Information on How the Data Packets Travel Across The Internet

While troubleshooting IP networks across Ethernet it assists to comprehend how packets are moved across the network. There are two main mechanisms that the packets can follow to shift from one point to the other: MAC address and IP address. The MAC address refers to the layer 2 address which stands in for the particular hardware that is linked to the wire. The IP address on the other hand is layer 3 address that stands in for logical identity of the system in the network.

MAC Address

Many of the modern day computers feature a kind of network interface card (NIC) that is either installed or built in the computer. Each of the NIC is designed with hardware number that is permanently `engraved’ into it. This lifetime hardware number is called Media Access Control (MAC). The MAC address is 48 bits in length and it is normally exhibited like a 12 digit hexadecimal number.


The first six digits of the 2 bits represent the manufacture of NIC. The last six digits of the 24 bits are a distinct identifier that stands for the host or sometimes the card itself. You cannot find two MAC identifiers that are similar.

IP Address

IP address refers to the logical address that is affiliated to the MAC for a specific device. The IP address (IPv4) is 12 digit (32 bit) numbers which symbolize 4 binary octets. Both the MAC and the IP addresses are required for the data to be transferred from source to the destination using Ethernet network.

ARP protocol

When a computer is sending data across the network, it first requires establishing the route in which the data will follow. The packet can either stay in or leave the network. The PC establishes the protocol to be followed through comparing subnet mask to the receiving IP address. After the destination has been realized, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is utilized in establishing the next hop across the network. The basic purpose of ARP is basically discovering and associating IP addresses to the Physical MAC.

In case the packet has a destination serving another network, the ARP is applied in finding the MAC of the access router. One ARP packet is dispatched to the receiving router asking for its MAC. The router then responds to the source router through offering its MAC address. The PC then forwards the packet immediately to the MAC address at the receiving router.

Once the receiving router has received the packet it gets rid of its MAC address as the target and then replaces it with the MAC address of the next receiving router.  This gateway router also replaces the MAC address of the source computer with its MAC address. This process is repeated at each router across the way until the packet finally reaches to the consumer’s router.

The fast development of the internet has contributed greatly in making the world a global village. People all over the world can communicate and share information on real time. Internet development has especially attained recommendable heights in the recent past.  The number of people accessing internet has also been rising drastically. In 1995, only about 0.4% of the world population had access to the internet. By December 2011, 32.7% of the global population had access to the internet according to research conducted by International World Stats, IDC.

The internet generally refers to interconnected global networks that are owned and run by government, academia, industries and private organizations. The aim of the network is to help in transmission of information, knowledge and convenient communication. This technology has over time acquired and even surpassed the original intention of the pioneers of the knowledge.


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