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How does a subnet mask work?

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A mask used to determine what subnet an IP address belongs to. An IP address has two components, the network address and the host address. For example, consider the IP address 150.215.017.009. Assuming this is part of a Class B network, the first two numbers (150.215) represent the Class B network address, and the second two numbers (017.009) identify a particular host on this network. Subnetting enables the network administrator to further divide the host part of the address into two or more subnets. In this case, a part of the host address is reserved to identify the particular subnet. This is easier to see if we show the IP address in binary format. The full address is: 10010110.11010111.00010001.00001001 The Class B network part is: 10010110.11010111 and the host address is 00010001.00001001 If this network is divided into 14 subnets, however, then the first 4 bits of the host address (0001) are reserved for identifying the subnet. The subnet mask is the network address plus the ... more
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