Forwarding UDP Broadcast on Cisco Routers
In customer LAN environment multiple VLANs are configured across functions to provide better performance and stronger control. Having multiple VLANs also limits the broadcast traffic from one VLAN to traverse to other. However, some services and applications may require Broadcast traffic to traverse across VLANs like for eg DHCP Client sending DHCP Discover message to find the DHCP Server or for example clients using broadcasts to locate TFTP Server. Also that in a complex hierarchical network, clients might not reside on the same subnet as key servers.
Usually Cisco Layer 3 devices are configured to convert broadcast traffic into unicast while traversing across VLAN boundaries
To let a Router or Layer 3 device forward broadcast packet the command ip helper-address can be used. The broadcasts will be forwarded to the unicast address which is specified with the ip helper command.
Below is an example scenario where “ip helper-address” will be leveraged to convert Broadcast traffic from one Vlan into Uncast traffic and send to other Vlan where destination Server resides –