The number of content addressable memory (CAM) lookups is reduced from two to one. Each side (left and right sides) of a CAM is programmed with network addresses, such as IP addresses, based on certain bits of the network addresses. These bits of the network addresses (which represent packet routes) are examined and used to determine whether the particular network address is to be placed on the left or right sides of the CAM. The grouping of certain network addresses either on the left or right sides of the CAM can be performed by examining an individual bit of each network address, by performing an exclusive OR (XOR) operation on a plurality of bits of each network address, and/or by searching for bit patterns of the network address in a decision table. Network addresses that cannot be readily assigned to a particular side of the CAM using these grouping techniques are programmed into both sides of the CAM. During packet routing, techniques similar to the grouping techniques that populated the CAM are used to determine which of the two sides of the CAM is to be searched.