IP Subnetting and Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSMs)
The following table shows the first four subnets and their valid hosts and broadcast addresses in the Class A 255.255.255.192 mask:
The following table shows the last four subnets and their valid hosts and broadcast addresses:
Subnetting in Your Head: Class A Addresses
This sounds hard, but as with Class C and Class B, the numbers are the same; we just start in the second octet. What makes this easy? You only need to worry about the octet that has the largest block size (typically called the interesting octet; one that is something other than 0 or 255)—for example, 255.255.240.0 (/20) with a Class A network. The second octet has a block size of 1, so any number listed in that octet is a subnet. The third octet is a 240 mask, which means we have a block size of 16 in the third octet. If your host ID is 10.20.80.30, what is your subnet, broadcast address, and valid host range?
The subnet in the second octet is 20, but the third octet is in block sizes of 16, so we’ll just count them out: 0, 16, 32, 48, 64, 80, 96... bingo! (By the way, you can count by sixteens by now, right?) This makes our subnet 10.20.80.0, with a broadcast of 10.20.95.255 because the next subnet is 10.20.96.0. The valid host range is 10.20.80.1 through 10.20.95.254. Yes, you can do this in your head if you just know your block sizes!
Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSMs)
You could easily devote an entire chapter to Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSMs), but instead I’m going to show you a simple way to take one network and create many networks using subnet masks of different lengths on different types of network designs. This is called VLSM networking, and does bring up another subject I mentioned at the beginning of this chap- ter: classful and classless networking.