Definition[edit | edit source]

Packet forwarding is the relaying of packets from one network segment to another by nodes in a computer network.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The simplest forwarding model — unicasting — involves a packet being relayed from link to link along a chain leading from the packet's source to its destination. However, other forwarding strategies are commonly used.

Broadcasting requires a packet to be duplicated and copies sent on multiple links with the goal of delivering a copy to every device on the network. In practice, broadcast packets are not forwarded everywhere on a network, but only to devices within a broadcast domain, making broadcast a relative term.

Less common than broadcasting, but perhaps of greater utility and theoretical significance is multicasting, where a packet is selectively duplicated and copies delivered to each of a set of recipients.

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