Network identifier

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Each IP address has two components: a network identifier (NETID) and a host identifier (HOSTID). The NETID identifies the specific network to which the host is attached.

IP does not permit the NETID or HOSTID to be all ones or all zeros. All ones means broadcast and can be used for all networks or all hosts. For example, the IP address 128.17.255.255 has NETID 128.17 and HOSTID 255.255. It means all hosts on the network with NETID 128.17. To any IP device, 128.17.0.0 refers to the entire 128.17 network, regardless of HOSTID.