8 Steps to Understanding IP Subnetting

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Understanding IP subnetting is a fundamental requirement for almost any techie - whether you’re a coder, a database administrator or the CTO. However, as simple as the concepts are, there is a general difficulty in understanding the topic.

Here we’ll break this topic into eight simple steps and help you put the pieces together to fully understand IP subnetting.

These steps will give you the basic information needed in order to configure routers or understand how IP addresses are broken down and how subnetting works. You'll also learn how to plan a basic home or small office network.

A basic understanding of how binary and decimal numbers work is required. In addition, these definitions and terms will get you started:

  • IP Address: A logical numeric address that is assigned to every single computer, printer, switch, router or any other device that is part of a TCP/IP-based network
  • Subnet: A separate and identifiable portion of an organization's network, typically arranged on one floor, building or geographical location
  • Subnet Mask: A 32-bit number used to differentiate the network component of an IP address by dividing the IP address into a network address and host address
  • Network Interface Card (NIC): A computer hardware component that allows a computer to connect to a network

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Written by Dale Janssen
Profile Picture of Dale Janssen
Dale Janssen is a co-founder of Techopedia and has been involved in the IT Industry for most of his career. He purchased his first computer in 1978 - an Ohio Scientific computer with a whopping memory size of 48K, operating a relic of an operating system called CPM. In fact, his roots go so far back in the computing biz that when he graduated from university, there was no such thing as a computer science department.