Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm writing a Ruby support library for IP network management, and I'm having trouble coming up with a commonly used construct, namely an IP address with prefix, where the distinction between host and network is implicit: if the prefix only masks bits in the address, then it's a network address.

Is there a generic term for an IP host or network address with prefix? The standards don't need to give it a name, because it's not a primitive construct. If I used standards terminology, I'd have to call it an address with prefix.

I'm fine with calling this an IP host:

And I'm fine with calling this an IP network:

But what's a decent name for both of these?

As it stands, I'm thinking of calling it an IP spec. Then my library will implement IP::Address and IP::Network as specializations of IP::Spec.

share|improve this question
What about just IP::Networks (with the 's')? You're looking for something to describe multiple networks, right? – Demelziraptor Nov 8 '11 at 9:13
What do you mean by both? The first is a network address and the second is a host address. – Iain Nov 8 '11 at 9:21
@Iain I'm looking for one descriptive name for both, even though they are two different things, as you said. For example, elephants and lions, different though they may be, are animals. – sheldonh Nov 8 '11 at 11:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

How about IP or Network 'Schema'?

share|improve this answer
Ding! Thank you, Schema is perfect for me. – sheldonh Nov 8 '11 at 13:51

How about CIDR notation, CIDRspec? or IP::Cidr

share|improve this answer
Interesting. If nothing else comes along, I might actually go there. I don't like the fact that it refers to the format of the textual representation of the thing, rather than the thing itself. But it's worth a think. – sheldonh Nov 8 '11 at 11:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.