A broadcast packet contains a destination IP address that has all ones (1s) in the host portion. This numbering in the address means that all hosts on that local network (broadcast domain) will receive and process the packet. Many network protocols, such as DHCP and Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), use broadcasts. How ARP uses broadcasts to map Layer 2 to Layer 3 addresses is discussed later in this chapter.

As shown in the figure, a broadcast IP address for a network needs a corresponding broadcast MAC address in the Ethernet frame. On Ethernet networks, the broadcast MAC address is 48 ones displayed as hexadecimal FF-FF-FF-FF-FF-FF.