A New Method to Get MAC/NIC Statistical Information

Environment: Compiled on Visual Studio 6 & Windows XP Pro


In Khalid Shaikh's article, "Three ways to get your MAC address" (2002/04/15), he described three ways to retrieve a MAC address.

The first method is to use the relation between UUID and MAC to retrieve MAC. However, due to security reasons, UUID no longer contains an explicit MAC string. Thus, this method will not work anymore.

The second method is to use NetBIOS, of which Khalid Shaikh has described clearly the pros and cons.

The third method is to use the Windows SDK, which is very easy to use. Also along with MAC information, other configuration information can be retrieved in the same function call.

Due to project requirement, I need to find out a easy/neat way to not only get the configuration information of an interface, but also the dynamic statistic information: how many packages received/sent, how many packages dropped, and so forth. The methods described there cannot provide such information.

After doing some research, I found a good way to collect this information; the by-product is the MAC address.


The code segment is quite straightforward. I only demonstrate how to retrieve MAC here. Check the reference for details of the MIB_IFROW structure if you need to collect the statistic information of NIC.

bool GetMacAddr()
  // Retrieve network interface information

  DWORD sizeReq = 0 ;
  // Get size information
  ::GetIfTable(NULL, &sizeReq, FALSE) ;

  // Allocate required memory
  pInfo = (PMIB_IFTABLE) new BYTE [sizeReq] ;
  memset (pInfo, 0, sizeReq) ;

  DWORD sizeToUse = sizeReq ;

  // Retrieve network interface information
  bool result = ( ::GetIfTable( (PMIB_IFTABLE)pInfo,
       sizeToUse, FALSE) == NO_ERROR );
  if( !result )
    delete (PMIB_IFTABLE)pInfo;
    pInfo = NULL;
      "Couldn't retrieve network interface information!");
    return false;

  // Print all interface information
  for( unsigned int index = 0; index <
    ((PMIB_IFTABLE)pInfo)->dwNumEntries; index ++ )
    // Get interface description
    MIB_IFROW& details = ((PMIB_IFTABLE)pInfo)->table[index];
    printf("Interface %d: %s\n", index, (LPCTSTR) details.bDescr );

    // Is this an Ethernet interface?
    if( (details.dwPhysAddrLen == 6)
      && (details.dwType == MIB_IF_TYPE_ETHERNET) )

      // Ethernet MAC address
      printf("     Ethernet: ");
    else    // Other interface
      printf("     Others: ");

    // Format physical address
    char macStr[30];
    for (DWORD j = 0 ; j < details.dwPhysAddrLen ; ++j)
      sprintf( &macStr[j*3], "%02X-", details.bPhysAddr[j] );
    macStr[j*3-1] = '\0';

    // Print out physical address
    printf( "%s\n", &macStr[0] );

  return true;

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me.


Download demo project and source (GetMAC) - 4 Kb
Note: This method uses Windows SDK, Thus, it requires that the Windows SDK be installed in order for it to be compiled.


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