A method and system for providing a device identification mechanism within a consumer electronics based audio/video network. Several consumer electronics products, e.g., television, VCR, tuner, set-top box (e.g., intelligent receiver/decoder, IRD), DVTRs, PCs, DVD players (digital video disk), etc., can be coupled within the network to communicate together via a standard bus (e.g., IEEE 1394 serial communication bus). In one embodiment, the HAVI network offers unique advantages consumer electronic vendors because the architecture offers for the home network many of the advantages of existing computer system networks. Specifically, interconnected devices can share resources and provide open, well defined APIs that allow ease of development for third party developers. The present invention provides a mechanism whereby a global unique identifier (GUID) is associated with each device of the HAVI network. A low level driver constructs a GUID list of each device on the HAVI network. The order of the GUID entries in the GUID list (e.g., the index) matches the physical identifiers assigned to the devices by the 1394 serial bus. Although the physical identifiers can change on bus reset, the GUID values are constant and are used for device communication. Speed map and topology map information is maintained based on the physical identifier information and therefore translations between GUIDs and physical identifiers are efficiently performed by the present invention when referencing speed map and topology information for an application.