Difference between broadcast and Multicast

Multicast and broadcast are two often used terms in computer networks and refer to two different methods of transferring data from one source host to multiple destination hosts. Multicast means sending data from one source host to a particular group of hosts, while the broadcast is sending a data packet to all the hosts which are present in the same network. The same network means the network of the source host.

In this article, we will be exploring the differences between the broadcast and Multicast in detail, as their benefits, drawbacks, and the situation in which one method is preferred over the other method of casting.


Broadcasting is a type of casting (sending data packets from one host to another host) that involves sending data to all the hosts present in a network. In this method, the source host transmits data to a network without specifying any specific host of the network. The data is then received by all the hosts present in that network, regardless of whether they need the information or not. Broadcasting is often used in scenarios where the sender needs to send information to all the devices on the network, such as one wants to send some software updates.

One of the benefits of broadcasting is that it is easy to implement and manage. Additionally, broadcasting is an efficient way to distribute the data to many devices, and it can be used to quickly disseminate information in emergencies.

However, broadcasting has many drawbacks. Here data is sent to all the host present in the network that itself a not good idea because it increases too much traffic or congestion and affect network efficiency. This is especially true in a larger network where so many hosts are present and one host is done broadcasting. See broadcasting can lead to security risks also because whatever information is broadcasted is going to access by unauthorized devices which are present in the network.


Transferring data from one host to a group of host wants to receive the data is called Multicasting.

Examples of Multicasting

  • Transmitting a message to a group of people on WhatsApp

  • Email Broadcast

  • Zoom Meeting

One of the benefits of multicasting is that it is efficient and reduces network congestion. Since data is only sent to devices that are part of the multicast group, it discards unnecessary data transmission that would occur in broadcasting. Additionally, multicasting can improve network performance by reducing the amount of data sent over the network, which is especially important for big-size networks.

However, multicasting also has some drawbacks. One of the most significant drawbacks is the complexity involved in managing multicast groups. Since groups need to be predefined, it can be challenging to add or remove devices from a group.

Broadcast Vs Multicast

Basis of Difference



Type of casting

In Broadcast, data is delivered from one point to several points.

In Multicast, data is delivered from one to some particular group of hosts.

One to many of many to one

It has one sender and a different receiver.

It has one or more senders and there may be zero or more receivers.


Bandwidth is wasted.

Bandwidth is utilized efficiently.


Here, there is no constraint on which class IP is to be used.

In destination, it uses only a class D IP address.


Switch or router.

Video conferencing.


Both broadcasting and multicasting are useful in communication in different scenarios, that both benefits and drawbacks. Broadcasting is suitable when one data or update has been sent, to all hosts present that are in the network or one host of some other network to all hosts of another network, here there is no IP constraint we can use any suitable class. While Multicasting is the way to send information from one host to some group of hosts in some other network, this is useful in many real-life scenarios like WhatsApp multicast, and email multicast.

Overall the choice of communication technique depends on the specific requirement of the application. While both protocols have their advantages and disadvantages, it is essential to choose the right technique to ensure efficient data transmission.

Updated on: 05-May-2023

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