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A supernet or umbrella network combines multiple smaller networks or blockchains into one larger network.
Supernets enable communication among distinct blockchain networks, considerably improving the usefulness of the overall system by enabling the transfer of assets and data among different blockchains.
Furthermore, shared infrastructure and resources can be made possible by interconnected networks, which can lower costs and boost overall effectiveness. By making assets accessible across numerous networks, they can significantly improve their liquidity, which will raise the assets’ value.
This article will discuss the concept of a supernet, how to implement supernetting, the advantages and disadvantages of supernetting, and how it’s different from a subnet.
What is a supernet?
A supernet, also known as a metanet, is a network of networks that allows interoperability and cross-communication among different blockchain networks. The idea behind a supernet is to create a decentralized network that allows different blockchain platforms to communicate and interact with one another without the need for a centralized intermediary, creating a unified ecosystem. Moreover, the effectiveness and speed of transactions and communications among various blockchains can be significantly increased as a result.
A supernet also has the advantage of facilitating the development of new decentralized services and apps that can combine the strengths of many blockchains. This may create fresh opportunities for development and innovation in the blockchain industry. Cross-chain communication is another feature of supernet that enables chains to connect and transact with one another, increasing the value for users.
How does a supernet work?
To implement a supernet, various protocols and technologies, such as atomic swaps, cross-chain communication protocols and sidechains, are used. These technologies allow different blockchains to communicate and interact with one another and can be thought of as a kind of “bridge” between different networks.
Atomic swaps, sometimes referred to as atomic cross-chain trade, enable cryptocurrency trading without the use of centralized intermediaries. This is accomplished by developing a smart contract on one blockchain that encrypts the assets being traded, unlocks them once the trade is complete, and releases them on the other blockchain. This allows assets to be transferred between blockchains without the need for a centralized exchange.
To enable communication and interaction across several blockchains, cross-chain communication protocols, such as Cosmos and Polkadot, are employed. These protocols enable the exchange of information and assets among many blockchains and the development of decentralized apps that can combine the advantages of various blockchains.
Another technology utilized in a supernet is sidechains. A sidechain is an additional blockchain that is connected to a main blockchain and permits the movement of assets between the two. This allows for greater scalability and privacy, as well as the ability to experiment with new technologies and consensus mechanisms without affecting the main blockchain.
How to supernet a network
A supernet, or network of networks, can be built using a variety of technologies and protocols, and it is a complicated process. Here is a general overview of the steps involved in creating a supernet:
Identify the networks to be connected
The process of building a supernet begins with identifying the various blockchain networks that are to be linked. To facilitate smooth communication and interaction, these networks should have identical protocols and objectives.
Implement atomic swaps
A crucial piece of technology to enable the transfer of assets among various blockchains, atomic swaps allow cross-chain trade among various blockchains.
Develop cross-chain communication protocols
Cross-chain communication protocols, such as Cosmos and other corresponding protocols, must be created to enable communication and interaction across various blockchains. These protocols enable the exchange of information and assets between several blockchains.
A sidechain is a separate blockchain that runs parallel to a main blockchain and is connected to it through a two-way peg. This means that assets can be transferred from the main blockchain to the sidechain and vice versa. Each sidechain in a supernet has a specialized function, such as providing privacy and scalability or supporting particular assets.
Test and deploy
Once the supernet infrastructure is set up, it’s vital to test it thoroughly before deploying it. This step will help identify and fix any bugs or errors that may exist.
The next stage once the supernet is set up is to promote the use of the brand-new infrastructure. Building a developer community, forming alliances with other initiatives, and putting in place rewards for people who join the network can all help achieve this.
The above steps offer a general overview of creating a supernet and the process can be complex and require different levels of expertise, depending on the specific use case.
How to identify a supernet address
A network address that is produced by fusing many network addresses is known as a supernet address. The process of identifying a supernet address is called supernetting or classless inter-domain routing (CIDR).
The following steps can be used to identify a supernet address:
For instance, let’s say there are two networks:
To supernet these two networks, one needs to find the largest network mask that can encompass both of them. In this case, the largest mask that would work is a /23 mask (255.255.254.0). The new network mass can be obtained by counting the shared leading bits in the network section of the addresses. This allows one to generate a supernet address by aggregating both networks into a single, larger network, which they can represent as:
This supernet can be used in place of the two individual networks, and any IP address within the range of the supernet will be routed to the correct destination network. Supernetting helps to reduce the number of routes in the routing table, making it easier for routers to manage network traffic and improving the efficiency of IP address usage. However, it is important to note that the process of supernetting requires a good understanding of internet protocol (IP) addressing and network subnetting.
Advantages of supernetting
CIDR is a technique used to create a supernet address by combining multiple network addresses. It has several advantages, including:
- Efficient use of IP addresses: More effective use of IP addresses is made possible by supernetting, which joins several networks into a single supernet. This can aid in IP address conservation and prevent IP address depletion.
- Improved routing efficiency: Supernetting can help minimize the number of entries in routing tables, which can lower the amount of memory and processing power needed to route traffic, resulting in improved routing efficiency.
- Easier network management: Supernetting can make network management easier by reducing the number of networks that need to be managed and configured. This can help to simplify network administration and reduce the number of errors and misconfigurations.
- Increased security: By lowering the number of computer networks and potential attack surfaces, supernetting can also improve security by making it more challenging for hackers to breach the network.
- Interoperability: It is a central feature of the SuperNet network and is achieved through the use of sidechains and cross-chain atomic swaps. This allows users to manage and trade digital assets across different blockchains in a seamless and efficient manner.
- Scalability: Supernetting enables the construction of networks that may be expanded or contracted as necessary to meet changing demands.
Despite the above advantages, supernetting should be done with caution, as it can also introduce new security risks if not done properly.
Disadvantages of supernetting
While supernetting, also known as CIDR, has many advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:
- Complexity: It can be a challenging technique that necessitates a solid grasp of IP addressing and network subnetting to perform supernetting. Furthermore, it may necessitate the use of specialized software and hardware, increasing the cost and network complexity.
- Security risks: If supernetting is done incorrectly, it can create new security problems. Combining several networks into a single supernet might increase the attack surface and make network security more challenging.
- Compatibility issues: Supernetting can create compatibility issues with some network devices or software that may not support CIDR.
- Increased complexity in routing: Supernetting can make it risky to find the proper path for packets, which can lead to an increase in routing complexity. Increased latency and poorer network performance may result from this.
- Lack of granularity: Supernetting can make it more difficult to segment a network and create smaller, more secure subnets. Access control to particular network resources or devices may become more difficult as a result.
- Limited scalability: Supernetting can limit scalability in the sense that it can create difficulties in adding new networks to the existing supernet.
However, the above drawbacks of supernetting can be mitigated by proper planning and execution and by using appropriate security measures to protect the network.
What is the difference between a subnet and supernet?
A smaller network, often called a subnet or subnetwork, is produced by segmenting a larger network into smaller, easier-to-manage networks. Subnetting divides a network into smaller, independent portions, improving structure and security.
Each subnet can be established and managed independently, and it can have its own set of network addresses. In large networks, such as those used by businesses or organizations, subnetting is a typical practice. On the other hand, multiple networks are linked together to form a supernet, which enables them to interact and communicate with one another to form a single ecosystem.
Here is a summary of supernetting vs. subnetting:
How to manage supernets
A thorough understanding of IP addressing and network subnetting is necessary for managing a supernet. Here are some general requirements for managing a supernet:
Develop a network plan
A thorough network strategy that specifies the goals and objectives of the network, as well as the particular requirements for each unique network that will be included in the supernet, must be created prior to the implementation of the supernet.
Establish clear lines of responsibility and decision-making processes for the supernet. This includes determining who will be responsible for managing the network, who will have access to it, and who will be able to make changes to the network’s configuration.
Train the staff
The supernet management team must possess the knowledge and abilities required to set up and run the network. They ought to receive instruction on how to use the particular technologies and protocols employed by the supernet.
Plan and implement network integration
Establish how the various networks will be connected to one another and how they will exchange resources as part of the bigger network integration. Then, install the required hardware and software to link the networks together and incorporate them into the supernet. This could comprise network management software, switches, routers and firewalls.
Use appropriate security measures
The use of proper security mechanisms, such as firewalls, intrusion detection, prevention systems and other security technologies, is essential to ensuring the network’s security.
Monitor and maintain the network
The network must be regularly monitored and maintained to ensure that it is operating effectively and that any problems are found and fixed quickly.
Use centralized management tools
Centralized management tools can help to simplify the management of the supernet by providing a single point of control for the entire network.
Keep the software updated
If the software is kept up to date, the network can be protected against known vulnerabilities and run the most recent security patches.
Document and troubleshoot
The network is easier to comprehend and administer with proper documentation and troubleshooting.
Test the network
Network testing on a regular basis might help find and fix any potential problems. Regular penetration testing and other security testing technologies can be used to accomplish this.
Overall, it is important to have a strong understanding of network infrastructure, security and management practices in order to effectively manage a supernet.
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