Classful versus classless routing protocols
Classful or classless routing refers to how the routing protocol handes the IP addresses. In classful addresses there is the specific address, and the host address of the server that address is connected to. Classless addresses use a combination of IP address and netmask.
Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) was introduced in 1993 (originally with RFC 1519 and most recently with RFC 4632) to keep routing tables from getting too large. With Classful routing, each IP address requires its own entry in the routing table. With Classless routing, a series of addresses can be combined into one entry potentially saving vast amounts of space in routing tables.
Current routing protocols that support classless routing out of necessity include RIPv2, BGP, IS-IS, and OSPF. Older protocols such as RIPv1 do not support CIDR addresses.
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