Here, we aim to explain what is IP address. Its subdivisions, that is IP address class.
What is an IP address?
IP stands for Internet protocol. It is the unique combination of numbers that are attached to a device to locate it in the computer network. The Internet Protocol (IP) address is used as a medium of communication within the network of devices and the internet. The IP address numerical string consists of a network ID and a Host ID. according to NordVPN glossary, “The portion of an IP address that identifies which TCP/IP network the host resides on. For example, if an IP address is 22.214.171.124., then the network ID is 192.158. The second half of the address (in this case, 1.38.) identifies the host.”
It serves the purposes of:
- Identification of network interface,
- Location addressing,
- Send and receive information from devices within the computer network.
How does IP address help us?
There are around 4.3 billion ipv4 addresses. Managing all those addresses without any scheme is a difficult task. Let us understand this with a simple example if you are required to search for a specific word from an Oxford English Dictionary, how long will you take? Usually, it must take more or less five minutes to look for the word. An individual can do this because the words in the Dictionary are organized in alphabetical order. If someone was asked to search for the exact word from a dictionary that does not follow any alphabetical order or sequence – this might take days or possibly a week to look for a word in such a dictionary. If an organized dictionary that contains a billion words takes approximately five minutes to complete the task of searching for a word. Then imagine how severely complicated it would have been to search from a 4.3 billion IP address if it had been organized. Hence, for easier management and assignment, IP addresses are organized in numerical order. They follow five IP address classes.
IP address class:
Classes Starting Address Ending Address
- Class A 0.0.0 127.255.255.255
- Class B 0.0.0 126.96.36.199
- Class C 0.0.0 188.8.131.52
- Class D 0.0.0 184.108.40.206
- Class E 0.0.0 255.255.255.255
Each class has a range of valid IP addresses. The value of the first octette determines the class, such as, referring to the above-mentioned table: 0 to 127 determines the value of the IP address class A range, 128 to 191 is the value of the IP address class B range, 192 to 223 determines the IP address class C range, 224 to 239 determines the IP address class D range and the last, 240 to 255 determines the IP address class E range.
The first three IP address classes could be used for the host addresses, whereas the other two IP address classes are used for other purposes.
IP address class D is generally used for multicast and IP address class E is used for experimental purposes.
How did the IP address class come into being?
As we are already aware, IP addresses are the combination of a Network ID and Host ID. the classes were created based on the network size.
- In IP address class A, the first 8 bits are completely reserved for network addresses that serve the purpose of a subnet mask of 8 or 255.0.0.0.
- In IP address class B, the first 16 bits are respectively reserved for network addresses that deliver the subnet mask of 16 or 255.255.0.0.
- In IP address class C, the first 24 bits are kept for the network address which gives out the subnet mask of 24 or 255.255.255.0, and respectively so on.
For example, for the first small number of networks with a greater number of hosts the IP address class A was created. Whereas, the IP address class C was created with numerous networks with a lesser number of hosts.
Hope the basics of IP address classes were defined justly to your understanding. We would like to conclude here with this particular section, but stay tuned for informative pieces on various other similar topics.