What Does Anycast Mean?

Anycast is a process for routing network traffic where the sender delivers packets to a destination that is nearest to it in terms of network topology.


Techopedia Explains Anycast

One of the key characteristics of Anycasting is that the networking strategy may allow for messages to be sent to a group of receivers that all have the same destination address.

The Anycast method is one address and routing methodology contrasted with others such as unicasting. Unicast uses a one-to-one connection between a server and a destination address. Other methodologies like multicast and broadcast send signals from one point to several points.

Anycasting is governed by the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and used in both IPv4 and IPv6, with transitioning tools in place. It has its own security questions that analysts look at as they decide how to route network traffic.

Some experts claim that Anycast’s mirroring of DNS services can be a way to survive different kinds of cyber attacks where hackers try to get access to platforms through hijacking network traffic. Some also point out that anycast has automatic failover, which promotes fault tolerance and emergency management.

Experts also talk about load-balancing logic involved in anycast systems that can also improve network capacity or performance.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…