Hierarchical V ersus Flat Addres s Space

Internetwork address space typically takes one of two forms: hierarchical address space or flat address space. A hierarchical address space is organized into numerous subgroups, each successively narrowing an address until it points to a single device (in a manner similar to street addresses). A flat address space is organized into a single group (in a manner similar to U.S. Social Security numbers).

Hierarchical addressing offers certain advantages over flat-addressing schemes. Address sorting and recall is simplified using comparison operations. For example, "Ireland" in a street address eliminates any other country as a possible location. Figure 1-17 illustrates the difference between hierarchical and flat address spaces.

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