A Layer 3 network address has the following characteristics:
• It defines a group of end devices or hosts.
• The address is hierarchical, which allows decisions to be made on groups of devices.
• The devices running the Layer 3 protocol do not forward broadcasts.
• The group of identified devices is given a label to identify the group. This is the network number.
• The group address combined with their unique membership number for that group identifies the end device. This is the host address.
• Although the identifier for the end device may not be unique to the organization, it will be unique to the group or network.
• If the addressing is carefully planned and the addressing scheme allows, groups may be grouped together (cities into states, states into countries, countries into continents, for example). IP subnets are collected into a single address, or addresses are collected into an autonomous system number.
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