Let's say I am on a network 192.168.1.X and I use the below ping commands.

  1. ping
  2. ping

Why we are calling 1st one as limited and 2nd one as directed ?

In what category does the below will come ? ping 10.X.X.X

X is denoting the feasible value in an IP.


The first one reaches the NICs in the network segment, routers don't forward it, so it's limited. The second will reach all the hosts in the network if it's allowed by a router, so it's directed.

If you're talking about pinging, it's directed.

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Example may help to illuminate the subject:

A - B - C

A-B is
B-C is

If wants to do say WOL (Wake-On-Lan) for, on subnet A-B can send packet to directed broadcast, and B is happy to to forward the packet towards C, so each host in C LAN will receive it, including machine which can then power itself on. couldn't unicast it to, because the machine is not on and would not be visible in ARP table, so it would be just dropped after unsuccessful 'ARP WHO HAS' query.

If A tries to send it to, B will not forward it to C. is only special case 'limited broadcast' address.

In this example might not be a broadcast at all. So we cannot conclude if address is directed broadcast address without knowing the mask.

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  • Hi, good answer. In the last sentence, is definitely a broadcast address since we know that is the Network Id. I believe you meant to say that " may not be a broadcast at all". – Vishnu Vivek Nov 29 '15 at 18:39

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