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Message Addressing and Transmission Methods: Unicast, Broadcast and Multicast Messages
(Page 2 of 2)
Message Addressing Methods
Since the transmission methods above
differ based on how many and which devices receive the transmission,
they are tied directly to the methods used for addressing:
- Unicast Addressing: Unicast delivery requires
that a message be addressed to a specific recipient. This is the most
common type of messaging, so this addressing capability is present in
almost all protocols.
- Broadcast Addressing: Broadcasts are normally
implemented via a special address that is reserved for that function.
Whenever devices see a message sent to that address, they all interprets
it as meaning this message goes to everyone.
- Multicast Addressing: Multicasts are the
most complex type of message because they require a means of identifying
a set of specific devices to receive a message. It is often necessary
to create several such groups, which may or may not partially overlap
in their membership. Some mechanism is needed to manage which devices
are in which groups.
Key Concept: Three basic methods are used to address and transmit data between networked devices. A unicast transmission goes from one device to exactly one other; this is the normal method used for most message transactions. A broadcast transmission is sent from one device to all connected devices on a network. A multicast transmission is addressed and sent to a select group of devices.
Finally, one special case in the
field of addressing is worth mentioning. In some networks or links,
only two devices are connected together, forming what is often called
a point-to-point network. In this situation, everything sent
by one device is implicitly intended for the other, and vice-versa.
Thus, no addressing of messages on a point-to-point link is strictly
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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