Modern networks no longer use classful IP addressing and the subnet mask cannot be determined by the value of the first octet. The classless IPv4 routing protocols (RIPv2, EIGRP, OSPF, and IS-IS) all include the subnet mask information with the network address in routing updates. Classless routing protocols support VLSM and CIDR.

IPv6 routing protocols are classless. The distinction whether a routing protocol is classful or classless typically only applies to IPv4 routing protocols. All IPv6 routing protocols are considered classless because they include the prefix-length with the IPv6 address.

Figures 1 through 5 illustrate how classless routing solves the issues created with classful routing: