In the IP protocol, there are several standards that must be followed regarding particular interpretations of IP-addresses.
The following special IP addresses are defined by international standards:
- If the entire IP-address consists of only binary zeros, then it indicates the address of the node that generated the packet. This mode is only used in some reports of ICMP protocol.
- If the network number in the field are only zeros, then the default is that the destination node belongs to the same network as the node that sent the packet.
- If all the bits of the IP-address are equal to 1, the packet with this destination address should be sent to all nodes on the same network as the source of this packet. This traffic flow is called a limited or directed broadcast.
- If the number field of the destination node are only ones, the packet has an address that is sent to all network nodes with a given network number. For example, consider the network 126.96.36.199 with mask 255.255.255.0. Then a packet with destination address 188.8.131.52 is a packet which must be delivered to all network nodes of the specific network. This communication is called a broadcast message.
IP addressing and IP configuration are concepts that are core in computer networking, so if you are interested to pursue a networking certification (such as Cisco CCNA for example) you must learn all details about IP addresses and routing.