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For example, 192.168.0.1 is considered an IP address, while 192.168.0.0 is considered a network address.
In the early stages of development of the Internet Protocol, the network number was always the highest order octet (most significant eight bits).
Because this method allowed for only 256 networks, it soon proved inadequate as additional networks developed that were independent of the existing networks already designated by a network number.
In 1981, the addressing specification was revised with the introduction of classful network architecture.
Classful network design allowed for a larger number of individual network assignments and fine-grained subnetwork design.
The gap in version sequence between IPv4 and IPv6 resulted from the assignment of version 5 to the experimental Internet Stream Protocol in 1979, which however was never referred to as IPv5.
IP networks may be divided into subnetworks in both IPv4 and IPv6.IPv4 addresses have been distributed by IANA to the RIRs in blocks of approximately 16.8 million addresses each.Each ISP or private network administrator assigns an IP address to each device connected to its network.The first three bits of the most significant octet of an IP address were defined as the class of the address.Three classes (A, B, and C) were defined for universal unicast addressing.Continue Reading Learn how to understand the difference between bit rate and baud rate in this expert answer. The IP address space is managed globally by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and by five regional Internet registries (RIRs) responsible in their designated territories for assignment to end users and local Internet registries, such as Internet service providers.Assigning an IP address (e.g., 192.168.0.1) is a simple as selecting one which is not used within the given network addresses.Assigning a network address (e.g., 192.168.0.0/24) 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 Search Networking.com's IP addressing and subnetting fundamentals guide and my websites' Introduction to subnetting article.