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How does Subnetting Work?

In a same block of IPv4 addresses, can there be same IPs with different submasks? For example, can I have this:

All the 3 addresses above have the same numbers but different subnet mask. Are all the 3 addresses distinct of their own? In other words, belongs to User A, belongs to User B and belongs to User C?

After applying the submask, their network addresses look like this: --> --> -->

If the addresses are recognised uniquely, how is it so? How would each of the these addresses being recognised to be unique?

I am thinking like once I have, I can't reuse the same numbers of again but since classless is meant to increase the number of IP addresses, it would do much if I can't reuse.

marked as duplicate by Chris S, mailq, Ward, user9517, Scott Pack Nov 29 '11 at 17:48

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There are numerous reasons, but the simplest is that this will break any routing, because a host will have no way of knowing that they're going to an address on a different network.

So, basically, no. An IP address needs to be unique, regardless of subnet.

In other words, if I'm on

And I try to access, then it's going to assume it's on the same subnet.

On a fundamental level, subnets are there to separate broadcast domains and improve efficiency. They're not for sharing IP addresses.


As an answer to your question above, the answer is: No you can't... It is the address itself that must be unique.

The IP(v4) address in each of the three examples would be: (regardless of subnet mask)

The subnet mask can be thought of as: "what defines the limits of my LOCAL network" In order to reach any IP outside of this range, the computer would need to contact the "gateway" to pass the IP-packet to an external route.

So, for example just means that IPs -> are accessible just means that IPs -> are accessible just means that IPs -> are accessible

Wikipedia has a reasonable link here

  • Or in other words: Which other hosts are in my IP group (subnet)? – mailq Nov 29 '11 at 1:25

The way I look at it is , your subnet specifications are like a venn diagram. The bigger subnets incompass the smaller subnets. So one IP could exist in all three subnets. So they do have be unique if they are all on the same machine and Vlan etc.

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