Routing communications on networks is a need!
There’s a massive amount of data moving around every second. But data don’t travel randomly. They have an origin and must be delivered to a specific destination. So choosing the most convenient path for dispatching traffic is vital for efficiency and for avoiding chaos. Let’s see Anycast vs Unicast vs Multicast vs Broadcast.
Different types of routing methods have emerged to satisfy a wide variety of needs.
Anycast is used for delivering data packets to one node of a group of nodes—the closest node to the packet’s source.
In the DNS context, multiple nameservers located at different points of the globe can have the same IP. Every one of those servers has a copy of your domain name’s DNS data. Therefore, a user’s request can be routed to the closest DNS server to her or his geographical location to get a response. If a DNS server is not available for any reason, the second closest DNS server will respond to the request (same IP address), and so on.
Redundancy, high uptime, and fast response time are big Anycast advantages. It’s an excellent choice for international businesses (multiple points of presence).
Unicast routes in a one-to-one way. Data is sent from a source node to just one destination. Only the receiver and the single sender interact in the selected route for their communication. Thus, Unicast is an important solution for the transmission of data on the Internet.
Besides, Unicast DNS can routes DNS queries between DNS servers and DNS clients. There’s only one server holding a domain’s IP. All incoming requests have to travel to that server to get an answer, no matter their geographical coordinates. Meaning, the closer users are to the server’s location, the faster response they will get. Far away users will face more or less latency.
Unicast is easier to use and cheaper than Anycast. It involves one server to be monitored and maintained. It’s a choice for local businesses. The availability of your domain relies on a single DNS server. This can be risky if it fails.
Multicast is a way to deliver a message to a hosts’ group interested in getting such a message. All data packets of the message are sent at the same time to multiple receivers, but not all of them.
Let’s see Multicast DNS. It’s useful to resolve hostnames to IP addresses in small networks. When a Multicast client needs to resolve a hostname, it sends an IP multicast query message that asks the host having that name to get the IP address. That target machine then multicasts a message that includes its IP address. All machines in the subnet can use that information to update their multicast caches.
While in the traditional DNS, a query will reach a name server, all network participants that match up with the hostname will be addressed in Multicast.
Compared with Unicast traffic, Multicast offers scalability and does not require nameservers.
Broadcast sends a message to every node in a network that is associated with the broadcast address. The network automatically will make as many exact copies of the message as needed to cover all nodes included in the broadcast scope.
Contrary to Unicast, this is a one-to-all routing way. Since broadcast doesn’t send data to every client, it produces low traffic loads. A con is, Broadcast routing can’t supply personalized services.
Here you have four Anycast vs Unicast vs Multicast vs Broadcast routing methods to choose the one that best suits your business needs.