Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

LAN & WAN Basics

ISP Authentication - Other Methods

MAC Address

Anything that has an IP address will have a MAC (Media Access Control) address. MAC addresses are unique to each piece of networking equipment (at least they're supposed to be... more below) and are used in the IP address assignment process. The MAC address (also known as an "Adapter" or "Ethernet" address) is composed of twelve hexadecimal characters. To avoid address duplication, ranges of addresses are assigned to network equipment manufacturers, who are charged with setting up the proper systems to ensure that address assignments are not duplicated.

NOTE: MAC addresses are represented in three common ways. Here's how you would write the same MAC address in those three ways:

  • 00fe3c812eab
  • 00-fe-3c-81-2e-ab
  • 00:fe:3c:81:2e:ab.

MAC addresses are not case sensitive, so the letters that are used (A-F) can be either upper or lower case.

MAC address authentication used to be very commonly used. But routers evolved to allow setting the WAN MAC address to whatever you wanted either by automatically "cloning" the MAC address of a computer that's attached to it, or letting you manually enter the MAC address. This greatly reduced the effectiveness of this authentication method.

Host Name

The Host Name method was used primarily by the now defunct BSP @Home. It requires that the Host Name (Windows calls this the "Computer Name") of the connected computer be set to a specific, long name. Many routers continue to include the ability to set the Host Name, even though @Home has long since gone.


Known more as Microsoft's VPN protocol, PPTP authentication is used by some ISPs instead of PPPoE. The setup screens and parameters look very similar to PPPoE.

Telstra Bigpond

Another username / password authentication system used by the large Australian BSP.

More Basics

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

Update 2020/10/22 ( rc2-7 - Google Drive This version includes 18 models:ZenWiFi: XT8(RT-AX95Q), XD4(R...
I have a 3200 running the latest and most likely last version of Merlin it can run. It works fine but I wonder if it’s time to upgrade if for nothing ...
What the hell is going on?! I had 5GHz setup and working on laptop on other end of the house and getting good speeds. 2 days ago, my other netbook sta...
HiWhy is the AC86U assigning static IP to Devices? I am having some troubles with Orbi mesh satellites disconnecting, and they recommend to set device...
Hi all,Sorry if this is the wrong place, my post kind of sits in between buying advice and ASUS advice forum! Happy to have it moved to buying advice ...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3