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A Chernobyl packet is a specific kind of data packet that causes problems in a network. Like a Christmas tree packet, the Chernobyl packet is thought of as “heavy” with data indicators that can overload and overwhelm the network.
Chernobyl packets cause “broadcast storms” where too much broadcast activity overwhelms parts of the network. In a broadcast storm, a troublesome packet requires many hosts to respond at the same time, or does other things that create excessive traffic. Network meltdowns and “thrashing” can also describe the flurry of activity that can “drown” a network. It is the specific indicators on the Chernobyl packet that create the struggle. Some sources talk about a packet that has IP addresses for both source and destination set as the addresses of gated subnetworks.