[PLUG] LAN broadcast?

Daniel Herrington dherrington at robertmarktech.com
Wed Jun 1 21:20:11 PDT 2011

Tim wrote, On 06/01/2011 08:31 PM:
> Hi Wayne,
>> I have a question about user applications using broadcast on a LAN.
>> I usually have several processes that connect via TCP/IP to a central
>> server that solves some optimization problems. In more demanding project
>> that I am working on now, I hope to distribute the optimization problem
>> between 24 to 36 helper processes.
>> At the start of each optimization job, I will have a few data files that
>> need to be distributed to each of the helper optimization processes.
>> Rather than have the central optimizer / server send these files 24
>> times, some way to broadcast these files to all machines / processes at
>> the same time might be nice.
>> Is that the kind of thing that broadcasting could accomplish?
>> And if so, and in a big picture way, how would one do it?
> You could use broadcast, yes.  Most likely you would want to use UDP
> for this, since TCP handshakes and broadcast doesn't really mix.  To
> accomplish this, you would simply have each helper process listen for
> the broadcast messages and then send results back to the central
> server at the server's unicast address.
> However, a "sexier" way of accomplishing the same thing would be to
> use multicast.  This would allow you to distribute the broadcast
> messages scalably across router boundaries.  Multicast is really
> powerful for specific applications like this and I hope it catches on
> some day, since it can completely replace distribution models like
> bittorrent.
I have found that in most enterprise environments, network admins have 
shutdown multicast at the routers. One of the applications we work with 
uses multicast for data sync, and invariably we need the network guys to 
open up multicasting across subnets.

Not sure if it's a concern for the project you're working on, but if you 
go that route I would check with the network guys.

Daniel Herrington
Director of Field Services
Robert Mark Technologies
o: 651-769-2574
m: 503-358-8575

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