Will a USB modem send my computer's MAC address to the Internet service provider when I am using it?

I mean, if two computers use the same USB modem will the Internet service provider know that two computers are sharing that modem?


1 Answer 1


Your computer doesn't have a MAC address on its own, a MAC address is something related to the network adapter. So your USB Modem (I'm assuming you're talking about those 3G/4G USB Modems) has its own IMEI (or MAC address in some cases), and when you use it to connect to the Internet your ISP will see it.

If your ISP doesn't require you to install an application† to use for the connection, then I don't see how they can find out that you're using the same USB Modem on two different computers.

† Such application might gather some data about your computer and come up with a sort-of identifying signature comprised of information about OS installation and/or hardware.

  • Since MAC addresses are specific to Ethernet devices, I don't see why a 3G/4G USB modem would have one at all.
    – Xander
    Mar 9, 2013 at 20:50
  • What do you know, it looks like they might after all. Will wonders never cease?
    – Xander
    Mar 9, 2013 at 20:53
  • Ok, now I'm having a converstation with myself in the comments, but whatever. Looks like 4G WiMax may have a MAC address for the device (which superficially makes sense, don't know about technically) but 3G/4G LTE doesn't appear to, which really does make sense.
    – Xander
    Mar 9, 2013 at 21:00
  • @Xander, 1- Thank you for brining this to my attention, I mistakenly said MAC instead of IMEI (I have corrected the answer), but I didn't know about 4G WiMAX. 2- MAC isn't exclusive to Ethernet devices, it's used in many other IEEE 802 standards for example, IEEE 802.15.1 (Bluetooth).
    – Adi
    Mar 9, 2013 at 21:40
  • Ah, true, they are indeed going exist for any 802.x protocol. Modem communications typically are not, however, 802.x based. Cheers for differentiating.
    – Xander
    Mar 9, 2013 at 22:53

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