Multicast Protocols: Challenges and Future Research

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8th Feb 2020 Computer Science Reference this


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Multicast in terms of IP is a method of transferring Internet Protocol datagrams to a group of involved receivers in a single broadcast. The IP specific form of multicast makes it useful in streaming media and other network applications. Specially reserved multicast address blocks in IPv4 and IPv6 are used by them. Protocols associated with IP multicast include Multicast VLAN Registration, Protocol Independent Multicast and Internet Group Management Protocols. Internet Protocol multicast was first standardized in the year 1986. The paper talks about the multicast algorithms, the challenges involved, and the current and future researches required to eradicate the challenges.

Keywords: Multicast Routing Algorithms, Multicast Routing Protocols, MBone, Internet2.


Multicast is a communication pattern in which a source node sends a communication(message) to a group of destination(receiver) nodes. This can also be done by transporting different unicast messages to every destination host individually. There are many reasons making multicasting capability desirable. Some of them are, decrease of the network size, helpful is in resource discovery and support for datacasting applications. There is a probability in real world that, stations can join or leave the casts at any time. With Multicasting there is a flexibility in joining and leaving a group that can make the variable membership much relaxed to handle [1].


Numerous algorithms have been proposed for constructing the multicast trees through which the multicast packets can be delivered to the target nodes. These algorithms can be potentially used in executing the multicast routing protocols [1].

Some of the MRA algorithms are as follows:


In this algorithm, the router checks the multicast packet as soon as it receives whether it has seen this packet prior or this is the first time that this packet has reached this router. If it is the first time, the router will send the packet on all interfaces, other than the one from which the packet has been received. Otherwise, the packet will be discarded by the router [1].

Spanning Trees:

In this algorithm, whenever a multicast packet is received by the router, the packet is forwarded on all the links which belongs to the spanning tree other than the one on which the packet had arrived. This guarantees that the multicast packet reaches all the routers in the internetwork [2].

The spanning tree from source node (C) is shown in below

Figure 1. 


Figure 1: Spanning tree [1]


Reverse Path Broadcasting (RPB):

In this algorithm whenever a multicast packet is received by the router on a link “L” and from source “S”, the router will check to see if the link L belongs to the shortest path toward S. If the case is true the packet is forwarded on all links except L. Otherwise, the router discards the packet. Three Multicast trees from two sources of a network are shown in Figure 2 [2].


Figure 2: Reverse Path Broadcasting [2]


Core-Based Trees (CBT):

This is the latest proposed algorithm. In this algorithm, the tree used for sending the multicast messages of a group, is a single tree irrespective of the location of the source node. All the messages with respect to a group are forwarded as unicast messages towards the core router until they reach a router which belongs to the corresponding delivery tree. Then, the packet is then sent to all ongoing interfaces which are part of the delivery tree other than the incoming interface. The Figure 3 illustrates the following tree [2].


Figure 3: Core-Base Trees


Similar to unicast routing protocols, there are multicast routing protocols such that multicast routers can determine where to send the multicast messages [2].

Some of the routing protocols are:

Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP):

The Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) that was originally defined in RFC 1075 was an extract from the Routing Information Protocol (RIP) with the difference being that RIP sends the unicast packets based on the information about the next-hop toward a target, while DVMRP constructs delivery trees based on the information on the previous-hop back to the source node. Reverse Path Multicasting(RPM) algorithm implements the DVMRP [2].

Multicast Extensions to OSPF (MOSPF):

The Multicast Extensions to OSPF (MOSPF) was characterized in RFC 1584. They are based over Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) Version 2 (RFC 1583). MOSPF utilizes the gathering participation data got through IGMP and with the assistance of OSPF database manufactures multicast conveyance trees. These trees are most limited way trees built (on interest) for each (source, gathering) match. MOSPF bolsters progressive directing. All hosts in the Internet are parceled into some “Self-governing Systems” (AS). Each AS is additionally isolated into subgroups called “regions”. MOSPF performs multicast steering at three dimensions, they are, Intra-Area directing, Inter-Area Routing and Inter-AS Routing [2].

Protocol-Independent Multicast (PIM):

The Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) directing conventions are being produced by the Inter-Domain Multicast Routing(IDMR)working gathering of the IETF. IDMR is intended to build up an arrangement of multicast directing conventions which free of any unicast steering convention can give adaptable all inclusive multicast directing. Obviously, PIM requires the presence of a unicast directing convention. The major proposed multicast conventions perform well if assemble individuals are thickly pressed and transfer speed isn’t an issue. In any case, the way that DVMRP intermittently surges the system and the way that MOSPF sends assemble enrollment data over the connections, make these conventions not productive in situations where aggregate individuals are meagerly circulated among districts and the transfer speed isn’t copious. To address these issues, PIM contains two conventions: PIM-Dense Mode (PIM-DM) which is more proficient when the gathering individuals are thickly dispersed, and PIM – Sparse Mode (PIM-SM) which performs better in situations where amass individuals are inadequately disseminated [2].


Mbone [1]:

In 1992, an interconnected arrangement of subnetworks with switches equipped for sending multicast parcels were chosen for trying different things with multicasting. This multicast testbed was called Multicast Backbone (MBone) and gave an intend to be sending of multicast applications.

The MBone is basically a virtual system executed over a few bits of the Internet. In the MBone, islands of multicast-competent systems are associated with one another by virtual connections called “burrows”. It is through these passages that multicast messages are sent through non-multicast-proficient bits of the Internet. For sending multicast bundles through these passages, they are embodied as IP-over-IP (with convention number set to 4) to such an extent that they look like typical unicast parcels to interceding switches. Multicast switches, their specifically connected subnetworks, and the interconnecting burrows bargain the MBone. The main multicast steering convention utilized in the MBone in early stages was DVMRP. Albeit, other multicast steering convention, for example, MOSPF and PIM are being utilized in the MBone nowadays, still DVMRP is utilized by the dominant part of MBone switches. By the expansion of the accessibility of multicast steering programming highlights on the switches utilized in the Internet, the use of “local” multicast will bit by bit trade the requirement for utilizing burrows.

Nowadays, the MBone is being utilized for conveying sound and video multicasts of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) gatherings, NASA Space Shuttle Missions, US House and Senate sessions and additionally numerous specialized talks and workshops.

Deployment in Internet2 [2]:

For Internet2, the arrangement has dependably been to attempt and do multicast the ‘right way’ to the degree conceivable given the presently accessible arrangement of conventions. Accordingly, Internet2 multicast sending is following rules put forward by the Internet2 Multicast Working Group. Quickly, these rules require all multicast conveyed in Internet2 to be local and meager mode. No passages are permitted, and all switches must help interdomain multicast directing utilizing MBGP/MSDP. To date, Internet2 has encountered a sensible measure of achievement in sending multicast. This achievement incorporates spine sending, interfacing other highspeed systems, associating part foundations, and running a few high data transmissions (on the request of 90 Mbps) multicast applications.


Current Research


CastGate [3]:

CastGate was an endeavor from the ETRO-TELE explore bunch at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel to receive IP multicast on the Internet.

In spite of the fact that multicast would have enabled an Internet client to get rich media and other substance without putting a high weight on the net, it was as yet inaccessible to most Internet clients. The CastGate venture endeavored to settle this by permitting end clients to interface through a naturally arranged IP burrow over systems which did not locally bolster IP multicast. The thought was that if more clients have multicast ability, more substance suppliers would see the advantage of gushing substance over multicast. The expectation was in the event that enough substance suppliers and clients utilized this administration, more Internet specialist organizations would empower IP multicast locally to their clients. CastGate provided a product customer for both Microsoft Windows and Linux to associate with the CastGate burrow arrange. It likewise provided apparatuses to add burrow servers and instruments to get Session Announcement Protocol declarations from the multicast connect with video and sound streams.

Future Research

After watchful examination the accompanying territories are distinguished and investigated as research. Despite the fact that customary multicast steering conventions are reasonable for multicasting they have poor conveyance proportion when the system sources and recipients are expanding. To give various types of uses in the meantime the multicast steering convention might be structure with numerous sources [4].

Some researches on fields are as follows:

Multicast service support:The multicast convention characterizes conditions for joining/leaving gatherings, multicast members ought to have the capacity to join or leave bunches voluntarily. Then again, specialist co-ops can be persuaded to help multicast conventions.

Security: In what manner can the system secure itself from malignant or traded off hubs? Because of the communicated idea of the remote medium security provisioning turns out to be more troublesome. Further research is expected to examine how to prevent an interloper from joining a continuous multicast session or prevent a hub from getting bundles from different sessions.

Traffic control:Both source and center constructed approaches move activity in light of a solitary hub. In stateless multicast aggregate enrollment is controlled by the source, which prompts the weakness of multicast conventions for MANETs. Still should be explored is the manner by which to effectively convey activity from a centra al hub to other part hubs for MANETs.

Power control: For power-obliged remote systems, a critical issue in steering and multicasting is to moderate however much power as could be expected while as yet accomplishing great throughput execution.

Multiple sources: The greater part of the current multicast directing conventions in specially appointed systems are intended for single source multicasting. Be that as it may, a multicast gathering may contain various sources because of various types of administrations or applications at the same time given by the systems. Each single source multicast directing convention incites a great deal of overhead and accordingly squanders enormous system assets in a multi-source multicast condition.



Multicast applications keep on multiplying. Supporting such applications is an unpredictable errand that expects bearers to screen their systems intently [5].

Some of the challenges are:

Multicast Fundamentals:

Conveying multicast parcels over a vast system is an intricate procedure. There are a few stages required to effectively set up multicast correspondences. The initial step is the recognizable proof of the recipients. All has that need to get a surge of multicast information must distinguish themselves to the system. This is called enrollment, and it is encouraged with an exceptional arrangement of IP that are saved particularly for multicast correspondences.

Most multicast information transmissions are uni-directional. Regularly, a solitary host will transmit data, (for example, stock ticker refreshes) to different end stations. Multicast information streams don’t bolster dependable upper-layer conventions, for example, TCP. Rather, the system utilizes the “best-exertion” User Datagram Protocol (UDP); in this manner, at whatever point a bundle is missed by a beneficiary, it is essentially lost and not retransmitted.

Multicast registration process:

The ID of multicast beneficiaries is expert by means of the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP), which is summoned among hosts and their neighborhood switch. At the point when a workstation needs to take an interest in a multicast gathering, it sends an IGMP “join” message to its switch. After the switch gets a “join” for a particular gathering, it will forward any bundles for that gathering to the suitable interface(s).

IGMP is a stateful convention. The switch routinely checks that the workstations need to keep on taking an interest in the multicast bunches by sending occasional “inquiries” to the beneficiaries. In the event that the collectors stay keen on that gathering, they will react with an “enrollment report” message.

Multicast routing:

After collectors enroll with different multicast gatherings, the system must duplicate and convey the data to the majority of the planned beneficiaries. This requires the utilization of a directing convention. The most prevalent convention is known as Protocol Independent Multicast – Sparse Mode (PIM-SM).

It would be greatly troublesome for all switches to construct and track the majority of the conceivable multicast trees inside a vast system. In this manner, the PIM-SM arrangement unifies a portion of these exercises by setting up switches known as Rendezvous Points (RPs) for each multicast gathering. The RP fills in as the foundation of the multicast tree, so that the “leaf” or edge switches just need to find the RP to join another gathering.


Multicast network testing:

Multicast steering conventions give the apparatuses to improving system execution; be that as it may, these conventions will in general be somewhat multifaceted and require a generous measure of switch assets and specialized aptitude.

By widely testing and displaying the majority of the conceivable stages of multicast movement and conventions in a lab domain before they multiply all through the live system, specialist organizations can comprehend, foresee, and resolve potential issues. This testing must incorporate the execution and versatility parts of multicast activity, and also the fundamental useful qualities of the conventions.



A Cisco on Cisco Case Study: Inside Cisco IT [6]:


Challenge: One-to-Many Real-Time Traffic Needs

Corporate recordings of gatherings and preparing spared travel cash however were costly. Sending video tapes to remote destinations had excessively postponement and setting up exchanged computerized circuits was excessively costly. Cisco®IP/TV®can send video crosswise over corporate WAN, however Corporate WAN couldn’t oversee a great many video streams at the same time.

Solution: Multicast –ASM and SSM

Multicast ASM (Any Source Multicast) is being used for a long time and it requires Internet Group Multicast Protocol (IGMP) v2. Multicast SSM (Single Source Multicast) was deployed on July 2003 and it requires IGMP v3. All Cisco®IP/TV®, VoDtraining, video and sound gushing uses multicast in the WAN

Multicast SSM finds out about sender IP address from the application; ASM gains from the Rendezvous Point switch

Multicast ASM requires complex multicast gathering and tree setup process; SSM is a lot less complex. With ASM, numerous senders can send activity inside a multicast gathering, causing:

       Excess network traffic

       Traffic collisions

       Possible security concerns

SSM migration increased stability of multicast sessions

Results: Multicast and SSM Is a Success

Multicast became enabled and stable globally across 1035 routers

SSM deployment is successful, with no unplanned network downtime or stability issues.


Definitely multicast correspondence the one to numerous or numerous to numerous conveyance of information has turned into a hotly debated issue. It is of enthusiasm for the examination network among measures gatherings and to organize specialist co-ops. For all the consideration multicast has gotten there are still issues that have not been totally settled. One outcome is that protocols are as yet developing and a few models are not yet completed from an deployment point of view because of the absence of guidelines that have a moderated advancement however the eforts to send multicast as an exploratory administration are in reality picking up the momentum.

In this paper, we have presented a overview of multicast. We have covered the early development of intradomain routing protocols, the evolution of the Mbone,the needs and current solutions for interdomain multicast, the set of nextgeneration protocols currently under investigation, and the current state of deployment in the Internet and Internet2. Whatever the future holds for multicast, it is likely to present major challenges for both research and deployment.


[1] “IP Multicasting: Concepts, Algorithms, and   Protocols”, [Online], Author: Mohammad Banikazemi, [Available]:, [Accessed: 24/11/2018]

[2]“Ip_multicast”,[Online], Avalable:, ,[Accessed: 25/11/2018]

[3]” IP Multicast”, [Online], Available:, [Accessed: 25/11/2018]

[4] White paper” Research on multicast routing protocols for mobile ad-hoc networks”, [Online], Author: Luo Junhai and Ye Danxia, [Avaialble]:, [Accessed: 25/11/2018]

[5] “Multicast network challenges”, [Online], Available:, [Accessed: 25/11/2018]

[6]” Enterprise IP Multicast”, [Online], Available:, [Accessed: 25/11/2018]

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