As I pursue an A+ Certification, there are a few topics that I've not understood from my primary source of information and I'll scour the web for more explanation to achieve an actual understanding so I'll be able to be a useful IT tech when the day comes. When it comes to subnet masks, however, everything I can find online still leaves me not understanding.
I suppose my biggest confusions are these, and they are based on the parts of subnet masks I think I do understand, so if I'm incorrect then please feel free to correct me:
The subnet mask tells the internet as a whole where to look for the individual device; so the hierarchy is the web finds my computer's subnet mask (which brings it to a subnet?), and once there it finds the specific device (My computer) based on the IP address. If I'm understanding it right then its just like coordinates; you can't find a specific geographical spot unless you first have the degrees; without the degrees the minutes and seconds would be useless because the same minutes/seconds data at different lat/long would yield a different but real result. Now assuming I'm correct on all of that, how can there only be four subnet masks? 255.0.0.0, 255.255.0.0, 255.255.255.0, and 255.255.255.255? My mind can't wrap around only four masks being able to help narrow down the (i'm assuming) hundreds of thousands if not millions of computers connected online. The other thing that I don't get is why they exist in the first place, because my IP address is my MBP's specific online ID tag, in a manner of speaking, and as I understand we've run out (or are running out of) IPv4 address to hand out and thats why we've developed/are developing IPv6 which bumps from a 32 bit architecture all the way up to 128 bit architecture; we skipped the 64 bit level so that there are so many new IP address that in the foreseeable future we won't run out again.......so why subnet masks? That also brings up a few questions about IP addresses and DHCP but I'll look into it more before I bother all of you.
If anyone could clear this up I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd rather not a link to a forum because those are pre-developed explanations that don't clear up my confusion; I've probably read half a dozen of them already, although I'll still be grateful if you do at least that much.