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  1. Introduction
  2. Network Topology
  3. Hardware Connections
  4. TCP/IP Ports and Addresses
  5. Network Protocol Levels
  6. Data Link Layer and IEEE
  7. Network Protocol Categories
  8. Repeaters, Bridges, Routers
  9. ARP and RARP Address Translation
  10. Basic Addressing
  11. IP (Network)
  12. TCP (Transport)
  13. UDP (Transport)
  14. ICMP
  15. Hardware Cabling
  16. Wireless media
  17. Outside Connections
  18. Ethernet
  19. Token Ring
  20. ARCnet
  21. AppleTalk
  22. FDDI
  23. IPX/SPX
  24. NetBEUI
  25. AppleTalk
  26. SNA
  27. Others
  28. Simple Routing
  29. More Complex Routing
  30. IP Masquerading
  31. Firewalls
  32. Domain Name Service (DNS)
  33. Virtual Private Networking
  34. DHCP
  35. BOOTP
  36. RPC and NFS
  37. Broadcasting and Multicasting
  38. IGMP
  39. Dynamic Routing Protocols
  40. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  41. Simple Network Management Protocol
  42. Network Services
  43. Installing Drivers
  44. Network Operating Systems
  45. Applications
  46. Wide Area Networks
  47. Backing up the network
  48. Fault Tolerance
  49. Troubleshooting
  50. Commonly used Network Ports
  51. Networking Terms and Definitions
  52. Networking RFCs and Protocols
  53. Further Reading
  54. Credits

Network Broadcasting and Multicasting

Network interface cards are usually programmed to listen for three types of messages. They are messages sent to their specific address, messages broadcast to all NICs, and messages that qualify as a multicast for the specific card. There are three types of addressing:

  1. Unicast - A transmission to a single interface card.
  2. Multicast - A transmission to a group of interface cards on the network.
  3. Broadcast - A transmission to all interface cards on the network. RFC 919 and 922 describe IP broadcast datagrams.
    • Limited Broadcast - Sent to all NICs on the some network segment as the source NIC. It is represented with the TCP/IP address. This broadcast is not forwarded by routers so will only appear on one network segment.
    • Direct broadcast - Sent to all hosts on a network. Routers may be configured to forward directed broadcasts on large networks. For network, the broadcast is

All other messages are filtered out by the NIC software unless the card is programmed to operate in promiscuous mode to perform network sniffing.


The types of broadcasting uses on TCP/IP that I know about are:

  1. ARP on IP
  2. DHCP on IP
  3. Routing table updates. Broadcasts sent by routers with routing table updates to other routers.

The ethernet broadcast address in hexadecimal is FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF. There are several types of IP broadcasting:

  1. The IP limited broadcast address is This broadcast is not forwarded by a router.
  2. A broadcast directed to a network has a form of x.255.255.255 where x is the address of a Class A network. This broadcast may be forwarded depending on the router program.
  3. A broadcast sent to all subnetworks. If the broadcast is on network and the network is subnetted with multiple networks 10.1.x.0, then the broadcast is a broadcast to all subnetworks.
  4. A broadcast sent to a subnet in the form is a subnet broadcast if the subnet mask is


Multicasting may be used for streaming multimedia, video conferencing, shared white boards and more as the internet grows. Multicasting is still new to the internet and not widely supported by routers. New routing protocols are being developed to enable multicast traffic to be routed. Some of these routing protocols are:

  • Hierarchical Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (HDVMRP)
  • Multicast Border Gateway
  • Protocol Independent Multicast

Since IP is not a reliable network protocol, a new reliable multicast protocol that works at the transport layer and uses IP at the network layer has been developed. It is called Multicast Transport Protocol (MTP)

Ethernet Addressing:
The internet assigned numbers authority (IANA) allocates ethernet addresses from 01:00:5E:00:00:00 through 01:00:5E:7F:FF:FF for multicasting. This means there are 23 bits available for the multicast group ID.

IP Addressing:
An IP multicast address is in the range through In hexadecimal that is E0.00.00.00 to EF.FF.FF.FF. To be a multicast address, the first three bits of the most significant byte must be set and the fourth bit must be clear. In the IP address, there are 28 bits for multicasting. Therefore there are 5 multicasting bits that cannot be mapped into an ethernet data packet. The 5 bits that are not mapped are the 5 most significant bits.

IP to Ethernet Multicast Mapping

The 28 IP multicast bits are called the multicast group ID. A host group listening to a multicast can span multiple networks. There are some assigned hostgroup addresses by the internet assigned numbers authority (IANA). Some of the assignments are listed below:

  • = All systems on the subnet
  • = All routers on the subnet
  • = Network time protocol (NTP)
  • = For RIPv2
  • = Silicon graphic's dogfight application

Being on the MBONE means you are on a network that supports multicasting. Usually you must check with your internet service provider (ISP) to see if you have this capability. IGMP described in the next section is used to manage broadcast groups.