Supernet is a platform that integrates networks or subnets, developing a unified ecosystem that supports cross-communication and interoperability among many networks. Supernet eliminates the idea of centralized intermediaries since it offers a decentralized space for various blockchain platforms to interact.
With a supernet, most of the other networks with unique Internet gateways are reformed to have one access point to the internet through a single address pool.
Just like the world is overpopulated with billions of inhabitants, the internet also has its communities and population. While the world is filled with human beings, the internet is populated with networks. As various things bring people together to become one community, networks can also be put together to become one entity.
Before the development of a supernet, the distribution of IP addresses was in blocks based on classes that determined how much of each address was attributed to an identifier. A class A address supports 127 network blocks only and the network identifier offers space for every network block to have over 16 million hosts.
On the other hand, class B supports 63,534 hosts and 15,384 networks, while class C has room for 254 hosts and more than two million networks.
Supernet addresses the issues of the “classful” addressing system. While most firms wanted more than the 254 hosts in a class C network block, the 65,000 addresses in a class B block were overwhelming for them. Thus, some institutions decided to use part of the 65,534 addresses in Class B blocks, resulting in a shortage of Class B addresses.
With new websites coming up, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) endorsed the concept of supernet in 1993. The success of a supernet is subject to the different technologies within its implementation. These technologies support the incorporation of many blockchains within a single system, thereby supporting interactions and communication among them.
What Is A Supernet?
Supernet is a platform designed to integrate networks or subnets, creating a unified ecosystem that supports cross-communication and interoperability among numerous networks. Supernet eliminates the idea of centralized intermediaries since it sets up a decentralized space for various blockchain platforms to interact.
While every network has its distinct router, a master router coordinates all the other routers on the system. It is simply a group of subnetworks unified to form one entity.
A supernet’s success mainly depends on different technologies in its design and implementation. The technologies support the incorporation of many blockchains, thereby facilitating communication and interactions among them. They include atomic cross-chain trade, cross-chain communication protocols, and sidechains.
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Here are the components of the tools used in implementing supernets.
- Atomic cross-chain trade or atomic swaps support the trading of crypto assets without the interference of centralized exchanges.
- Cross-chain communication. Examples of these protocols include Cosmos and Polkadot. They are used for communication and interactions across various blockchain networks. With these protocols available, assets and information are readily communicated on the networks.
- Supernet itself is another technology that is used in a supernet. It is a separate blockchain from the main one, and the movement of assets between these two is authorized. Assets can be readily transported between the main blockchain and the extra blockchain, which is called the sidechain.
How Does Supernet Work?
Supernet is designed to save storage space in the routing table by aggregating routes to different smaller networks. Supernet works by implementing many protocols and technologies like atomic swaps, cross-chain communication protocols, and sidechains for interaction and communication.
Supernetting Vs. Subnetting
Supernetting is the process of integrating networks into a whole, called a supernetwork, supernet, or metanet. On the flip side, subnetting is the process of dividing one network into smaller subnetworks. In supernetting, router summarization happens, which means that routes to various networks with similar network prefixes are integrated into one routing entry that is directed to a supernetwork.
Moreover, network addresses’ bits are significantly increased in subnetting. Comparably, the host addresses’ bit increased in supernetting.
Developing A Supernet
It is always advisable to remember that there might be a need for many routers to boost the extra load before setting up a supernet. External tools like a supernet calculator or SolarWinds IP Address Management Software might be useful. Other needs include the broadcast ID of each router, CIDR value, network ID, block size, and subnet mask.
Always ensure that the networks are sequential or contiguous while creating a supernet. Notably, the proposed networks need to be of the same sizes and in the powers of two. Concurrently, the networks being merged need to have the ability to divide the first network ID.
The use of a supernet calculator supports the process greatly, leaving no room for error. Also, the value of the non-common octet found in the first IP block is zero or a multiple of the total number of networks that require aggregation. The route can be changed into a CIRD notion. The creation of a supernet follows these steps:
- Identify the networks that need merging and they should have similar objectives and protocols.
- Deploy atomic swaps to facilitate asset transfer among the blockchains.
- Developing cross-chain communication protocols for interactions and communication among blockchains.
- Creating sidechains.
- With this network in place, the testing phase needs to kick in before deploying the supernetwork. This helps identify any bugs or errors.
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Benefits And Shortcomings
Many advantages are connected with a supernet, and they include:
- Interoperability ensures users communicate, trade, and manage assets on different blockchains. Sidechains and atomic cross-chain trade help support smooth interoperability.
- A supernet supports cross-communication and interoperability amid many blockchain networks, while concurrently boosting transaction speeds and communications among the involved networks.
- With the use of cross-chain, chains can readily connect and execute transactions. Thus, contributing to boosted value for users.
- Supernetting takes power from centralized networks and supports decentralized apps and platforms that can take on many blockchain networks.
- Supernets enhance the effectiveness of using IP addresses and assist routers in the management of network traffic because the process minimizes the number of routes in the routing table.
- Supernetting ensures that IP addresses are used more effectively. Thus, the integration of multiple networks into a supernet may result in IP address conservation, in turn, preventing them from getting exhausted.
- Efficient management – since many networks are integrated into one supernet, configuration and management become easy.
- Supernetting helps in minimizing network traffic.
- Boosted security is also promised since there are fewer networks to manage. It means that there are smaller chances of hackers compromising the supernet.
Although supernetting is a technological advancement and creates some organization in the network ecosystem, several shortcomings are perceived as limitations to smooth development. They include:
- Cost – money is believed to be a major limiting factor for subnetting. It needs more expenses due to hardware, software, and a lot more.
- Compatibility – not every network device or software is CIDR compatible. Therefore, compatibility issues may come up with these networks during supernetting.
- Complexity – Because of the technical process of supernetting, it has to be handled by knowledgeable individuals. The handlers must have knowledge about blockchain networks and understand the specialized hardware and software needed in supernetting.
- Security threats – as already mentioned, expertise is necessary for supernetting since a minor error can cause massive security issues. Merging different networks into a supernet exposes the single supernet to many security risks.
Supernet eliminates centralized intermediaries since it offers a decentralized platform for various blockchains to integrate and interact. It helps reduce traffic to the network over the internet, but although a supernet is a solution to many challenges, it has shortcomings that also need to be resolved.