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Unicast, Multicast, Broadcast. What Does It Mean?

Unicast, Multicast, and Broadcast are different network transmission methods.

Unicast transmission

Unicast is a transmission between a single sender and a single receiver identified by a unique address over a network.

Multiple unicast transmissions

For video, even though multiple client computers might request the same video at the same time, a separate unicast data stream is transmitted to each client computer.

Multicast transmission

Multicast is a transmission between a single sender and multiple receivers simultaneously. The clients that receive the multicast may have a common set of criteria, or be specifically set up as a multicast group. A special kind of multicast, referred to as "anycast" is a communication between any sender and the nearest receivers in a network.

Broadcast transmission

Broadcast is a transmission from a single sender to all clients on the network. Routers can be used to divide a network into separate broadcast domains. A broadcast is then limited to a broadcast domain. The IP address 255.255.255.255 indicates a broadcast, and this address is never forwarded by routers.

More Networking Protocols and Standards:
• IPv4 Address Classes
• Video - Introducing the OSI Model
• Video - Transport Layer (Layer 4) of OSI Networking Model
• What's the Difference Between a Packet and a Frame?
• TCP/IP Protocol Suite
• Free eBook: IPv6 Addressing
• IPv6 Prefix Length Notation
• IPv6 Global Unicast Addresses
• Network Operating Systems
• Comparison of the Layers of the OSI and TCP/IP Models

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