First some background information on what I already know:
An IPv4 address is a 32 bit address that identifies a node in a network. An IP address will have an IP prefix which determines the "Network" part of the IP address and the rest will determine the "Host".
126.96.36.199/24 will tell me that the first 24 bits is the "Network" part of the IP address, and the remaining 8 bits will be for the host in the given Network. Also, 188.8.131.52. will be the lowest IP address that is available in the given network..
Now Tannenbaum states in his book:
Since the prefix length cannot be inferred from the IP address alone, routing protocols must carry the prefixes to routers. Sometimes prefixes are simply de- scribed by their length, as in a ‘‘/16’’ which is pronounced ‘‘slash 16.’’ The length of the prefix corresponds to a binary mask of 1s in the network portion. When written out this way, it is called a subnet mask. It can be ANDed with the IP ad- dress to extract only the network portion. For our example, the subnet mask is 255.255.255.0.
So my questions are:
1) How do routing protocols carry the prefixes? Where is the "slash" part stored?
2) What does this mean at all:
It can be ANDed with the IP address to extract only the network portion. For our example, the subnet mask is 255.255.255.0.