Broadcast MAC Address - ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

The MAC address used for broadcast (broadcast MAC address) is ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff. Broadcast MAC address is a MAC address consisting of all binary 1s.

Broadcast is "one to all" type of communication. In other words; "send once receive all". We have two types of broadcasts in IPv4; limited broadcast and directed broadcast.

Please visit following links to learn the difference between limited broadcast and directed broadcast.

I strongly suggest you to visit and learn below lessons before reading further about broadcast MAC Address - ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff.

Please refer below image.


As you can see from above image, the right-most bit of the first octet (the least-significant bit in the most-significant octet) of a broadcast or multicast MAC address has been reserved as "1". Also note that all other 48-bits of a broadcast MAC addresses are binary ones (1s). If all the eight bits in an octet is binary 1 (11111111), it can be represented in hexadecimals as "ff".

A directed broadcast IPv4 address has all binary ones (1s) in its host part. For example; the directed broadcast address of network is, where last octet is all binary ones (11111111).

Limited broadcast IPv4 address is; where all bits in all octets are binary ones (11111111.11111111.11111111.11111111).

We have already learned that IP addresses are used in layer 3 (network layer) of TCP/IP protocol stack. MAC addresses are the addresses used in layer 2 (datalink layer) of TCP/IP protocol stack. As the packet moves down the TCP/IP protocol stack from layer 3 (network layer) to layer 2 (datalink layer) at the sending computer, if the destination IPv4 address is limited broadcast address or a directed broadcast address the IPv4 datagram packet will be encapsulated with an Ethernet frame with broadcast MAC address (ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff) as the destination MAC address.

Once the Ethernet frame reaches the network switch, if the destination MAC address is broadcast MAC address (ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff), the network switch will forward the Ethernet frame to all its active ports, so that all the devices in the broadcast domain will receive a copy.

The point to remember is that for both limited broadcast and directed broadcast, the broadcast MAC address used is ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff.

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