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The guide below discusses a supernet that combines networks or subnets into one network, creating a unified ecosystem that enables cross-communication and interoperability among multiple networks.
Same as the world is overpopulated with billions of inhabitants, the internet also has its population. But while the world is filled with human beings, the internet is filled with networks. And as different things bring people together to become one, networks can also be put together to become a single entity.
Before the introduction of a supernet, the distribution of IP addresses was in blocks according to the classes that determined how much of each address was attributed to an identifier. While a class A address allows just 127 network blocks, and the network identifier gives room for each network block to have more than 16 million hosts. In addition, class B supports up to 63,534 hosts and 15,384 networks, while class C permits 254 hosts and over two million networks.
Supernet addresses the challenges of the “classful” addressing system. While many institutions desired more than 254 hosts from a class C network block, the over 65,000 addresses in the class B block were too much for them. Hence, some companies resorted to using part of the 65,534 addresses in the Class B blocks, which caused a shortage of Class B addresses. With the emergence of new websites, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) endorsed the concept of supernet in 1993.
Supernet combines networks or subnets into one network, creating a unified ecosystem that enables cross-communication and interoperability among multiple networks. Supernet eradicates the idea of centralized intermediaries as it provides a decentralized platform for different blockchain platforms to interact. With a supernet, other networks with individual Internet gateways are reformed to have a single access point to the internet via a single address pool.
While each network has its own router, a master router coordinates all the routers on the system. It is just a group of subnetworks unified as a single entity.
A supernet’s success depends on the various technologies in its implementation. These technologies enable the integration of multiple blockchains, thereby facilitating communication and interactions among them. They include cross-chain communication protocols, atomic cross-chain trade, and sidechains.
Here are the features of the tools used in implementing supernets.
Supernet saves storage space in the routing table by aggregating routes to various smaller networks. Supernet functions by implementing multiple protocols and technologies like cross-chain communication protocols, atomic swaps, and sidechains for communication and interaction.
Supernetting is the process of uniting networks into a whole, referred to as a supernet, supernetwork, or metanet. On the other hand, subnetting is the procedure of dividing a single network into smaller subnetworks. In supernetting, router summarization takes place, meaning that routes to different networks with the same network prefixes are united into a single routing entry directed to a supernetwork.
Additionally, network addresses’ bits are increased in subnetting. On the other hand, the host address’ bit increases in supernetting.
Before creating a supernet, it is advisable to bear in mind that there may be a need for more routers to boost the added load. External tools like SolarWinds IP Address Management Software or a supernet calculator may be useful. Other requirements include CIDR value, network ID, the broadcast ID of each router, subnet mask, and block size.
In creating a supernet, it is imperative to ensure that the networks are contiguous, or sequential. Also, the proposed networks should be of the same sizes and in the power of two. At the same time, the networks that are being merged must be able to divide the first network ID. Using a supernet calculator facilitates the process, leaving a minimal chance for error. Additionally, the value of the non-common octet in the first IP block is zero or a multiple of the number of networks to be aggregated. The route can be converted into a CIRD notion. The step-by-step process for creating a supernet is as follows:
There are many benefits associated with a supernet, and they include the following:
As much as supernetting is an advancement in technology and brings some kind of organization to the network ecosystem, there are still some shortcomings that we can regard as limitations to this seamless development. They are the following:
Supernet eradicates the idea of centralized intermediaries as it provides a decentralized platform for different blockchain platforms to interact. It contributes to less traffic on the network over the internet, but as much as a supernet is an answer to so many hitches, it also has its shortcomings.
Supernet aggregates IP networks to form a larger network using classless inter-domain routing (CIDR) notation. A supernet joins multiple autonomous networks to become one.
Supernet improves scalability and efficiency by combining multiple smaller networks into a single and larger one. The process supports contiguous networks and addresses routing issues.
To identify a supernet address, the first step is to determine the specific network to be unified as a whole to create a supernet. After this, the new network mask is determined, and the supernet address is created. The largest network mask must be found to include the two networks. The supernet can then be used instead of individual networks. At the same time, all the IP addresses will be diverted to the correct destination network.
To create a supernet, one needs to identify the networks that would be unified, ensuring that they are of the same protocols. Then, atomic swaps and cross-chain communication protocols are developed alongside sidechains to provide privacy, scalability, and support for specific assets.
The benefits offered by a supernet include efficiency in the use of IP addresses, seamless network management, enhanced security, interoperability, scalability, and so on.
A major challenge of a supernet is its complexity. Other challenges of a supernet are exposure to security risks, compatibility errors, limited scalability, etc.