Unforeseen Limitations to Classful Addressing
The original Internet designers never envisioned that the Internet
would grow into what it has become today. Many of the problems that
the Internet is facing today can be traced back to the early decisions
that were made during its formative years.
  During the early days of the Internet, the seemingly unlimited
address space allowed IP addresses to be allocated to an organization
based on its request rather than its actual need. As a result, addresses
were freely assigned to those who asked for them without concerns
about the eventual depletion of the IP address space.
  The decision to standardize on a 32 bit address space meant that there
were only 232 (4,294,967,296) IPv4 addresses available. A decision to
support a slightly larger address space would have exponentially
increased the number of addresses thus eliminating the current
address shortage problem.
  The classful A, B, and C octet boundaries were easy to understand
and implement, but they did not foster the efficient allocation of a
finite address space. Problems resulted from the lack of a network
class that was designed to support medium sized organizations. For
example, a /24, which supports 254 hosts, is too small while a /16,
which supports 65,534 hosts, is too large. In the past, sites with sev 
eral hundred hosts were assigned a single /16 address instead of two
/24 addresses. This resulted in a premature depletion of the /16 net 
work address space. Now the only readily available addresses for
medium sized organizations are /24s, which have the potentially nega 
tive impact of increasing the size of the global Internet's routing table.
Figure 6 shows basic class A, B, and C networks. 
U N D E R S TA N D I N G   I P   A D D R E S S I N G






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