Chapter 12. Analyzing Classful IPv4 Networks

This chapter covers the following exam topics:

1.0 Network Fundamentals

1.6 Configure and verify IPv4 addressing and subnetting

When operating a network, you often start investigating a problem based on an IP address and mask. Based on the IP address alone, you should be able to determine several facts about the Class A, B, or C network in which the IP address resides.

This chapter lists the key facts about classful IP networks and explains how to discover these facts. Following that, this chapter lists some practice problems. Before moving to the next chapter, you should practice until you can consistently determine all these facts, quickly and confidently, based on an IP address.

“Do I Know This Already?” Quiz

Take the quiz (either here or use the PTP software) if you want to use the score to help you decide how much time to spend on this chapter. The letter answers are listed at the bottom of the page following the quiz. Appendix C, found both at the end of the book as well as on the companion website, includes both the answers and explanations. You can also find both answers and explanations in the PTP testing software.

Table 12-1 “Do I Know This Already?” Foundation Topics Section-to-Question Mapping

Foundation Topics Section

Questions

Classful Network Concepts

1–5

1. Which of the following are not valid Class A network IDs? (Choose two answers.)

a. 1.0.0.0

b. 130.0.0.0

c. 127.0.0.0

d. 9.0.0.0

2. Which of the following are not valid Class B network IDs?

a. 130.0.0.0

b. 191.255.0.0

c. 128.0.0.0

d. 150.255.0.0

e. All are valid Class B network IDs.

3. Which of the following are true about IP address 172.16.99.45’s IP network? (Choose two answers.)

a. The network ID is 172.0.0.0.

b. The network is a Class B network.

c. The default mask for the network is 255.255.255.0.

d. The number of host bits in the unsubnetted network is 16.

4. Which of the following are true about IP address 192.168.6.7’s IP network? (Choose two answers.)

a. The network ID is 192.168.6.0.

b. The network is a Class B network.

c. The default mask for the network is 255.255.255.0.

d. The number of host bits in the unsubnetted network is 16.

5. Which of the following is a network broadcast address?

a. 10.1.255.255

b. 192.168.255.1

c. 224.1.1.255

d. 172.30.255.255

Answers to the “Do I Know This Already?” quiz:

1 B, C

2 E

3 B, D

4 A, C

5 D

Foundation Topics

Classful Network Concepts

Imagine that you have a job interview for your first IT job. As part of the interview, you’re given an IPv4 address and mask: 10.4.5.99, 255.255.255.0. What can you tell the interviewer about the classful network (in this case, the Class A network) in which the IP address resides?

This section, the first of two major sections in this chapter, reviews the concepts of classful IP networks (in other words, Class A, B, and C networks). In particular, this chapter examines how to begin with a single IP address and then determine the following facts:

  • Class (A, B, or C)

  • Default mask

  • Number of network octets/bits

  • Number of host octets/bits

  • Number of host addresses in the network

  • Network ID

  • Network broadcast address

  • First and last usable address in the network

IPv4 Network Classes and Related Facts

IP version 4 (IPv4) defines five address classes. Three of the classes, Classes A, B, and C, consist of unicast IP addresses. Unicast addresses identify a single host or interface so that the address uniquely identifies the device. Class D addresses serve as multicast addresses, so that one packet sent to a Class D multicast IPv4 address can actually be delivered to multiple hosts. Finally, Class E addresses were originally intended for experimentation but were changed to simply be reserved for future use. The class can be identified based on the value of the first octet of the address, as shown in Table 12-2.

Key Topic.

Table 12-2 IPv4 Address Classes Based on First Octet Values

Class

First Octet Values

Purpose

A

1–126

Unicast (large networks)

B

128–191

Unicast (medium-sized networks)

C

192–223

Unicast (small networks)

D

224–239

Multicast

E

240–255

Reserved (formerly experimental)

After you identify the class of a unicast address as either A, B, or C, many other related facts can be derived just through memorization. Table 12-3 lists that information for reference and later study; each of these concepts is described in this chapter.

Key Topic.

Table 12-3 Key Facts for Classes A, B, and C

 

Class A

Class B

Class C

First octet range

1–126

128–191

192–223

Valid network numbers

1.0.0.0–126.0.0.0

128.0.0.0–191.255.0.0

192.0.0.0–223.255.255.0

Total networks

27 – 2 = 126

214 = 16,384

221 = 2,097,152

Hosts per network

224 – 2

216 – 2

28 – 2

Octets (bits) in network part

1 (8)

2 (16)

3 (24)

Octets (bits) in host part

3 (24)

2 (16)

1 (8)

Default mask

255.0.0.0

255.255.0.0

255.255.255.0

Note that the address ranges of all addresses that begin with 0 and all addresses that begin with 127 are reserved. Had they not been reserved since the creation of Class A networks, as listed in RFC 791 (published in 1981), then they might have been known as class A networks 0.0.0.0 and 127.0.0.0. Because they are reserved, however, the address space has 126 class A networks, and not 128. Also, note that there are no similar reserved ranges to begin/end the class B and C ranges.

In addition to the reservation of what would be class A networks 0.0.0.0 and 127.0.0.0 for other purposes, other newer RFCs have also reserved small pieces of the Class A, B, and C address space. So, tables like Table 12-3, with the count of the numbers of Class A, B, and C networks, are a good place to get a sense of the size of the number; however, the number of reserved networks does change slightly over time (albeit slowly) based on these other reserved address ranges.

Note

If you are interested in seeing all the reserved IPv4 address ranges, just do an Internet search on “IANA IPv4 special-purpose address registry.”

The Number and Size of the Class A, B, and C Networks

Table 12-3 lists the range of Class A, B, and C network numbers; however, some key points can be lost just referencing a table of information. This section examines the Class A, B, and C network numbers, focusing on the more important points and the exceptions and unusual cases.

First, the number of networks from each class significantly differs. Only 126 Class A networks exist: network 1.0.0.0, 2.0.0.0, 3.0.0.0, and so on, up through network 126.0.0.0. However, 16,384 Class B networks exist, with more than 2 million Class C networks.

Next, note that the size of networks from each class also significantly differs. Each Class A network is relatively large—over 16 million host IP addresses per network—so they were originally intended to be used by the largest companies and organizations. Class B networks are smaller, with over 65,000 hosts per network. Finally, Class C networks, intended for small organizations, have 254 hosts in each network. Figure 12-1 summarizes those facts.

A figure shows the number of networks and hosts per network in Classes A, B, and C. Class A has 126 networks and 16,777,214 hosts per network. Class B has 16,384 networks and 65,534 hosts per network. Class C has 2,097,152 networks and 254 hosts per network.

Figure 12-1 Numbers and Sizes of Class A, B, and C Networks

Address Formats

In some cases, an engineer might need to think about a Class A, B, or C network as if the network has not been subdivided through the subnetting process. In such a case, the addresses in the classful network have a structure with two parts: the network part (sometimes called the prefix) and the host part. Then, comparing any two IP addresses in one network, the following observations can be made:

Key Topic.

The addresses in the same network have the same values in the network part.

The addresses in the same network have different values in the host part.

For example, in Class A network 10.0.0.0, by definition, the network part consists of the first octet. As a result, all addresses have an equal value in the network part, namely a 10 in the first octet. If you then compare any two addresses in the network, the addresses have a different value in the last three octets (the host octets). For example, IP addresses 10.1.1.1 and 10.1.1.2 have the same value (10) in the network part, but different values in the host part.

Figure 12-2 shows the format and sizes (in number of bits) of the network and host parts of IP addresses in Class A, B, and C networks, before any subnetting has been applied.

A figure shows the bit-wise size of network and host parts of Classes A, B, and C. Class A has 8 networks and 24 hosts. Class B has 16 networks and 16 hosts. Class C has 24 networks and 8 hosts.

Figure 12-2 Sizes (Bits) of the Network and Host Parts of Unsubnetted Classful Networks

Default Masks

Although we humans can easily understand the concepts behind Figure 12-2, computers prefer numbers. To communicate those same ideas to computers, each network class has an associated default mask that defines the size of the network and host parts of an unsubnetted Class A, B, and C network. To do so, the mask lists binary 1s for the bits considered to be in the network part and binary 0s for the bits considered to be in the host part.

For example, Class A network 10.0.0.0 has a network part of the first single octet (8 bits) and a host part of the last three octets (24 bits). As a result, the Class A default mask is 255.0.0.0, which in binary is

11111111 00000000 00000000 00000000

Figure 12-3 shows default masks for each network class, both in binary and dotted-decimal format.

Key Topic.
The binary and dotted decimal formats of default masks for Network Classes A, B, and C are shown.

Figure 12-3 Default Masks for Classes A, B, and C

Note

Decimal 255 converts to the binary value 11111111. Decimal 0, converted to 8-bit binary, is 00000000. See Appendix A, “Numeric Reference Tables,” for a conversion table.

Number of Hosts per Network

Calculating the number of hosts per network requires some basic binary math. First, consider a case where you have a single binary digit. How many unique values are there? There are, of course, two values: 0 and 1. With 2 bits, you can make four combinations: 00, 01, 10, and 11. As it turns out, the total combination of unique values you can make with N bits is 2N.

Host addresses—the IP addresses assigned to hosts—must be unique. The host bits exist for the purpose of giving each host a unique IP address by virtue of having a different value in the host part of the addresses. So, with H host bits, 2H unique combinations exist.

However, the number of hosts in a network is not 2H; instead, it is 2H – 2. Each network reserves two numbers that would have otherwise been useful as host addresses but have instead been reserved for special use: one for the network ID and one for the network broadcast address. As a result, the formula to calculate the number of host addresses per Class A, B, or C network is

Key Topic.

2H – 2

where H is the number of host bits.

Deriving the Network ID and Related Numbers

Each classful network has four key numbers that describe the network. You can derive these four numbers if you start with just one IP address in the network. The numbers are as follows:

  • Network number

  • First (numerically lowest) usable address

  • Last (numerically highest) usable address

  • Network broadcast address

First, consider both the network number and first usable IP address. The network number, also called the network ID or network address, identifies the network. By definition, the network number is the numerically lowest number in the network. However, to prevent any ambiguity, the people that made up IP addressing added the restriction that the network number cannot be assigned as an IP address. So, the lowest number in the network is the network ID. Then, the first (numerically lowest) host IP address is one larger than the network number.

Next, consider the network broadcast address along with the last (numerically highest) usable IP address. The TCP/IP RFCs define a network broadcast address as a special address in each network. This broadcast address could be used as the destination address in a packet, and the routers would forward a copy of that one packet to all hosts in that classful network. Numerically, a network broadcast address is always the highest (last) number in the network. As a result, the highest (last) number usable as an IP address is the address that is one less than the network broadcast address.

Simply put, if you can find the network number and network broadcast address, finding the first and last usable IP addresses in the network is easy. For the exam, you should be able to find all four values with ease; the process is as follows:

Key Topic.

Step 1. Determine the class (A, B, or C) based on the first octet.

Step 2. Mentally divide the network and host octets based on the class.

Step 3. To find the network number, change the IP address’s host octets to 0.

Step 4. To find the first address, add 1 to the fourth octet of the network ID.

Step 5. To find the broadcast address, change the network ID’s host octets to 255.

Step 6. To find the last address, subtract 1 from the fourth octet of the network broadcast address.

The written process actually looks harder than it is. Figure 12-4 shows an example of the process, using Class A IP address 10.17.18.21, with the circled numbers matching the process.

The procedure of deriving the network ID and other values is explained for Class A.

Figure 12-4 Example of Deriving the Network ID and Other Values from 10.17.18.21

Figure 12-4 shows the identification of the class as Class A (Step 1) and the number of network/host octets as 1 and 3, respectively. So, to find the network ID at Step 3, the figure copies only the first octet, setting the last three (host) octets to 0. At Step 4, just copy the network ID and add 1 to the fourth octet. Similarly, to find the broadcast address at Step 5, copy the network octets, but set the host octets to 255. Then, at Step 6, subtract 1 from the fourth octet to find the last (numerically highest) usable IP address.

Just to show an alternative example, consider IP address 172.16.8.9. Figure 12-5 shows the process applied to this IP address.

The procedure of deriving the network ID and other values is explained for Class B.

Figure 12-5 Example Deriving the Network ID and Other Values from 172.16.8.9

Figure 12-5 shows the identification of the class as Class B (Step 1) and the number of network/host octets as 2 and 2, respectively. So, to find the network ID at Step 3, the figure copies only the first two octets, setting the last two (host) octets to 0. Similarly, Step 5 shows the same action, but with the last two (host) octets being set to 255.

Unusual Network IDs and Network Broadcast Addresses

Some of the more unusual numbers in and around the range of Class A, B, and C network numbers can cause some confusion. This section lists some examples of numbers that make many people make the wrong assumptions about the meaning of the number.

For Class A, the first odd fact is that the range of values in the first octet omits the numbers 0 and 127. As it turns out, what would be Class A network 0.0.0.0 was originally reserved for some broadcasting requirements, so all addresses that begin with 0 in the first octet are reserved. What would be Class A network 127.0.0.0 is still reserved because of a special address used in software testing, called the loopback address (127.0.0.1).

For Class B (and C), some of the network numbers can look odd, particularly if you fall into a habit of thinking that 0s at the end means the number is a network ID, and 255s at the end means it’s a network broadcast address. First, Class B network numbers range from 128.0.0.0 to 191.255.0.0, for a total of 214 networks. However, even the very first (lowest number) Class B network number (128.0.0.0) looks a little like a Class A network number because it ends with three 0s. However, the first octet is 128, making it a Class B network with a two-octet network part (128.0).

For another Class B example, the high end of the Class B range also might look strange at first glance (191.255.0.0), but this is indeed the numerically highest of the valid Class B network numbers. This network’s broadcast address, 191.255.255.255, might look a little like a Class A broadcast address because of the three 255s at the end, but it is indeed the broadcast address of a Class B network.

Similarly to Class B networks, some of the valid Class C network numbers do look strange. For example, Class C network 192.0.0.0 looks a little like a Class A network because of the last three octets being 0, but because it is a Class C network, it consists of all addresses that begin with three octets equal to 192.0.0. Similarly, 223.255.255.0, another valid Class C network, consists of all addresses that begin with 223.255.255.

Practice with Classful Networks

As with all areas of IP addressing and subnetting, you need to practice to be ready for the CCNA exam. You should practice some while reading this chapter to make sure that you understand the processes. At that point, you can use your notes and this book as a reference, with a goal of understanding the process. After that, keep practicing this and all the other subnetting processes. Before you take the exam, you should be able to always get the right answer, and with speed. Table 12-4 summarizes the key concepts and suggestions for this two-phase approach.

Table 12-4 Keep-Reading and Take-Exam Goals for This Chapter’s Topics

 

After Reading This Chapter

Before Taking the Exam

Focus on…

Learning how

Being correct and fast

Tools Allowed

All

Your brain and a notepad

Goal: Accuracy

90% correct

100% correct

Goal: Speed

Any speed

10 seconds

Practice Deriving Key Facts Based on an IP Address

Practice finding the various facts that can be derived from an IP address, as discussed throughout this chapter. To do so, complete Table 12-5.

Table 12-5 Practice Problems: Find the Network ID and Network Broadcast

 

IP Address

Class

Network Octets

Host Octets

Network ID

Network Broadcast Address

1

1.1.1.1

 

 

 

 

 

2

128.1.6.5

 

 

 

 

 

3

200.1.2.3

 

 

 

 

 

4

192.192.1.1

 

 

 

 

 

5

126.5.4.3

 

 

 

 

 

6

200.1.9.8

 

 

 

 

 

7

192.0.0.1

 

 

 

 

 

8

191.255.1.47

 

 

 

 

 

9

223.223.0.1

 

 

 

 

 

The answers are listed in the section “Answers to Earlier Practice Problems,” later in this chapter.

Practice Remembering the Details of Address Classes

Tables 12-2 and 12-3, shown earlier in this chapter, summarized some key information about IPv4 address classes. Tables 12-6 and 12-7 show sparse versions of these same tables. To practice recalling those key facts, particularly the range of values in the first octet that identifies the address class, complete these tables. Then, refer to Tables 12-2 and 12-3 to check your answers. Repeat this process until you can recall all the information in the tables.

Table 12-6 Sparse Study Table Version of Table 12-2

Class

First Octet Values

Purpose

A

 

 

B

 

 

C

 

 

D

 

 

E

 

 

Table 12-7 Sparse Study Table Version of Table 12-3

 

Class A

Class B

Class C

First octet range

 

 

 

Valid network numbers

 

 

 

Total networks

 

 

 

Hosts per network

 

 

 

Octets (bits) in network part

 

 

 

Octets (bits) in host part

 

 

 

Default mask

 

 

 

Chapter Review

One key to doing well on the exams is to perform repetitive spaced review sessions. Review this chapter’s material using either the tools in the book or interactive tools for the same material found on the book’s companion website. Refer to the “Your Study Plan” element for more details. Table 12-8 outlines the key review elements and where you can find them. To better track your study progress, record when you completed these activities in the second column.

Table 12-8 Chapter Review Tracking

Review Element

Review Date(s)

Resource Used

Review key topics

 

Book, website

Review key terms

 

Book, website

Answer DIKTA questions

 

Book, PTP

Review memory tables

 

Website

Practice analyzing classful IPv4 networks

 

Website, Appendix D

Review All the Key Topics

Key Topic.

Table 12-9 Key Topics for Chapter 12

Key Topic Elements

Description

Page Number

Table 12-2

Address classes

290

Table 12-3

Key facts about Class A, B, and C networks

290

List

Comparisons of network and host parts of addresses in the same classful network

292

Figure 12-3

Default masks

293

Paragraph

Function to calculate the number of hosts per network

294

List

Steps to find information about a classful network

294

Key Terms You Should Know

network

classful IP network

network number

network ID

network address

network broadcast address

network part

host part

default mask

Additional Practice for This Chapter’s Processes

For additional practice with analyzing classful networks, you may do a set of practice problems using your choice of tools:

Application: Use the Analyzing Classful IPv4 Networks application on the companion website.

PDF: Alternatively, practice the same problems using companion website Appendix D, “Practice for Chapter 12: Analyzing Classful IPv4 Networks.”

Answers to Earlier Practice Problems

Table 12-5, shown earlier, listed several practice problems. Table 12-10 lists the answers.

Table 12-10 Practice Problems: Find the Network ID and Network Broadcast

 

IP Address

Class

Network Octets

Host Octets

Network ID

Network Broadcast

1

1.1.1.1

A

1

3

1.0.0.0

1.255.255.255

2

128.1.6.5

B

2

2

128.1.0.0

128.1.255.255

3

200.1.2.3

C

3

1

200.1.2.0

200.1.2.255

4

192.192.1.1

C

3

1

192.192.1.0

192.192.1.255

5

126.5.4.3

A

1

3

126.0.0.0

126.255.255.255

6

200.1.9.8

C

3

1

200.1.9.0

200.1.9.255

7

192.0.0.1

C

3

1

192.0.0.0

192.0.0.255

8

191.255.1.47

B

2

2

191.255.0.0

191.255.255.255

9

223.223.0.1

C

3

1

223.223.0.0

223.223.0.255

The class, number of network octets, and number of host octets all require you to look at the first octet of the IP address to determine the class. If a value is between 1 and 126, inclusive, the address is a Class A address, with one network and three host octets. If a value is between 128 and 191 inclusive, the address is a Class B address, with two network and two host octets. If a value is between 192 and 223, inclusive, it is a Class C address, with three network octets and one host octet.

The last two columns can be found based on Table 12-3, specifically the number of network and host octets along with the IP address. To find the network ID, copy the IP address, but change the host octets to 0. Similarly, to find the network broadcast address, copy the IP address, but change the host octets to 255.

The last three problems can be confusing and were included on purpose so that you could see an example of these unusual cases, as follows.

Answers to Practice Problem 7 (from Table 12-5)

Consider IP address 192.0.0.1. First, 192 is on the lower edge of the first octet range for Class C; as such, this address has three network and one host octet. To find the network ID, copy the address, but change the single host octet (the fourth octet) to 0, for a network ID of 192.0.0.0. It looks strange, but it is indeed the network ID.

The network broadcast address choice for problem 7 can also look strange. To find the broadcast address, copy the IP address (192.0.0.1), but change the last octet (the only host octet) to 255, for a broadcast address of 192.0.0.255. In particular, if you decide that the broadcast should be 192.255.255.255, you might have fallen into the trap of logic, like “Change all 0s in the network ID to 255s,” which is not the correct logic. Instead, change all host octets in the IP address (or network ID) to 255s.

Answers to Practice Problem 8 (from Table 12-5)

The first octet of problem 8 (191.255.1.47) sits on the upper edge of the Class B range for the first octet (128–191). As such, to find the network ID, change the last two octets (host octets) to 0, for a network ID of 191.255.0.0. This value sometimes gives people problems because they are used to thinking that 255 somehow means the number is a broadcast address.

The broadcast address, found by changing the two host octets to 255, means that the broadcast address is 191.255.255.255. It looks more like a broadcast address for a Class A network, but it is actually the broadcast address for Class B network 191.255.0.0.

Answers to Practice Problem 9 (from Table 12-5)

Problem 9, with IP address 223.223.0.1, is near the high end of the Class C range. As a result, only the last (host) octet is changed to 0 to form the network ID 223.223.0.0. It looks a little like a Class B network number at first glance because it ends in two octets of 0. However, it is indeed a Class C network ID (based on the value in the first octet).

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