A subnet mask: what is it?

December 23, 2022
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Your IP address may first appear to be a collection of random digits. But this combination has a secret logic, and anyone can figure it out without needing to be an expert in technology.

If you’re wondering what a subnet mask is and where to find one, you’ve come to the correct spot.

Describe a subnet.

There are millions such networks across the world, and they all differ in size. However, the larger a network grows, the harder it is to administer and maintain. Subnets are the smaller sections of a network that are separated into them. Small networks are called subnets.

Subnetting has several advantages:

  • less work to maintain;
  • advanced network security to prevent access to one subnet from the other;
  • network traffic reduction
  • If your network is subnetted, you won’t need to buy more IP addresses from ISPs (internet service providers).

However, subnetting generally requires additional gear like as routers, therefore it also comes with a cost.

Explaining subnet mask

Subnet mask explained


An IP address is made up of a network component and a host component, much like every address is defined by a street name and a house number. Take as an illustration. The network is represented by the first three octets (192.168.123. ), and a computer on your network is identified by the final octet.

Although IP addresses are made up of 32 binary bits (4 x 8), we utilize a dot decimal format since they are lengthy and complicated. = 11000000.10101000.01111011.10000100

The network part of an IP address is reflected in the subnet mask. It may appear something like this: = 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000

Combining them results in:

Network address:; IP address: 11000000.10101000.01111011.00000000; 000000000.00000000.00000000.10000100 (host address:

Your network address is, and the target address is (a device in your subnet). However, if you’re connected to a different server when utilizing a VPN, your IP address will change.

What are the various IP address classes?

There are three classifications of IP addresses: A, B, and C. There are other classes D and E, but end users do not utilize them. By examining the first byte of an IP address, you may determine the class, as each has a unique default subnet mask.

An IP address class A
Class A networks have 0-127 as their first octet and utilize a subnet mask of It permits 126 networks with about 17 million hosts each.

An IP address class B
Class B contains 128-191 as its first octet and uses a subnet mask of Large and medium networks utilize it. About 16,000 networks and 65,000 hosts per network are permitted under Class B.

IP address class C
Local area networks (LAN) employ Class C, which permits 2 million networks with a maximum of 254 hosts. Class C contains 192-223 as its first octet and uses a subnet mask of

An IP address class D
Multicasting is only permitted in Class D. (transmitting streaming media and other data for multiple users). It has a range of 224 to 239 and no subnet mask because multicasting is not intended for a specific host.

An IP address class E
Class E doesn’t have a subnet mask and has a range of 240 to 255. It is employed for research and experimentation.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the classful IP addressing is old. The distribution of IP addresses is substantially more effective when done via classless inter-domain routing, or CIDR.

Classless interdomain routing: What is it?

In order to do away with the classful network structure and considerably enhance the process of allocating various IP addresses, classless inter-domain routing, or CIDR, was established in 1993. Additionally, it attempted to ease the strain on routing tables.

A router or other network host may contain a routing table. It is simply a list of guidelines and designations that specify the path a data packet must follow across a network to get to its destination. Naturally, routing tables had to expand as IPv4 addresses grew out of control.

Over twenty years after it was designed as a temporary solution to slow the fast expiration of IPv4 addresses, CIDR is still in use.

Variable-length subnet masking, or VLSM, is the foundation of CIDR. A certain suffix can be added to the IP address in place of a mask to indicate which network a given IP address belongs to. The variable number of bits are present in this suffix. This reduction in display length enables CIDR to define ever more detailed and extensive network divisions.

Here is an illustration of a CIDR IP address:

An IP address prefix serves as the prefix. The suffix (12) reveals the total number of bits in the address.

The capacity to build supernets is CIDR’s most significant feature. To do this, CIDR blocks, sets of IP addresses with similar bits, and network prefixes are combined. An enterprise can save address space while easing the load on routing devices by setting up a supernet.

The efficient network architecture quickly exhausts IPv4 addresses. Prior to the introduction of IPv6 addresses, which would take far longer to exhaust, CIDR reduced the use of IPv4 addresses.

How is the subnet mask located?

Mac OS
Select Network from System Preferences.
To advance, select your network and then click.
Your IP address and subnet mask may be found by selecting the TCP/IP tab.

Using Windows
Select Network and Sharing Center under Control Panel.
Click Details after clicking your network’s name.
Along with other network information, the subnet mask is present.

On iOS
Select Wi-Fi under Settings.
Click the I symbol after locating the network you’re linked to.
Along with other network information, the subnet mask is present.

Using Android
Access Wi-Fi by going to Settings > Wireless & Networks.
To connect to a network, tap on it.
Along with other network information, the subnet mask is present.

What is a subnet mask calculator?

A subnet mask, network addresses, an IP class, suitable host ranges, and other details are provided by subnet calculators to users. Websites and apps of various kinds can help you manage your network and assign IP addresses to certain teams.

  • Start and end addresses are provided by a subnet range calculator;
  • You can convert IP addresses from IPv4 to IPv6 using an IPv4 to IPv6 converter;
  • Users can access accessible subnets and subnet masks using network mask calculators;
  • You may input a subnet range and get IP address information for that range using an IPv4 CIDR calculator.

Why should my IP address be concealed?

It’s hazardous to have your IP address made available to the whole public. It’s comparable like zipping around the city in a Ferrari that has your address on the hood.

Your security and privacy are improved by FreeZone VPN since it conceals your IP address and encrypts traffic. With this simple-to-use software, you can protect up to 6 devices. With a VPN switched on, your traffic is diverted through an encrypted tunnel, which is your safe harbor.

  • Avoiding ISP detection of your online activity. Depending on your online behavior, your provider could decide to limit your connection. If they can’t see what you’re doing, they can’t decide to throttle you.
  • To obfuscate your residence. Your IP address can be used by certain hackers with adequate technological know-how to pinpoint where you are physically.
  • Keeping safe when using public WiFi. Public Wi-security Fi’s has a reputation for being spotty. Before joining to the network, you can exclude yourself from the list of other prospective victims by masking your IP address.

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s always ideal to keep ahead of the curve. You’ll stay one step ahead of any hackers or snoopers if you take a proactive approach to your internet security.