Classes of IP addresses

Classes of IP addresses :

IP addresses are categorized into five classes: Class A, B, C, D, and E. Each class has its own set of valid IP addresses. The class of an IP address is determined by its first number.

The first three classes (A, B, and C) are used for devices on the network, like computers and smartphones. The other two classes (D and E) have different purposes. Class D is used for multicast, which means sending data to multiple devices at once. Class E is for experimental use and is not used for regular network connections.

These IP address classes were created to help assign addresses on the Internet based on the size of the network. For example, Class A was designed for networks with a lot of devices but only a few networks. On the other hand, Class C was made for networks with a small number of devices but many networks.

Classes of IP addresses are:


IP Address Class First Octet Range Network Part Host Part Purpose
Class A to First 8 bits Last 24 bits Large Networks
Class B to First 16 bits Last 16 bits Medium Networks
Class C to First 24 bits Last 8 bits Small Networks
Class D to N/A N/A Multicast Addresses
Class E to N/A N/A Experimental Use

Note: Class D is reserved for multicast addresses, and Class E is reserved for experimental purposes and is not used for regular network addressing.

IP addresses are classified into three main types: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each type has a specific way of dividing the address to determine the network and host parts.

For Class A IP addresses, the first 8 bits (the first number) represent the network, and the remaining 24 bits represent the devices on that network. In Class B, the first 16 bits (the first two numbers) indicate the network and the following 16 bits are for the devices. In Class C, the first 24 bits represent the network, while the last 8 bits are used for the devices.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

  1. The IP address belongs to Class A. Here, the first number (10) is the network part, and the rest (50.120.7) is for the devices. Devices with the same first number (10) are on the same network. For instance, is on the same network because it also starts with 10. However, is not on the same network as the first number is different (11).
  2. The IP address falls under Class B. The first two numbers (172.16) indicate the network, and the rest (55.13) represent the devices. Devices with IP addresses like are on the same network because they have the same first two numbers (172.16). However, a device with an IP address like is not on the same network, as the first two numbers (172.55) are different from the first two numbers of the Class B address (172.16).

There are some special IP address ranges used for specific purposes:

  1. to These addresses are used to communicate within the local network.
  2. to These are loopback addresses, used by the device to communicate with itself.
  3. to These are link-local addresses, also known as APIPA (Automatic Private IP Addressing). They are assigned to devices when no other valid IP address is available, allowing them to communicate with each other on the same network.


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VMware Mastery

Hi, I've been working with Windows, VMware and Cloud technologies for more than 12 years. I love delving into the exciting realm of technology and enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. I write about IT and Technology, covering both technical and non-technical topics.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Aneesh

    Such a great article about different types of IP addresses. Thanks for writing this

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