Subnet Mask

What is a Subnet Mask?

7 Mins Read

Note: Before we dive into what a subnet mask is and how it works, know that the subject can be technical and involve jargon that is hard to digest.

What is a Subnet?

Millions of networks operate on the web, and each network varies in size. The more extensive a network is, the more difficult it is to administer and ensure that it operates smoothly. The smaller a network, the easier it is to manage and maintain the network.

A network that is small, meaning it is separated into smaller pieces, those individual pieces are known as subnets. In other words, a subnet is a name given to a small network.

Subnet Mask

Why subnet a network?

Subnetting has several advantages, such as:

  • The entire network is relatively easier to manage and maintain.
  • You have control over your network.
  • You can employ the latest network security to the subnet.
  • The overall network traffic on the subnet is relatively low, meaning reduced network congestion.
  • A smaller network has improved network performance and speed.
  • By subnetting a network, you no longer require extra IP addresses from ISPs.

Although the benefits of subnetting a network are remarkable, a subnet tends to require additional hardware. This is because you’re essentially dividing the network into several pieces, and you’ll need extra resources such as routers, which will increase the cost of the entire process.

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What is a Subnet Mask?

A subnet mask is a number that outlines a range of IP addresses that are available within a given network. An IP address consists of 32 binary bit numbers (4×8). That’s a long number that can get complex for many. Hence, a dot-decimal system is used to easily understand and make use of IP addresses.

An IP address is divided into two addresses – a network address and a host address. If you’re wondering what your IP is, head over to the page.

A single subnet mask bounds the number of acceptable IPs for a specific network. Several subnet masks can organize a single network into smaller networks (called subnetworks or subnets).

A subnet mask is similar to an IP address, but it’s used for internal network communication. Devices within the same subnet can conveniently communicate directly with each other, while devices on different subnets will need to communicate with the help of a router.

Here’s an example of a subnet mask:

192.168.146.123 = 11000000.10101000.01111011.10000100

The subnet mask indicates the network share of the IP address. This means the subnet mask could look something like this:

255.255.255.0 = 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000

The information above can be technical, but you’re probably a technical person, which is why you’re here. Keep in mind that the IP address will change if you’re using a VPN service. To better understand the answer to the question what is a VPN? head over to the page.

Classes of IP Addresses

An Internet Protocol address is divided into three classes:

Class A, Class B, and Class C. Although two other classes exist (Class D and Class E), they are not utilized by internet users. Classes (A, B & C) each have their own default subnet mask.

Class A IP address

Class A networks use a subnet mask of 255.0.0.0 and have 0-127 as their first octet. It enables 126 networks and nearly 17 million hosts per network.

Class B IP address

Class B uses a subnet mask of 255.255.0.0 and has 128-191 as its first octet. This class is utilized by medium and large networks and allows 16,000 networks and 65,000 hosts per network.

Class C IP address

Class C is used for local area networks (LAN) and allows 2 million networks with 254 hosts each. Class C uses a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 and has 192-223 as its first octet.

How to Find the Subnet Mask

Finding a subnet mask is a straightforward process. Here’s how to find a subnet mask on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices:

How to find a subnet mask on macOS

  • Go to System Preferences > Network
  • Select your network and click Advanced
  • Click the TCP/IP tab, and you will see your IP address and the subnet mask

How to find a subnet mask on Windows

  • Go to Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center
  • Click your network name > click Details
  • You will see the subnet mask in the details.

How to find a subnet mask on iOS

  • Go to Settings > Wi-Fi
  • Find the network you’re connected to and click the “i” icon
  • You will find the subnet mask along with other network details

How to find a subnet mask on Android

  • Go to Settings > Network & internet > WiFi
  • Select the network you’re currently connected to
  • Select Advanced and scroll down to the Network Details
  • You will find the subnet mask along with other network details

How do I find the subnet mask of an IP address?

The subnet mask of an IP address is a sequence of numbers that determines which part of the IP address is the network ID and which part is the host ID. The network ID is used to identify the network that the device is connected to, while the host ID is used to identify the specific device on that network.

To find the subnet mask of an IP address, you need to know the network ID and the host ID. The network ID is usually represented by a series of zeros, while the host ID is usually represented by a series of ones. For example, if the IP address is 192.168.0.1, the subnet mask would be 255.255.0.0.

Once you know the network ID and the host ID, you can use a subnet mask calculator to determine the subnet mask. There are many online calculators that can be used for this purpose. Simply enter the IP address and the calculator will return the subnet mask.

What is a Subnet Mask Calculator?

A subnet calculator enables internet users to access a range of information such as a subnet mask, the network addresses associated, the IP class, host ranges that can be utilized, and so much more. Here’s on overview:

  • You get the start and end addresses
  • You know which subnets and subnet masks are available

Similarly, an IPv4 to IPv6 converter exists that enables you to convert an IP address from IPv4 to IPv6.

Top Benefits of Subnetting

Subnetting provides easy management of millions of networks on the Internet, including transmission of data packets, subnets, and routers. It enhances your network performance and guarantees its security. Below are a few benefits of subnetting:

Efficient Network Management

Subnets are easier to control and troubleshoot. For example, if a hacker attacks one subnet, other subnets will not be affected and stay protected. Also, you can easily detect the infected devices on that subnet through IP addresses. 

Improved Network Performance

Subnetting reduces network congestion by breaking down an extensive network into smaller segments. It can improve data transmission speed by reducing latency.

Enhanced Security

Devices in the same subnet can effortlessly communicate with each other while restricting access from devices in different subnets. It avoids security breaches and limits their impact.

Scalability

Subnetting makes it simpler to scale a community as it grows. New subnets may be brought as wanted without disrupting the existing community infrastructure.

Traffic Isolation

Subnetting can help isolate traffic into unique segments in a network, especially complex ones where different types of data, including voice, video, or graphs, need to be managed separately.

Improved Network Organization

Subnetting makes network enterprise and documentation more organized. Each subnet may be associated with a selected department, place, or reason, making it less complicated to understand and control the network format.

IP Address Management (IPAM)

Subnetting helps more effective IP management with control, making it easier to track and assign addresses and lowering conflicts and mistakes.

Why is the Internet Protocol (IP) the Backbone of the Internet?

Have you ever wondered how devices on the Internet communicate with each other? When you send a message to your friends via phone, how does your device know the address? 

For that, a set of rules is designed called Internet Protocol (IP), and each device on the Internet has a unique logical address called IP address. 

It enables devices to find each other and send data back and forth, whether it’s a laptop, phone, or any other gadget which means if you don’t have an IP address you cannot communicate on the Internet.

What Does IP Mask Mean? 

IP mask is an abbreviated form of IP address and Subnet Mask. To understand it in a better way, here are some examples of IP masks:

  • 192.168.10.1 /8
  • 10.0.0.1 /24

192.168.10.1 is the IP address, and 8 is a short form 255.255.255.0, representing 8 host bits from the total 32 bits available in the subnet mask. Remember, you cannot mask IP addresses. You only mask subnets.

How to Find IP Mask on Router

You can find the IP Mask on your router through your computer and laptop with the below steps:

  1. Go to the Command Prompt on your device.
  2. Type “ipconfig” and press Enter.
  3. You can find the IP address and subnet mask in the details.

How to Find IP Mask on a Phone 

You can find the IP mask on the phone with the below steps:

IP Mask for Android Phone

  1. Go to Settings on your Android Phone.
  2. Select the Network and Internet option available.
  3. Click on the Internet or, in some versions, on WiFi
  4. Navigate the network you’re connected to and click on it. 
  5. Scroll down, and you’ll find the IP address and subnet mask of your Internet.

IP Mask for iOS Phone

  1. Open your iOS Phone Settings.
  2. Navigate WiFi Settings.
  3. Select the WiFi you are connected to.
  4. You can get your IP address and Subnet Mask in the details.

How to Find IP Mask on Linux 

Here are the steps to find an IP Mask on Linux:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+T and open Terminal Window.
  2. Type “ifconfig.”

You can find your IP address beside Inet and Subnet mask besides netmask. For Wireless networks, refer to wlo, one, and for Ethernet, it is eth0.

Why Should You Hide Your IP Address?

Think of an IP address as your cell phone number. Having your IP address out in the open is like exposing yourself to cybercriminals. You don’t want your cell phone number to be publicly available as you’d start receiving calls and messages from unknown people.

Here are more reasons why you should hide your IP address:

  • Total anonymity when accessing geographically restricted content
  • Masks your online activities from prying eyes and your ISP
  • Ability to stay off the radar and far away from cybercriminals
  • Steer clear from third-party trackers and government surveillance
  • Online privacy and security when connecting to unsecured private and public WiFi

PureVPN’s plans come packed with exciting privacy features that mask your real IP address and encrypt your online traffic with state-of-the-art AES 256-bit encryption. The user-friendly app is compatible with nearly all devices, and you can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.

author

PureVPN

date

July 8, 2024

time

2 weeks ago

PureVPN is a leading VPN service provider that excels in providing easy solutions for online privacy and security. With 6000+ servers in 65+ countries, It helps consumers and businesses in keeping their online identity secured.

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