One of the most crucial skill in networking is calculating network address and usable network space based on given IP address and prefix only. These actions are also known as reverse engineering and if you won’t get to know this “networking nursery” don’t dream about dealing with computer networks seriously. Applying binary system is cumbersome and very time consuming (especially if you are rookie) so maybe someone ingenious has invented something better ?
Let’s take IP address 10.10.115.0 /20
What can I conclude from given address and prefix ?
I could say that this address belongs to “Network A”, but since 1993 when resourceful people have invented Classless Addressing (CIDR) it doesn’t have any meaning in my calculation.
What is the most interesting for me, that prefix /20 belongs to 3rd octect. How did I figure it out ?
|0-7||8-15||16-23||24-32||number of used bits|
|/20||my subnet mask|
That’s mean that I will deal with 3rd octet only
So what I have to do in order to accomplish reverse engineering and breaking my network address down ?
Firstly, I have to find out what is /20 subnet mask in dotted decimal notation because I’m not going to use binary system at all. In order to do that I’ll use below table.
Because my network subnet uses 4 bits in 3rd octet, it looks in that way
|1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||number of using bits|
|/20||3rd octet of my network subnet|
So my full subnet mask looks in that way
Secondly I have to calculate something what is called MAGIC NUMBER which I will use later in further calculations. In order to do that I have to subtract the subnet mask of my 3rd octet from 256.
MAGIC NUMBER is 16
Let’s find out which network our IP address 10.10.115.0 belongs to. In order to do that I’m dividing 3rd octet by Magic Number (16) 115:16=7,18
Now I am rejecting everything after a comma (,18) so I’m getting 7. I’m multiplying 7 by Magic Number, and result I am putting into 3rd octet 7*16=112 and finally I got my network address
Since I’ve got network address I can define first usable network address ( It may be our Gateway) and network broadcast address (utilizes by Address Resolution Protocol for example)
10.10.113.0 first usable network address
10.10.127.0 broadcast address
10.10.128.0 network address of the next subnet (112+16(magic number)
Quantity of usable addresses I count from formula :
2n-2 / n = 32 bits – prefix
212-2 = 4096 – 2 = 4094
I have to subtract 2 addresses : network address and brodcast address because they can’t be used for hosts addressing.
Maximum quantity of usable subnets (Point-to-Point links for 2 hosts in each network) I count from formula :
2(n-2) / n = 32 bits – prefix
2(12-2) = 210 = 1024
That’s mean, if I’m going to create only 1 network I may have 4094 hosts, but if I’m going to have maximum quantity of networks I can divide our network space for 1024 subnets.