions or using the tools mentioned in this post. The user is responsible for their own network security and should exercise caution and common sense when setting up their home network by MAC address instead of IP address.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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