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Introduction ? We already did that in the previous page :) Let's get stuck right into this cool topic ! What is Subnetting ? When we Subnet a network, we basically split it into smaller networks. For example, when a set of IP Addresses is given to a company, e.g 254 they might want to "break" (the correct term is "partition") that one network into smaller ones, one for each department. This way, their Technical department and Management department can each have a small network of their own. By subnetting the network we can partition it to as many smaller networks as we need and this also helps reduce traffic and hides the complexity of the network. By default, all type of Classes (A, B and C) have a subnet mask, we call it the "Default Subnet mask". You need to have one because: 1) All computers need the subnet mask field filled when configuring IP 2) You need to set some logical boundaries in your network 3) You should at least enter the default subnet mask for the Class you're using In the previous pages I spoke about IP Classes, Network IDs and Host IDs, the fact is that the Subnet mask is what determines the Network ID and Host ID portion of an IP Address. The table below shows clearly the subnetmask that applies for each network Class.
When dealing with subnet masks in the real world, we are free in most cases to use any type of subnet mask in order to meet our needs. If for example we require one network which can contain up to 254 computers, then a Class C network with its default subnet mask will do fine, but if we need more, then we might consider a Class B network with its default subnet mask. Note that the default subnet masks have been set by the IEEE committee, the same guys that set and approve the different standards and protocols.
Understanding the concept Let's stop here for one moment and have a look at what I mean by partitioning one network into smaller ones by using different subnet masks.255. all these computers are part of the one network marked in blue. Let's say we needed to change the subnet mask from 255.255.0.168. This also means that any one of these hosts (computers. router and server) can communicate with each other. then we would need to change the subnet mask appropriately so we can get the desired result.0 to 255.255. All computers here have been configured with the default Class C subnet mask (255.We will have a closer look at this later on and see how we can achieve a Class C network with more than 254 hosts.0). The picture below shows us how the computers will see the network once the subnet mask has changed: . The picture below shows our example network (192.255.0): Because of the subnet mask we used.255.224 on each configured host.255. If we now wanted to partition this network into smaller segments.
. For this reason I created this little paragraph to let you know how we are going to approach and learn subnetting. but I am keeping things simple for now and showing only 2 of these smaller networks because I want you to understand the concept of subnetting and see how important the subnet mask is..In reality. It is very important that you understand the concepts introduced in this section.. before continuing ! Subnet Masks & Their Effect Introduction There are a few different ways to approach subnetting and it can get confusing because of the complexity of some subnets and the flexibility they offer. we have just created 8 networks from the one large (blue) network we had. In the next pages which are to follow I will analyse in great depth the way subnetting works and how to calculate it. .. you can then go on and create your custom subnet masks using any type of Class. We are going to analyse the common subnet masks for each Class. Once you have mastered this. What you need to keep in mind is that each Class has its DEFAULT subnet mask. giving detailed examples for most of them and allowing you to "see" how everything is calculated and understand the different effects a subnet mask can have as you change it. so make sure you do. Default Subnet masks of each Class By now you should have some idea what the subnet mask does and how it's used to partition a network. So.
where the IP Address is analysed in Binary. then we immediately move to a different network.which we can change to suit our needs. 1) The Network ID and 2) The Host ID. The ones (1) in the subnet mask "lock" or. we have a 24 bit subnet mask. if you like. but we need to look into it in a bit more detail. If we change any bit within the Network ID of the IP Address. I have already mentioned this in the previous page. This rule applies for all IP Addresses that use the default subnet mask and we call them Classful IP Addresses. The picture below shows our 3 Network Classes with their respective default subnet mask: The Effect of a Subnet Mask on an IP Address In the IP Classes page we analysed and showed clearly how an IP Address consists of two parts. What we have done is take the decimal subnet mask and converted it to binary. . define the Network ID portion. It is essential to work in binary because it makes things clearer and we can avoid making silly mistakes. So in this example. We can see this once again in the picture below. because this is the way you should work when dealing with subnet masks: We are looking at an IP Address with its subnet mask for the first time. along with the IP Address.
0). As the picture explains. Effectively we partitioned our Class C network into smaller networks. .g 192. On the other hand.255. These type of IP Addresses are called Classless IP Addresses. All Class A Classful IP Addresses have an 8 bit subnet mask (255. the use of an IP Address with a subnet mask other than the default results in the standard Host bits (the Bits used to indentify the HOST ID) being divided in to two parts: a Subnet ID and Host ID. we are going to take the same IP Address as above.0.168.0. e.255. I prefer that you understanding everything here rather than blasting you with more Subnet ID's. and make it a Classless IP Address by changing the default subnet mask: Looking at the picture above you will now notice that we have a Subnet ID.10 is a Class C IP Address so the default subnet mask would be 255.NOTE: All Class C Classful IP Addresses have a 24 bit subnet mask (255. bits and all the rest :) Summary In this page we saw the default subnet mask of each Class and also introduced the Classful and Classless IP Addresses. If you're wondering how many smaller networks.0. In order to understand what a "Classless IP Address" is without getting confused. All Class B Classful IP Addresses have a 16 bit subnet mask (255. we have borrowed 3 bits from the Host ID and used them to create a Subnet ID.255. When we use IP Addresses with their default subnet masks.0).0. then these are "Classful IP Addresses".255.0). which are a result of using various subnet masks. you'll find the answer on the next page.0. something that didn't exist before.255.
I would suggest you read it once more :) Subnetting Analysis Introduction So we have covered to some depth the subnetting topic. Classless IP Addresses have their subnet mask modified in a way so that there is a "Subnet ID". and how to use it. learn how to calculate how many bits certain subnet masks are and see the different and most used subnet masks available. but there is still much to learn ! We are going to explain here the available subnet masks and analyse a Class C network. depending on your needs. If you think you might have not understood a few sections throughout this page. or it won't be accepted at all by the device you're trying to configure. and the guidelines we need when we use them. Understanding the use. For this reason we are going to have a look at the various subnet masks so you know exactly what you need to use. That's what we are going to do here ! The truth is that you cannot take any subnet mask you like and apply it to a computer or any other device. as long as you understand the logic behind it. The picture below shows us both examples: I hope that you have understood the new concepts and material on this page. but we haven't spoken (yet) about the different values they take. Most important. using a specific subnet mask. Most . it will either create a lot of routing and communication problems.On the other hand. This Subnet ID is created by borrowing Bits from the Host ID portion. because depending on the random subnet mask you choose. we are going to make sure we understand WHY you need to choose specific subnet masks. so we know what a subnet mask is. and analysing different subnet masks Okay. Next we are going to talk about subnet bits. It's all pretty simple.
I have used various colours to show you the decimal numbers that we get each time we borrow a bit from the Host ID portion.255.192.252 (default+6) 255.255.0 (default +1) 255.0 (default+6) 255. really. If you can't understand how these decimal numbers work out.0 (default+8) Class B 255.255 (default+8) * Reserved for Broadcasts 7 8 The above table might seem confusing at first.0 (default+2) 255.0.0.255.0.255.0.240 (default+4) 255.0.255.240.240.248.0.255. all the way to 8) from the Host ID portion of each class.255.0 (default+1) 255.0 (default+2) 255.255. Each time we borrow a bit from the Host ID. and all we are doing is borrowing a Bit at a time (starting from 22.214.171.124. Looking at each Class's subnet mask is possibly the best and easiest way to learn them.252.0. we are going to see the common Subnet masks for each Class.248.128 (default+1) 255.255.255.0 (default_mask) 255.0. but don't despair ! It's simple.255.255. For example.255. then you should read up on the Binary & IP page.0.254 (default+7) * Only 1 Host per subnet 255. Let's first have a look at the most common subnet masks and then I'll show you where these numbers come from :) Common Subnet Masks In order to keep this place tidy.224.0 (default+3) 255.254.0 (default+8) Class C 255.0.255.255.252.255. we ended up .224 (default+3) 255. which I have noted using the Green colour.255.0 (default_mask) 255. you just need to look at it in a different way ! The trick to understanding the pattern of the above table is to think of it in the following way: Each Class has its default subnet mask.224.255.0 (default+5) 255. we split the network into a different number of networks.0.255.255.0 (default+6) 255.255.255. This is not the case for the visitors to this site.128.people simply use a standard subnet mask without understanding what that does.0 (default+3) 255.0 (default+7) 255.0 (default+4) 255.0 (default_mask) 255.255. Numer of bits 0 (default mask) 1 2 3 4 5 6 Class A 255.255. when we borrowed 3 Bits in the Class C network.126.96.36.199 (default+5) 255.192 (default+2) 255.0 (default+4) 255.0 (default+7) 255.255.0 (default+5) 255.255.
so try to follow me as we go through it: . Now.partitioning the network into 8 smaller networks. Let's take a look at a detailed example (which we will break into three parts) so we can fully understand all the above. We will see how we get 8 networks from such a configuration and their ranges ! In this first part. The second part is slightly more complicated and I need you focused so you don't get mixed up! At first the diagram below seems quite complex. we can see clearly where the 8 Networks come from. that was the easy part. We are going to do an analysis using the Class C network and 3 Bits which we took from the Host ID. The rule applies to all types of Subnets. something that's essential for this type of work. Simply take the Subnet Bits and place them into the power of 2 and you get your Networks. The analysis will take place once we convert our decimal numbers to binary. no matter what Class they are.
we put the Subnet ID and Host ID portion together so we can get the last octec's decimal number. Once that's done. we deal with them one at a time. that's exactly what we are doing here for each subnet. We focus on the last octec which contains all the information we are after. where the first available host is 0 0001 (1 in Decimal). by simply counting or incrementing our binary value by one each time. On the right hand side I have also put the equivalent decimal number for each network. Next we take the Host ID portion. the Subnet ID and Host ID. Where X is the number of Bits we have in the Host ID field. If you're . which for our example is 5. We know we have 8 networks (or subnets) and. we get 2 to the power of 5 .2 = 30 Valid (usable) IP Addresess. When we apply this formula. So we start off with 000 and finish at 111. Note I've given a formula in the IP Classes page that allows you to calculate the available hosts.The IP Address and Subnet mask is show in Binary format. we get to see all the networks available. This formula is :2 to the power of X -2. and the last value which is 1 1111 (31 in decimal) is used as a Broadcast Address for each Subnet (see Broadcast page). Now. When we want to calculate the Subnets and Hosts. because the 0 0000 (0 in Decimal) value is reserved as it is the Network Address (see IP Classes page). the last octec has 2 parts.
This shouldn't be new news to anyone :) Summing up.wondering why we subtract 2. these are the ranges for each subnet in our new network: . it's because one is used for the Network Address of that subnet and the other for the Broadcast Address of that subnet.
We have analysed subnetting and understood how it works. try to read over it slowly.255. let me ask you the following: Do you think computers that are on the same physical network but configured to be on separate subnets are able to communicate ? The answer is "no". and these are two different networks.168.. in order to save space): .168.I hope the example didn't confuse you too much. so sit back and read through it comfortably. These things do need time to sink in Subnet Routing & Communications Introduction So we understand all (almost !) about subnetting. Experience shows you can never know everything 100% ! Routing and Communication between subnets is the main topic here. we split that one network to 8 smaller ones. we are going to try it on my home network ! In the worst case I'll have to spend all night trying to figure out what went wrong but it will be worth it ! :) Without complicating things. which is why I chose a Class C network. Why ? Simply because you must keep in mind that we are talking about the communication between 2 different networks ! Looking at our example of the Class C network on the previous page. along with a few other things I would like to bring to your attention. they are the easiest to work with.255. from the moment we modified the default subnet mask from 255. the fact is that one computer is part of the network 192..0 and the other one part of network 192. Let's try it ! And because we just have to prove it.0.. are going to be analysed here ! It's an easy and very interesting page.32. but haven't yet dealt with the "communication" side of things..255. here is a diagram of my home network (I've excluded any computers we are not going to be using.0 to 255. the above example is one of the simplest type. after reading all the previous pages about subnetting.224.0. If you did find it somewhat difficult. After a few times. These. In our example.255. Communication Between Subnets So. but there are few questions/topics which we haven't talked about as yet. you will get to understand it.
255.224 .168. that's the network we have to play with. my Slackware Linux Firewall to 192. I modified the Subnet mask of my workstation to 192. So in order to proceed to phase 2 of our experiment. I have put on the diagram the results of a few simple pings from each host and as you can see.0.35 / 255.1 / 255. they all came out nice: PASS.168.224 (internal Network Interface Card) and my NetWare 6 Server to 192.10 / 255.0.255.255.255.Well.255.0.255.224 as shown in the diagram below: .168.
Actually there are a few ways to achieve this and I'm going to show you a few ways. Considering that subnets are smaller networks. we have concluded that there cannot be any sort of communication between the computers of Network 1 and Network 2. So how can two hosts in two different subnets talk to each other ? That's what we are going to have a look at right now ! Building The Bridge There is a way to allow the communication between my workstation and my servers and the Internet. you would remember that we use routers to achieve communications between two networks.. We are not interested in the best solution at the moment. . This example of my home network is no exception to this rule.As you can see. because its Gateway is a host which belongs to another network. we just want to know the ways in which we can establish communication between the two subnets. something that we knew would never work. the results for my workstation were devastating . So. alone and totaly unaware that the other two servers are still there ! When my workstation tries to actually ping the Linux Firewall.. even though some might seem silly or impractical. it will get no reply.
By connecting each network card to one of our networks and configuring the network cards so that each one belongs to one subnet/network we can route packets between them: The above diagram shows pretty much everything that's needed.We need a router which will route packets from one network to the other. The 2nd network card has been installed and it's been assigned an IP Address that falls within our Network 1 range and therefore can communicate with my workstation . We use the same network card on the NetWare server and bind another IP Address to it. This second IP Address will obviously fall within the Network 1 IP range so that my workstation can communicate with the server: . Any packets from Network 1 to Network 2 or the Internet will pass through the NetWare server Method 2: Binding 2 IP Addresses to the same network card This method is possibly the best and easiest way around our problem. Let's have a look at the different ways we can solve this problem: Method 1: Using a Server with 2 Network Cards Our first option is to use one of the Servers. so my workstation is reconfigured to use it as its Gateway. On the other hand the NetWare server now acts as a Gateway for Network 1. or a new Server which has at least 2 network cards installed.
the only problem we might encounter is the need for the operating system of the server to support this type of configuration.. but given the size of my network. This might seem a bit far fetched but remember that we are looking at all possible ways to establish communications between our networks ! If this was a large network. then a router could possibly be the ideal solution.As noted on the diagram. Method 3: Installing a router The third method is to install a router in the network. the Server takes care of any routing between the two networks. Once configured.. well. but most modern operating systems would comply. let's just say it would be a silly idea :) .
if we would end up using such a configuration in real life. which is the router's interface and is connected to Network 1 and it will be able to see all other servers and access the Internet. The number of problems that can occur in a network are numerous and believe it or not. When I say "done properly" I don't just mean connecting the correct wires into the wall sockets ! Looking at it from an Administrator's point of view.. It's a similar setup to Method 1 but instead of a Server we have a dedicated router. Subnetting Guidelines Introduction There is always that day when you are called upon to provide a solution to a network problem. most of them can be avoided if the initial design and installation of the network are done properly. That completes our discussion on Subnet routing and communication. I'd say that a "properly done job" is one that has had a lot of thought put into it to avoid silly routing problems and solve today's and any future needs. Oh. would be replaced by some type of WAN link. the hub which both of the router's interface's connect to. .My workstation in this setup would forward all packets to its Gateway. and by the way.
answer the following questions: y How many subnets are needed today? Calculate the maximum number of subnets required by rounding up the maximum number to the nearest power of two.Plan for Growth When creating subnets for your network. For example. it might be wise to provide for more growth and select 2 to the power of 5 = 32 as the maximum number of subnets. I've seen some network setups which suffered from all the above. you must also plan for more hosts to be added to each subnet in the future. Guidelines . 2 to the power of 5 = 32 will not provide enough host address space. If the largest subnet needs to support 40 host addresses today. if 9 subnets are required today. For example. 2 to the power of 2 will not provide enough subnet addressing space. If you accommodate too many subnets. y What are the maximum number of hosts on a given segment? You must ensure that there are enough bits available to assign host addresses to the organization¶s largest subnet. and you choose to provide for 2 to the power of 4 = 16 subnets. class C addresses present the greatest challenge because fewer bits are available to divide between subnet addresses and host addresses. so you would need to round up to 2 to the power of 6 = 64. there may be no room for additional hosts and growth in the future. In this example.This page contains all the information you need to know in order to design a network that won't suffer from any of the above problems. y How many subnets are needed in the future? You must plan for future growth. so you must round up to 2 to the power of 3 = 8 subnets. . this might not be enough when the seventeenth subnet needs to be deployed. Make sure the organization¶s address allocation provides enough bits to deploy the required subnet addressing plan. if an organization needs five subnets. When developing subnets. and you would be amazed how frequently I see them at large companies. y How many hosts will there be in the future? Besides planning for additional subnets.
And if you do happen to have any problems.All the above points will help you succeed in creating a well designed network which will have the ability to cater for any additional future requirements. there is always the website's forum where you can post your questions and problems :) . well.
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