Class C Network

Definition of Class C Network

A Class C network is a type of IP addressing scheme used in computer networks, specifically in IPv4 addressing. In a Class C network, the first three octets (24 bits) of the IP address are designated for network identification, while the last octet (8 bits) is reserved for identifying individual devices within the network. As a result, Class C networks can accommodate up to 254 unique device addresses, making them suitable for small-to-medium-sized organizations.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Class C Network” is:K-L-A-S S-I N-E-T-W-U-R-K

Key Takeaways

  1. Class C Networks have a default subnet mask of, allocating 8 bits for host addresses, which allows for up to 256 unique host addresses.
  2. Class C IP addresses range from to, with the first three octets being the network portion and the last octet reserved for host addressing.
  3. Class C networks are best suited for small to medium-sized organizations, as they provide an optimal balance between the number of networks and the number of hosts per network.

Importance of Class C Network

The term “Class C Network” is important because it plays a vital role in the early structure and organization of the IPv4 addressing system for the internet.

As one of the five address classes, it allowed for more efficient management of IP addresses, catering specifically to medium-sized networks with the allocation of up to 254 host addresses.

Class C Networks offered the optimal balance between the network and host portions of addresses, ensuring better resource utilization and reduced IP address exhaustion during the rapid growth of the internet.

Although Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) has since replaced the classful addressing method, understanding Class C Networks remains essential for grasping the evolution of IP address management and network segmentation.


Class C Network is designed to cater to small-sized organizations or businesses that require a more limited and precise allocation of IP addresses. The purpose of a Class C Network is to efficiently distribute internet resources in order to prevent the wasting of IP addresses and ensure optimal network performance.

Within a Class C Network, IP addresses consist of 24 bits for the network part, with the last eight bits being allocated for the host part. This enables the network to have up to 256 connected devices, but practically limited to 254, allowing small organizations to have an adequate number of IP addresses to accommodate their requirements.

The usage of Class C Network proves highly beneficial in scenarios where organizations have stringent and focused networking needs. It helps small businesses to avoid the unnecessary complexity of managing a large pool of IP addresses while providing a proper network structure to facilitate streamlined communication.

As a result, this specific arrangement of network addresses enhances the overall efficiency and manageability of IP address distribution. Furthermore, it ensures that organizations have the ability to grow their network incrementally if required, making it a valuable, scalable, and simplified networking solution for smaller-sized enterprises.

Examples of Class C Network

A Class C network is an IP addressing scheme in which the first three sets of numbers (or octets) in an IP address belong to the network, while the last set of numbers belongs to a device connected to the network. Here are three real-world examples of Class C networks:Small businesses or home networks: Small businesses often use Class C networks for their local area networks (LANs). For instance, a small accounting firm has a single network connecting its devices (such as printers, computers, and servers), with a Class C IP allocation of0/

Here, all their devices will have IP addresses from1 to254, with the subnet mask of

Schools and universities: Educational institutions often use Class C networks for their campus networks. For example, a small university department might have an IP range of0/24 for its computers, printers, and other devices. Students and staff connect their devices within this network IP range, allowing them to access resources such as file servers and printers within the department’s network.Temporary event setups: Temporary events or exhibitions often require network setups to provide participants or exhibitors with internet access. For example, a conference center may set up a Class C IP range (e.g.,

0/24) for a specific event. This allows attendees to connect their devices to the internet through Wi-Fi access points and organizers to manage the network access for various devices during the events.

Class C Network FAQ

What is a Class C network?

A Class C network is a type of IP addressing scheme that is characterized by the first three octets (or 24 bits) of the IP address being allocated for network identification. It typically supports 256 IP addresses (2^8) with 254 of them being usable for network devices. Class C networks are commonly used for small-to-medium-sized organizations or residential networks.

What is the default subnet mask for a Class C network?

The default subnet mask for a Class C network is This mask indicates that the first 24 bits of the IP address are reserved for identifying the network, and the remaining 8 bits are used to identify hosts within that network.

How do I identify a Class C IP address?

To identify a Class C IP address, check the first octet (the first set of numbers before the first decimal point) in the address. If the first octet falls within the range of 192 to 223, the IP address belongs to a Class C network. For example, if the IP address is, it is a Class C address because 192 falls within the specified range.

What is the purpose of subnetting in a Class C network?

Subnetting is the process of dividing a larger network into smaller, more manageable subnetworks. In a Class C network, subnetting helps organizations allocate IP addresses more efficiently and improve network performance. By creating smaller subnets, administrators can control and monitor traffic more effectively, which can lead to increased security and reduced latency in data transfer.

How many hosts can be supported in a Class C network?

A typical Class C network can support up to 254 hosts. This is because the Class C IP addressing scheme allows for 256 total addresses (2^8), but two of them are reserved for specific purposes. The first address (all host bits set to 0) is reserved for the network address, and the last address (all host bits set to 1) is reserved for the network’s broadcast address, leaving 254 available addresses for hosts.

Related Technology Terms

  • Subnet Mask
  • IPv4 Addressing
  • Private IP ranges
  • Network Address Translation (NAT)
  • Broadcast Address

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents