subnet mask

I am learning network +
I saw many tutorials about subnet mask

I am not looking for another tutorial

Please answer 3 questions:
what is subnet mask hiding
whom are they hiding from

how does subnet unmask (un hide)
Who is Participating?
Muhammad MullaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
- The subnet mask isn't hiding anything.

It is called a mask because it is used to identify the network address of the IP. i.e. it doesn't need to know the bits that represent the host. A bitwise AND operation is used to carry out this function.
arnoldConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Is this a school assignment question?

A mask identifies a subnet, depending on the setup, communication within the subnet, systems with IPs on the same subnet communicate directly, communications with IPs outside the subnet are done through an external processor, router.
Muhammad MullaCommented:
That was my first reaction, arnold.
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To word what Arnold has said a little differently:

A subnet mask basically tells an IP what other IP's it can talk to without interference. It "hides" other IP's that are not within the range of the mask from IP's that are in within that range.  This "hiding" can be altered externally with "route" rules on an external device like a router.
The subnet mask isn't hiding anything. What it does is that is helps you identify a subnet that an IP address falls in.

For the example I'm going to show, I'm going to use the following:
IP address:
Subnet mask:

In order to identify a network ID, you have to convert both the IP address and the subnet mask to binary.
IP address: 11000000.10101000.00010000.11100110
Subnet mask: 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000

Next step is to do a XOR (exclusive OR) operation. To do XOR, you have to go one bit (binary digit at a time). Think of it like an addition problem, except that you never have to carry digits.

When you do XOR, the following applies:
1 XOR 1 = 1
1 XOR 0 = 0
0 XOR 1 = 0
0 XOR 0 = 0

When you have done that. you will get the following result:

Final step is to convert the binary solution back to decimal numbers:

What this tells us is that the IP falls in subnet

A subnet mask also tells how many hosts are in a subnet. So remember when I showed the subnet mask in binary earlier:

Notice that it is has 24 ones. A better way to look at it is the fact it has 8 zeros. You would take 2 to the 8th power (2^8), and your answer would be 256. But remember that in any subnet, 2 IP addresses aren't usable, so subtract those out. You're left with 254, which is the number of hosts in the subnet. You can do host calculations WITHOUT having to pay attention to the IP address at all, only the subnet mask.
CompProbSolvConnect With a Mentor Commented:
No general disagreement with what has been posted except for the last one about XOR.  Replace "XOR" with "And" and it will generally be correct.  The truth table for XOR is:
1 XOR 1 = 0
1 XOR 0 = 1
0 XOR 1 = 1
0 XOR 0 = 0
It "hides" bits that don't identify the network. It's "hiding" the bits from some networking APIs running in the system.

But "hide" isn't the right word. Why do you think it "hides" anything?

What it does is simply remove bits that aren't needed for some functions. An address value is made up of a couple parts -- the network address and the device address within the network. In order for the system to talk to the network, it needs to know what the address of the network is. But the IP address has bits that are added to it to identify a unique point within the network.

It's like a city name, e.g., 'Seattle, Washington'. You might apply a "state mask" to the city name to extract only the name of the state -- 'Washington'. The mask contains rules that say how to extract just the part that's needed. It's not "hiding"; it's simply separating parts.

That description is good and you are correct that it doesn't "hide" anything.  It is more like limiting the scope.

For instance:

John Doe lives @ 123 whatever lane, Seattle Washington US

So lets break this down to a subnet mask

US would be the first octet
Washington would be the second octet
Seattle would be the third octet
123 whatever lane would be the fourth octet
John Doe is the search string.

So if I use the mask - this will search all of the US for John Doe

mask - this will search all of Washington for John Doe - ignoring or "hide" all other US locations

mask this will search all of Seattle for John Doe - ignoring or "hide" the rest of Washington and anywhere else in the US

mask will find John Doe at 123 Whatever Lane in Seattle Washington US - ignoring or "hide" any other John Doe.
Muhammad MullaCommented:
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