broadcast

Broadcasts take place when broadcast packets (or broadcast frames) are sent over the network.

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What is Broadcast (in computer networking)?

A communication method for sending information to all components on a network of computers simultaneously.

How BROADCAST Works

Broadcasts take place when broadcast packets (or broadcast frames) are sent over the network. These packets contain a special address that instructs every station on the network to accept and process the packet. Broadcasts are typically used for announcements by network services, for resolving names into addresses, and for other similar functions.

Broadcasts are usually not an efficient use of network bandwidth, since only one or a few network stations might actually be interested in the information being broadcast. For this reason, directed packets are used for most network communication, which involves targeting a packet directly for the intended station.

(All other stations ignore the directed packet.) An alternative is multicasting, which involves a form of limited broadcast to a select group of hosts.

Certain network conditions, such as certain types of device failure, can cause broadcast storms that can bring down a network.

Broadcast Example

A Broadcast means that the network delivers one copy of a packet to each destination. On bus technologies like Ethernet, broadcast delivery can be accomplished with a single packet transmission. The image illustrates a router sending a broadcast packet to all devices on the network.