"Routing" and "Broadcast" as used in the lesson vs "unicast" and "broadcast"


I have some comments on the terms “routing” and “broadcast” and their use in this lesson. For example the statement in the lesson plan: “Routing messages functions very differently from broadcasting”. I can see the intent, but I think it is confusing, especially if students go on to more advance CS topics.

A few items to note:

  • You can’t compare using the terms “routing” and “broadcast”, because ALL packets networks are routed, no matter their *cast. The terminology should really be using “unicast” (point to point) and “broadcast” (point to all points) (and there is also multicast (point to specific points), but that is getting too advanced).

  • From what I can see, the purple book does not require knowledge of broadcast at all. I’m wondering if it is more important to focus on the redundant part of unicast (which is in the purple book), and not focus too much on broadcast.

  • There may also be confusion regarding TCP and its use only in unicast, but NOT broadcast (typically UDP). (Lesson 1.11). And we may want to state that TCP is just one of MANY different protocols (although it is the BIG one for unicast.) If I go into broadcast in any detail, I will also mention UDP.



I came on today to get some clarification of broadcast vs router systems of communication. I understand the big idea of this but am at a loss how to easily explain this to my students. I might skip the conversation all together unless you (or someone else) have a suggestion on an easy to understand (and explain) way to do it. I’m not confident enough in my understanding to get into a big conversation about it. Advice?


Here is a link with a brief explanation. I hope this helps!