You can freely use any Private Network Address within the following reserved ranges:
- Private Address Space
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has reserved the following three blocks of the IP address space for private internets:
10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255 (10/8 prefix)
172.16.0.0 - 172.31.255.255 (172.16/12 prefix)
192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255 (192.168/16 prefix)
(from RFC 1918 - Address Allocation for Private Internets)
You'll also want to keep in mind the network Host Address and Broadcast Address:
- Broadcast IP Addressing - Proposed Standards
If different IP implementations are to be compatible, there must be a distinguished number to denote "all hosts".
Since the local network layer can always map an IP address into data link layer address, the choice of an IP "broadcast host number" is somewhat arbitrary. For simplicity, it should be one not likely to be assigned to a real host. The number whose bits are all ones has this property; this assignment was first proposed in. In the few cases where a host has been assigned an address with a host-number part of all ones, it does not seem onerous to require renumbering.
The address 255.255.255.255 denotes a broadcast on a local hardware network, which must not be forwarded. This address may be used, for example, by hosts that do not know their network number and are asking some server for it.
Thus, a host on net 36, for example, may:
(Note that unless the network has been broken up into subnets, these two methods have identical effects.)
If the use of "all ones" in a field of an IP address means "broadcast", using "all zeros" could be viewed as meaning "unspecified". There is probably no reason for such addresses to appear anywhere but as the source address of an ICMP Information Request datagram. However, as a notational convention, we refer to networks (as opposed to hosts) by using addresses with zero fields. For example, 220.127.116.11 means "network number 36" while 18.104.22.168 means "all hosts on network number 36".
(from RFC 919 - Broadcasting Internet Addresses)
Additionally, you'll want to understand Classless Inter-Domain Routing (commonly referred to as CIDR) and its CIDR notation for expressing IP address ranges:
Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR, /ˈsaɪdər/ or /ˈsɪdər/) is a method for allocating IP addresses and IP routing. The Internet Engineering Task Force introduced CIDR in 1993 to replace the previous addressing architecture of classful network design in the Internet. Its goal was to slow the growth of routing tables on routers across the Internet, and to help slow the rapid exhaustion of IPv4 addresses.
CIDR notation is a compact representation of an IP address and its associated routing prefix. The notation is constructed from an IP address, a slash ('/') character, and a decimal number.
The address may denote a single, distinct interface address or the beginning address of an entire network. The maximum size of the network is given by the number of addresses that are possible with the remaining, least-significant bits below the prefix. The aggregation of these bits is often called the host identifier.
- 192.168.100.14/24 represents the IPv4 address 192.168.100.14 and its associated routing prefix 192.168.100.0, or equivalently, its subnet mask 255.255.255.0, which has 24 leading 1-bits.
- the IPv4 block 192.168.100.0/22 represents the 1024 IPv4 addresses from 192.168.100.0 to 192.168.103.255.
- the IPv6 block 2001:db8::/48 represents the block of IPv6 addresses from 2001:db8:0:0:0:0:0:0 to 2001:db8:0:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff.
- ::1/128 represents the IPv6 loopback address. Its prefix length is 128 which is the number of bits in the address.