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1.6 Ethernet Frame and Ethernet Addresses

Multicast and Broadcast Addresses

A multicast address allows a single Ethernet frame to be received by a group of stations. Network software can set a station's Ethernet interface to listen for specific multicast addresses. This makes it possible for a set of stations to be assigned to a multicast group which has been given a specific multicast address. A single packet sent to the multicast address assigned to that group will then be received by all stations in that group.

There is also the special case of the multicast address known as the broadcast address, which is the 48-bit address of all ones. All Ethernet interfaces that see a frame with this destination address will read the frame in and deliver it to the networking software on the computer.

Quick Reference Guide to the Ethernet System - 04 SEP 95
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