CCNA, Calculating Subnets and ip subnet zero


I know traditionally we didn't count the first and last subnet (all zeroes and all ones). So a subnet mask of would give (2^2)-2, or 2, subnets while a mask of would give (2^3)-2, or 6, subnets.

So, for the first subnet would be and the first host would be

I know the reason for this, but it seemed rather silly and very wasteful of a scarce resource.

Now, I'm given to believe that this traditional method is no longer used (RFC1878 describes it as obsolete -

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Instead would give 2^2, or 4, subnets and would give 2^3, or 8, addresses.

I have no problem with this. My questions are:

. Does anyone know if the latest CCNA exams assume the newer or the older method (ie 2^s or (2^s)-2)? . If the newer method, are there any subnet exercises available on the Internet? All the ones I have found seem to use the old method (and so only allow 2 subnets for the mask


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Yes, assuming you are taking a /24 as a reference and you're using the traditional (old) rule.

Correct. Moreover, nowadays almost all network devices think in CIDR terms, so they are not aware of subnetting. But nonetheless knowing subnetting is still important, because network administrators can decide to subnet their address spaces, and thus they must know how to do that.

The new CCNA uses the new method, but only under certain conditions (ie, classless routing protocol, VLSM, etc.). However, if no information is given, it's generally safe to assume that the new rule can be used. For more information, see the new CCNA prep material.

Well, I think the main purpose of the exercises is to force you to do the math and become familiar with it, rather than just providing an answer. So, just use the old exercises and be aware that you have to add 2 to the result shown by the exercise.

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pk said the following on 25/02/2008 2:47 AM:


I was just looking at some of the sample questions at the CCNA Prep on the Cisco web site.

Two that stood out were:

  1. What is the practical minimum number of bits that can be borrowed to form a subnet? 1 2 3 4

  1. Using 6 subnet bits, how many usable subnets are created? 58 60 62 66

According to the web site 2 is the answer for question 22. However, I would have thought that the answer is 1.

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Technically, 1 bit is enough. Practically, >=2 is probably more usual. However, like many CCNA questions, giving an answer without a real context isn't really possible, so you end up having to memorize the answers (alas). Also, I see that question 23 still uses the old 2^n - 2 rule. This is in contrast with what they say in the new CCNA prep material.

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