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Internet Protocol (IP) address are 32 bits in length and categized into five classes in order to divide the address space in the IPv4 addressing scheme. The class of the address can be determined by the value of the first eight bits of the address which is also called octet. The class of the address determines the number of hosts that can be on a network. The names of each class are based on letters A, B, C, D and E. While there are five classes there is mainly three being used which is A, B and C. Class D class is used for multicasting and E is reserved for testing purposes.
|Class||Address Range||Number of Networks||Hosts||Length of Nework ID|
Network ID (Network Address) is the network that an end deceive is currently connected to. Host ID (Host Address) is a device on a network indicated by Network ID
In a class A address the first octet is used to indicate the network ID address while the other three octets are used to indicate the host ID. Class A addresses are used in very large networks therefore the number of hosts that can be in a class A address is 16,777,214. The total number of networks that can exist is 126. Currently there are 40 class A networks in use ranging in UK Ministry of Defense to IBM. The starting bit in a class A address is 0 and a network prefix of /8.
In a class B address the first two octets is used to represent the network ID and the other two to indicate the host ID. Class B is used for medium sized network such as large corporations and colleges. The number of hosts that can be on a class B address is 65,534 therefore providing a substantial amount of addresses. Class B address is the range from 128 to 191 which therefore if the first octet of the IP falls within that range that IP address is a class B address. The starting bits of a class B address is 10 which has a value of 128 and a prefix of /16.
Commonly used in small network such as Local Area Network (LAN) class C address uses the first three octets for the Network ID and the remaining one for the Host ID. This allows class C to have over 2 million networks but at a cost of having only 254 hosts this is the most common used class. The problem with class C address is that it has a very number of hosts. The starting bit of a class A address is 110 and a value of 192 with a prefix of /24.
Class D addresses ranges in 224 – 239 and is a reserved address used for multicasting on a network. Standard network IP communication is when one host sends a packet to another host (unicast transmission) to send packets to all hosts on a network is called (broadcast transmission). Multicast gives the functionality of sending packets to a specific group of hosts on the network. The difference being between multicast and broadcast is that broadcast is sent to every device on the network where multicast is sent to a specific group. Multicast address is mainly used in network research these addresses should not be used on the internet.
Class E addresses are used for experimental uses and is a reserved for testing purposes. Class E addresses range from 240 to 254 and cannot be used on IP networks and any device that is assigned a class E address it will not be able to communicate with other devices on the internet.