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What is the procedure for assigning network addresses?

Learn how to assign network addresses, and understand the difference between assigning IP addresses and assigning network addresses in this response.

What is the difference between "assigning IP addresses" and "assigning network addresses" procedures? I know the procedure of assigning IP addresses, please tell me the procedure of network addressing?

An IP address refers to one unique address which is usually assigned to a host (workstation, server, router, switch etc). A network address refers to a range of IP addresses.

For example, is considered an IP address, while is considered a network address. Both IP and network addresses are accompanied by their subnet mask, which is used to define how large or small the network is.

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Assigning an IP address (e.g., is a simple as selecting one which is not used within the given network addresses. Assigning a network address (e.g., requires you to understand your current and future needs, so you can use the appropriate network numbering scheme, but also select the best suitable subnet mask.

Being more practical, if you have let's say 155 hosts on your network, you'll surely require a full Class C network address space which provides up to 254 usable IP addresses. This of course moves us into the subnet topic where you can find more information by visiting SearchNetworking.com's IP addressing and subnetting fundamentals guide and my websites' Introduction to subnetting article.


This was last published in November 2007

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