Why does The Coca-Cola Company have 16 million MAC addresses reserved?

Tools

The developer behind the software program GNU MACchanger recently stumbled across a strange discovery: Coca Cola has reserved 16 million MAC addresses.

Subsequent discussions on Slashdot, Wired and InfoWorld try to dissect the possible reasons why. 

A MAC address is a unique identifier for any device connected to the Internet; 16 million numbers is the smallest block that can be reserved, and Coca Cola has apparently held this block since 2010.

Wired speculates that Coca Cola already uses these addresses in its Freestyle soda-vending machines, automatically collecting and transmitting data about consumer preferences. However, InfoWorld's Paul Venezia notes that MAC addresses are typically carried by specific components (eg networking cards) rather than the larger devices they reside in (eg servers). Unless the Freestyle or other vending machines are built from custom hardware, they should be able to rely on the addresses already assigned to the networking components.

Wired tried but got no explanation from Coca Cola, leaving room for lots of speculation about the company's ultimate Internet of Things ambitions.

For more:
- read the original blog post
- and Wired's article
- and InfoWorld's column

More on the Internet of Things:
These tech trends will rule your life in 2014, says IEEE [FierceCIO]
IoT products, services will add $1.9 trillion to the world economy by 2020, says Gartner [FierceMobileIT]
Internet of Things, Botnet edition

Filed Under