The Use of SNTP as a Multicast Heartbeat

Document Type Expired Internet-Draft (mboned WG)
Last updated 1996-10-28 (latest revision 1996-10-24)
Stream IETF
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Expired & archived
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This Internet-Draft is no longer active. A copy of the expired Internet-Draft can be found at


This document describes how the Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) can be used to provide a multicast heartbeat. Given the current state of the art in multicast diagnostics, use of a heartbeat may prove a useful diagnostic tool for operators as well as for applications developers. Operators may use the heartbeat to alert themselves to losses of multicast connectivity in portions of the network. Applications developers may use the heartbeat to determine whether to enable multicast features or to default to unicast operation. While it is likely that better diagnostic methods will become available in the long term, given the current state of the art, SNTP may be usefully employed as a multicast hearbeat.


Bernard Aboba (
Thomas Pfenning (

(Note: The e-mail addresses provided for the authors of this Internet-Draft may no longer be valid.)