What is Broadcast Storm

If a network is tired by the continuous multicast or broadcast traffic, then there is a high chance to occur in the Broadcast Storm. If there are multiple devices are engaged in sending or in other words broadcasting data through a single network line and the other devices are a response by rebroadcasting the data to that network line. This process may affect the working of the entire network and it causes the failure of the network communication.

Major reasons for the occurrence of the broadcast storm are the following:

  • Improper network configurations
  • Switches with low port rate
  • Using poor technology etc.

It can be also be referred to by using the term network storm.

Even using network devices and the computer networks, both are very efficient, there may get a situation where it fails to provide complete efficiency, ie, it fails to provide 100% efficiency. And the broadcast storm is one reason for that.

Let us consider a simple example of a broadcast storm.

Consider that there is a small Local Area Network (LAN). It consists of three Switches namely, switch A, switch B and switch C. Also consider three network segments namely segment A, segment B and segment C. In this network two nodes are attached, that is, one node to a segment and another node is attached directly to a switch. Here the nodes, Node A is connected to the segment B and the Node B is connected to the switch A.

In this situation, if a node wants to send data too other node, for example, if Node B wants to transmit data to the Node A, the traffic is broadcasted. This would be broadcasted by the switch A through the segment C.

If switch A fails to broadcast traffic through the segment C, then it will again broadcast the traffic through the segment A. There may a chance to create a flood by the switches to the segment B, because, the node A not connected to segment A or to segment C. The traffic would be sent back to the switch which broadcast the traffic, here in this example switch A, if the device or switch may not find the address of Node A.

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This may result in the continuous sending and the resending of the traffic by all switches and the devices. It results in the broadcast loop or flood loop, it eventually results get down of the network and all the network links get failed. This situation is referred to as Broadcast Storm.