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How To Perform Hexadecimal Conversions

Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933

www.thebryantadvantage.com

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Performing Hexadecimal Conversions


Cisco certification candidates, from the CCNA to the CCIE, must master
binary math. This includes basic conversions, such as binary-to-decimal
and decimal-to-binary, as well as more advanced scenarios involving
subnetting and VLSM.
Newcomers to hexadecimal numbering are often confused as to how a
letter of the alphabet can possibly represent a number. Worse, they
may be intimidated after all, there must be some incredibly
complicated formula involved with representing the decimal 11 with the
letter b, right?
Wrong.
The numbering system we use every day, decimal, concerns itself with
units of ten. Although we rarely stop to think of it this way, if you read a
decimal number from right to left, the number indicates how many units
of one, ten, and one hundred we have. That is, the number 15 is five
units of one and one unit of ten. The number 289 is nine units of one,
eight units of ten, and two units of one hundred. Simple enough!

Units Of 100 Units Of 10 Units Of 1


The decimal 15
0
1
5
The decimal 289
2
8
9

Hex numbers are read much the same way, except the units here are
units of 16. The number 15 in hex is read as having five units of one
and one unit of sixteen. The number 289 in hex is nine units of one,
eight units of sixteen, and two units of 256 (16 x 16).

Units Of 256 Units Of 16 Units Of 1


The hex numeral 15
0
1
5
The hex numeral 289
2
8
9

Since hex uses units of sixteen, how can we possibly represent a value of
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 15? We do so with letters. The decimal 10 is
represented in hex with the letter a; the decimal 11 with b; the
decimal 12 with c, 13 with d, 14 with e, and finally, 15 with
f. (Remember that a MAC address of ffff.ffff.ffff is a Layer 2
broadcast.)
Practice Your Conversions For Exam Success
Now that you know where the letters fall into place in the hexadecimal
numbering world, youll have little trouble converting hex to decimal and
decimal to hex if you practice.
How would you convert the decimal 27 to hex? You can see that there is
one unit of 16 in this decimal; that leaves 11 units of one. This is
represented in hex with 1b one unit of sixteen, 11 units of one.

Work From Left To Right To Perform Decimal Hexadecimal


Conversions.

Decimal Number
27

Units of
256
0

Units of
16
1

Units of
1
B (11)

Hexadecimal
Value
1b

Converting the decimal 322 to hex is no problem. There is one unit of


256; that leaves 66. There are four units of 16 in 66; that leaves 2, or
two units of one. The hex equivalent of the decimal 322 is the hex
figure 142 one unit of 256, four units of 32, and 2 units of 2.

Decimal Number
322

Units of
256
1

Units of
16
4

Units of
1
2

Hexadecimal
Value
142

Hex-to-decimal conversions are even simpler. Given the hex number


144, what is the decimal equivalent? We have one unit of 256, four units
of 16, and four units of 4. This gives us the decimal figure 324.

Hexadecimal
Number 144

Units of
256
1

Units of
16
4

Units
of 1
4

Decimal
Value
256 + 64 + 4
= 324

What about the hex figure c2? We now know that the letter c
represents the decimal number 12. This means we have 12 units of
16, and two units of 2. This gives us the decimal figure 194.

Hexadecimal
Number c2

Units of
256
0

Units of
16
12

Units of
1
2

Decimal
Value
192 + 2 =
194

I have written 20 practice questions that will help you practice your
hexadecimal conversion skills. Once you practice with these questions,
and know exactly how each answer was arrived at, youll have no
problem with hexadecimal conversions on your Cisco exams.
Best of luck!
To your success,
Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933

1.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


1c

2.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


f1

3.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


2a9

4.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


14b

5.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


3e4

6.

Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


13

7.

Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


784

8.

Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


419

9.

Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


1903

10. Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


345
11. Convert the following hex number to binary: 42
12. Convert the following hex number to binary: 12
13. Convert the following hex number to binary: a9
14. Convert the following hex number to binary: 3c
15. Convert the following hex number to binary: 74
16. Convert the following binary string to hex: 00110011
17. Convert the following binary string to hex: 11001111
18. Convert the following binary string to hex: 01011101
19. Convert the following binary string to hex: 10011101
20.Convert the following binary string to hex: 11010101

Before we go through the answers and how they were achieved, let's
review the meaning of letters in hexadecimal numbering:
A = 10, B = 11, C = 12, D = 13, E = 14, F = 15.
that ffff.ffff.ffff is a Layer 2 broadcast !)

(And remember

Conversions involving hexadecimal numbers will use this chart:


256 16 1

_________________________________________________________________________

1.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


1c
256 16 1

There is one unit of 16 and twelve units of 1. 16 + 12 = 28.


_________________________________________________________________________

2. Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


f1
256 16

There are fifteen units of 16 and 1 unit of 1.


240 + 1 = 241
_________________________________________________

3. Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


2a9
256 16

There are two units of 256, ten units of 16, and nine units of 1.
512 + 160 + 9 = 681
______________________________________________________

4. Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


14b
256 16 1

There is one unit of 256, four units of 16, and 11 units of 1.


256 + 64 + 11 = 331

______________________________________________________

5.

Convert the following hexadecimal number to decimal:


3e4
256 16 1

There are three units of 256, fourteen units of 16, and four units of 1.
768 + 224 + 4 = 996
______________________________________________________

6. Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


13
When converting decimal to hex, work with the same chart from left
to right. Are there any units of 256 in the decimal 13? No.

256 16 1

0
Are there any units of 16 in the decimal 13? No.
256 16 1

Are there any units of 1 in the decimal 13? Sure. Thirteen of them.
Remember how we express the number "13" with a single hex
character?
256 16 1

The answer is "d". It's not necessary to have any leading zeroes when
expressing the number.
_________________________________________________

7. Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


784
Are there any units of 256 in the decimal 784? Yes, three of
them, for a total of 768. Place a "3" in the 256 slot, and subtract
768 from 784.
256 16 1

3
784 - 768 = 16
Obviously, there's one unit of 16 in 16. Since there is no remainder, we
can place a "0" in the remaining slots.
256 16 1

The final result is the hex number "310".


_________________________________________________

8. Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal: 419


Are there any units of 256 in the decimal 419? Yes, one,
with a remainder of 163.
256 16 1

1
Are there any units of 16 in the decimal 163? Yes, ten of them, with a
remainder of three.
256 16 1

Three units of one takes care of the remainder, and the hex number
"1a3" is the answer.
256 16 1

______________________________________________________

9.

Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


1903

Are there any units of 256 in the decimal 1903? Yes, seven of them,
totaling 1792. This leaves a remainder of 111.
256 16 1

7
Are there any units of 16 in the decimal 111? Yes, six of them, with a
remainder of 15.
256 16 1

By using the letter "f" to represent 15 units of 1, the final answer "76f" is
achieved.
256 16 1

_________________________________________________

10. Convert the following decimal number to hexadecimal:


345
Are there any units of 256 in 345? Sure, one, with a remainder
of 89.
256 16 1

1
Are there any units of 16 in 89? Yes, five of them, with a remainder of
9.
256 16 1

Nine units of nine give us the hex number "159".


256 16 1

_________________________________________________

11. Convert the following hex number to binary: 42


First, convert the hex number to decimal. We know "42" in hex
means we have four units of 16 and two units of 1. Since 64 + 2
= 66, we have our decimal.
Now we've got to convert that decimal into binary. Here's our chart
showing how to convert the decimal 66 into binary:

128 64 32 16 8 4
66 0
1
0 0 0 0

2
1

The correct answer: 01000010


_______________________________________________________

12. Convert the following hex number to binary: 12


First, convert the hex number to decimal. The hex number "12"
indicates one unit of sixteen and two units of one; in decimal, this
is 18.
Now to convert that decimal into binary. Use the same chart we used
in Question 11:

128 64 32 16 8 4
18 0
0
0 1 0 0

2 1
1 0

The correct answer: 00010010


_______________________________________________________

13. Convert the following hex number to binary: a9


First, convert the hex number to decimal. Since "a" equals 10 in
hex, we have 10 units of 16 and nine units of 1. 160 + 9 = 169
Now convert the decimal 169 to binary:

128 64 32 16 8 4
169 1
0
1 0 1 0

2 1
0 1

The correct answer: 10101001


_______________________________________________________

14. Convert the following hex number to binary: 3c


First, convert the hex number to decimal. We have three units of 16
and 12 units of 1 (c = 12), giving us a total of 60 (48 + 12).
Convert the decimal 60 into binary:

60

128 64 32 16 8 4
0
0
1 1 1 1

2 1
0 0

The correct answer: 00111100

15. Convert the following hex number to binary: 74


First, convert the hex number to decimal. We have seven units of
16 and four units of 1, resulting in the decimal 116 (112 + 4).
Convert the decimal 116 into binary:

116

128 64 32 16 8 4
0
1
1 1 0 1

2 1
0 0

The correct answer: 01110100


_______________________________________________________

16. Convert the following binary string to hex: 00110011


First, we'll convert the binary string to decimal:

128 64 32 16 8 4 2
0
0 1
1 0 0 1

1 Decimal
1
51

To finish answering the question, convert the decimal 51 to hex. Are there
any units of 256 in the decimal 51? No. Are there any units of 16 in the
decimal 51? Yes, three, for a total of 48 and a remainder of three. Three
units of one gives us the hex number "33".
256 16

17. Convert the following binary string to hex: 11001111


First, we'll convert the binary string to decimal:

128 64 32 16 8 4 2
1
1 0
0 1 1 1

1 Decimal
1
207

Now convert the decimal 207 to hex. Are there any units
of 256 in the decimal 207? No. Are there any units of

16 in the decimal 207? Yes, twelve of them, for a total


of 192 and a remainder of 15. Twelve is represented in
hex with the letter "c". Fifteen units of one are expressed
with the letter "f", giving us a hex number of "cf".
256 16 1

18. Convert the following binary string to hex: 01011101


First, convert the binary string to decimal:

128 64 32 16 8 4 2
0
1 0
1 1 1 0

1 Decimal
1
93

Now convert the decimal 93 to hex. There are no units of 256,


obviously. How many units of 16 are there? Five, for a total of
80 and a remainder of 13. We express the number 13 in hex with
the letter "d". The final result is the hex number "5d".
256 16 1

19. Convert the following binary string to hex: 10011101


As always, convert the binary string to decimal first:

128 64 32 16 8 4 2
1
0 0
1 1 1 0

1 Decimal
1
157

Now convert the decimal 157 to hex. There are no units of 256.
How many units of 16 are there in the decimal 157? Nine, for
a total of 144 and a remainder of 13. You know to express the
number 13 in hex with the letter "d", resulting in a hex number of
"9d".
256 16 1

9 d

20. Convert the following binary string to hex: 11010101


First, convert the binary string to decimal:

128 64 32 16 8 4 2
1
1 0
1 0 1 0

1 Decimal
1
213

Now convert the decimal 213 to hex. No units of 256, but how
many of 16? Thirteen of them, with a total of 208 and a remainder
of 5. Again, the number 13 in hex is represented with the letter "d",
and the five units of one give us the hex number "d5".
256 16 1

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