Broadcasting over the LAN

I had an issue recently where I wanted some data to get to all machines, all at the same time. The data would not be requested – I needed the data as it came in – from my CurrentCost meter – for purposes of testing around the house on the laptop.

The solution was to setup the bash script to echo the data it was collecting (for MRTG purposes), to go out as a UDP broadcast packet to the network.

It was annoying to setup, because current versions of netcat differ to those I was using originally, and eventually found the need for a timeout wait on the netcat command.

It works great tho, and spawned the next idea of an Applet to monitor the Aurora output, the CC128 consumption, and anything else I want to spit out on any part of our local network.

It’d work great as a file copy mechanism too – base64 encode each file, and send that way. Each machine on a network typically receives broadcast packets, and so it’s no issue to spread the same data to all machines at the same time (instead of sending it to one machine at a time).

I like the idea of it – and am amazed I didn’t come across that before. It gives me the data on as many machines as I care to have listening for it – and is relatively reliable (if I wanted guaranteed, I’d not be using wireless..).

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