Since the arp request wants to know the Mac address of an ip address which belongs to any one device what's the purpose of sending a broadcast Anyway even though we know only that ip address device will respond? Can't it unicast to the receiver ip directly?

1 Answer 1


Chicken meet Egg

Ethernet can't "send something to an IP address", it can only send something to a MAC address. The whole point of ARP is to convert the IP address of the next hop (which may or may not be the destination) into a MAC address so we can send the packet.

  • So if I send a broadcast, is it still using only layer 2 and not layer 3? Does all broadcast happen in layer 2? I'm starting to study networking, pardon the confusions. Oct 25, 2018 at 6:00
  • @Nateshbhat ARP uses a layer-2 broadcast - it's not using an IP packet, so there's no IP destination address. Usually, a layer-3 broadcast uses a layer-2 broadcast for delivery.
    – Zac67
    Oct 25, 2018 at 6:20

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