How Many Hosts in the Network?

How Many Hosts in the Network?

To develop an addressing scheme for a network, start with determining the total number of hosts. Consider every device that will require an IP address, now and in the future.

The end devices requiring an IP address include:
User computers
Administrator computers
Other end devices such as printers, IP phones, and IP cameras

Network devices requiring an IP address include:
Router LAN interfaces
Router WAN (serial) interfaces

Network devices requiring an IP address for management include:
Wireless Access Points

There may be other devices on a network requiring an IP address. Add them to this list and estimate how many addresses will be needed to account for growth in the network as more devices are added.

Once the total number of hosts - current and future - has been determined, consider the range of addresses available and where they fit within the given network address.

Next, determine if all hosts will be part of the same network, or whether the network as a whole will be divided into separate subnets.

Recall that the number of hosts on one network or subnet is calculated using the formula 2 to the nth power minus (2^n - 2), where n is the number of bits available as host bits. Recall also that we subtract two addresses - the network address and the network broadcast address - cannot be assigned to hosts.

There are many reasons to divide a network into subnets:
Manage Broadcast Traffic - Broadcasts can be controlled because one large broadcast domain is divided into a number of smaller domains. Not every host in the system receives every broadcast.
Different Network Requirements - If different groups of users require specific network or computing facilities, it is easier to manage these requirements if those users who share requirements are all together on one subnet.
Security - Different levels of network security can be implemented based on network addresses. This enables the management of access to different network and data services.

Counting the Subnets

Each subnet, as a physical network segment, requires a router interface as the gateway for that subnet.

In addition, each connection between routers is a separate subnet.

Subnet Masks

Having determined the required number of hosts and subnets, the next step is to apply one subnet mask for the entire network and then calculate the following values:
A unique subnet and subnet mask for each physical segment
A range of usable host addresses for each subnet

How Many Hosts in the Network?
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