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Is there a way to exchange messages between two hosts in the same VLAN referring only to the respective MAC addresses? I am thinking of a sort of equivalent to the Phone utility in a VMS network.

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I'm not familiar with VMS 'Phone' but I'm very skeptical about it using L2, maybe DRP or NSP.

But to answer your question, yes that is possible, you probably need superuser privileges to inject as 'raw socket'.
If you're familiar with some programming language shouldn't be more than one hour exercise to send/receive messages via L2 header + arbitrary payload.

I guess one software that could be used is 'hping3', I'm sure there are others.

Why you would want to do so, other than curiosity and 'because I can' escapes me. As there is linklocal IPv4 addressing and service discovery protocols which you can use to automatically discover and use services in LAN over IP.

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  • Thank for your prompt, comprehensive reply. Yes, it is mainly curiosity that made me ask the question. Since the switch does not need IP to forward frames, I thought it would be logical to ignore the Internet and Transport protocols altogether for communications within the home network. If I get your answer right, the pervasiveness of TCP/IP would make such an approach futile. Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 19:54
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    For curiosity I then recommend looking into windows socket programming, I'm sure you'll get kick out of seeing your 'MAC Chat' work :)
    – ytti
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 19:57
  • +1 from me, I would recommend you try and program something your self. I'm not super knowledgeable on Windows programming, but I have done this for Linux already. I can send you some code for Linux if you require.
    – Baldrick
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 21:25

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