[Search] [txt|ps|pdf|bibtex] [Tracker] [Email] [Nits]

Versions: 00                                                            
INTERNET DRAFT                                               R Briscoe
MALLOC(?) Working Group                                       M Tatham
Expiration: 26 May 1998                                             BT
                                                           21 Nov 1997

              End to End Aggregation of Multicast Addresses

                    draft-briscoe-ama-00.ps,.txt [28]
   Note: lack of figures and copious subscripts make the .txt version
                            difficult to read

Status of this Memo

This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas, and
its working groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute working
documents as Internet-Drafts.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material
or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

To view the entire list of current Internet-Drafts, please check the
"1id-abstracts.txt" listing contained in the Internet-Drafts Shadow
Directories on ftp.is.co.za (Africa), ftp.nordu.net (Europe),
munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim), ds.internic.net (US East Coast), or
ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).


This paper presents an approach for solving the inherent problem with
multicast routing scalability - by co-operation between end-systems and
the network. We introduce an extremely efficient, elegant way to name
arbitrary sized inter-meshed aggregations of multicast addresses. This
is done in such a way that it is easy to calculate how to change the
name to encompass many more related names. We describe how these
aggregate names could be used anywhere in place of the set of addresses
to which they refer, not by resolving them into multiple operations, but
by a single bulk action throughout the routing tree, and in session
descriptions potentially including those for reservations. Initial
aggregation in end-systems might only reduce the problem by an order of
magnitude, but it is believed that this will provide sufficient
structure for routers to be able to recognise further aggregation
potential.  To improve the chances of router aggregation, address set
allocation schemes must fulfil certain criteria that are laid down in
this paper.


Multicast, address, aggregation, end to end, scalable, Internet.


1. Introduction & Requirements
2. Scheme Description
  2.1 Construction of an AMA
  2.2 Probability of address aggregation
  2.3 Further storage optimisation (for IPv4)
  2.4 Life-cycle of an Aggregate Multicast Address
       2.4.1 How an application would assign an AMA
       2.4.2 How a sending application would understand an AMA
       2.4.3 How a receiving host would join or leave an AMA
       2.4.4 How a receiving application would understand an AMA
       2.4.5 How a router would aggregate AMAs
       2.4.6 How an application would expand or contract an AMA if
     2.5 Router Implementation
     2.6 Derivation of recommended values for constants
       2.6.1 Statistics
     2.7 Evolution
3. Related Work
4. Limitations and Further Work
5. Security Considerations
6. Conclusions
7. Acknowledgements
8. References
9. Authors' addresses

1. Introduction & Requirements

The addressing scheme used for Internet multicast has been recognised as
unscalable since its inception. Every multicast group has to have a
separate entry in the forwarding tables of every router on its path.
Because multicast groups, being logical entities, have no direct
relationship with physical topology, they cannot directly be matched to
the hierarchical design of the Internet. In this paper we present an
approach for solving this problem indirectly, in the proven tradition of
the Internet; end to end - by co-operation between end-systems and the

The primary problem is that multicast addresses are fixed by session
initiators, but aggregation relies on a clustering pattern emerging from
the demography of the receivers. Further, the initiator usually doesn't
know who the receivers will be until after the addresses to be used have
been fixed. Therefore, any clustering beyond small-scale aggregation
within applications will have to be achieved on a longer time-scale by
session initiators predicting the likely demography of their session
(e.g. based on past experience of similar sessions). The job of these
predictive systems will be much simpler if they have some degree of pre-
existing aggregation to nucleate around, rather than having to
crystallise aggregation from complete chaos without any bootstrap

A large class of applications utilises multiple multicast addresses
internally. Further, many such applications consist of varying sets of
multiple multicast groups that are all sub-sets of a bigger set (e.g.
news, stock-feeds, network games, virtual worlds, distributed
simulations, all applications using layered multicast [1]). Any solution
should ensure that such "nucleating applications" use aggregations of
addresses that can be identified as such.

Related work is described later. Most is in the area of straightforward
multicast address allocation, which is, perhaps surprisingly, far from
being sorted out. It is very difficult, indeed probably reckless, to
comment on proposals that have only been hinted at in the odd mailing
list posting, or conference presentation. However, it appears that most
schemes are assuming that aggregation will be possible if addresses are
allocated based on the topological position in the Internet of the root
of the multicast tree. Although this may well be the case, it is only
true if most multicast applications will tend to be used by groups of
users that happen to use the same ISP (Internet Service Provider), or
they use ISPs that have a common parent ISP. No evidence that this is
the case has been presented. In some cases the tree root even seems to
be (erroneously) assumed to be in the same place as the session
initiator (the party requesting the address). Certainly, nowhere does it
seem to be taken into account that the likely receiver topology is just
as important in determining whether multicast trees can be aggregated.
Some of the proposals that are available also seem to implicitly assume
that routing state will be aggregated in the same way unicast routing is
aggregated - by discarding the right-hand bits of addresses which have
common left-hand bit fields, despite there being no greater significance
to any bit in a multicast address. These criticisms may prove to be
unfounded when the work in question is published in detail.

The primary thesis of this paper is that it will never be possible to
aggregate multicast state in routers if there is no means to name
aggregations of multicast addresses. In unicast, an address prefix is an
aggregation name, but for multicast the prefix means nothing. A similar
concept is required, but with radically different properties and

These names must take up significantly less space than would the list of
addresses themselves. Further, if only some sizes of aggregations can be
named, this will lead to wastage of addresses. Therefore, any solution
must offer a way to name arbitrary sized aggregations. Further, the
naming of aggregations must not make any one type of address more in
demand than others (e.g. addresses with trailing zeroes, or with
sequences of zeros) or encourage the hoarding of certain addresses. It
should also be possible to grow or shrink the size of the set identified
by the name, while avoiding clashes with addresses in use by other
sessions. An informal list of further requirements of address allocation
schemes, which are not directly relevant to the discussion here, is at

These aggregation names should themselves be open to aggregation,
implying the naming should be recursive. Otherwise the small-scale
clustering that the "nucleating applications" will be able to engender,
will simply result in these small clusters collecting in routers deeper
into the network. Where two names might be aggregated, it should be
possible to test this possibility, based on the structure of the names,
rather than by trial and error or exhaustive expansion to the lists of
addresses that the names resolve to.

To encourage their use,  these aggregation names should offer
convenience and efficiency for the programmer. Preferably they should
enable bulk joins to and leaves from sets of multicast addresses. The
"nucleating applications" would then naturally assist the network in
aggregating together multicast addresses, not out of any sense of
altruism, but because using an atomic name for an aggregation is
convenient for the programmer and efficient for the system it runs on.
This approach could be accused of moving away from random address
allocation and therefore possibly encouraging address hoarding.
Certainly, once a pattern emerges, the aim should be to bias address
allocation to re-inforce the pattern. However, this is still originally
based on random allocation, so shouldn't lead to hoarding as long as we
don't aim to re-inforce patterns to such an extent that they become
entrenched beyond their useful life.

2. Scheme Description

The proposed scheme for identifying aggregates of multicast addresses
builds directly on IP multicasting [2]. The scheme assigns a new meaning
to (a number that looks like) any existing multicast address, but only
when it is in in a context associated with (at least) two other
parameters that define aggregation size. Multiple sets of these
aggregation size parameters can be associated with the same single
multicast address to signify a list of aggregates of multicast addresses
affording further aggregation. These aggregated addresses would be
suitable replacements even for single discrete multicast addresses both
in hard multicast routing state on the router and soft state in messages
initiating and refreshing it, as well as in session descriptions. Thus,
in the context of sending data to or receiving data from a multicast
address, there is no change from the existing meaning for the address -
it doesn't represent an aggregate, just a single address. In the context
of joining or leaving a multicast group and in the context of describing
a session, the address means an aggregation (although possibly of size
1) if associated with size parameters. This switch of meaning dependent
on context is consistent with the fact that the aggregation parameters
aren't associated with sending and receiving, only with allocation,
joining, leaving and describing.

For conciseness, we shall refer to this tuple of multicast address and
aggregation parameters as an aggregated multicast address (AMA(i)).
Thus, it is intended that AMAs are used in future versions of Internet
Group Management Protocol (IGMP) [3, 4] and the various multicast
routing protocols (DVMRP [5, 6], CBT [7, 8, 9] & PIM [10, 11, 12]) to
replace multicast addresses wherever they are used. It would also be
highly advantageous for session directory, invitation and announcement
protocols (e.g. SDP [13], SAP [14] & SIP [15]) to evolve to use AMAs in
place of multicast addresses. Evolution from the current version of IGMP
and multicast routing protocols and from current session description
protocols is discussed under the "Evolution" section.

Further, it would be natural for evolving multicast address allocation
schemes ([20, 21]) to use AMAs to define allocations concisely. Just as
sets of related AMAs can be aggregated together into a single AMA, the
reverse is also possible. Thus parts of large allocations can be "sub-
allocated" to further parties if required. However, allocation of
multicast addresses (and hence AMAs) is not as straightforward as for
unicast addresses. Allocation issues are discussed under the section on
"Probability of address aggregation".

Firstly we shall define how an AMA is constructed and how its
construction affects its meaning. Then we shall follow through a typical
life-cycle of an AMA:
1.   how an application would assign an AMA
2.   how a sending application would understand an AMA
3.   how a receiving host would join or leave an AMA
4.   how a receiving application would understand an AMA
5.   how a router would aggregate AMAs
6.   how an application would expand or contract an AMA if required

2.1 Construction of an AMA

The construction of an AMA is based on two architectural principles:
  1. to identify a range of addresses by starting from a base, using an
     offset (d or v) to the minimum and a range value (n or s) to
     identify the maximum
  2. to use two levels of this structure - the first based on bit-field
     widths to home in on a rough area using very few bits, the second
     using actual values to achieve the arbitrary aggregation size


The motivation for having a maximum for the rougher range as well as the
fine-grained one is explained later.

The address-like component of an AMA is defined to be a concatenation of
bit-fields as shown (with recommended values of bit widths shown for
IPv4 - see discussion later):

  Description:       mcast mask        remainder
                     addr  offset
  Value:                   d               r
  Width:               4   wd              wr
  Recommended width:       4               24

The three associated aggregation parameters are defined below. The
recommended values of bit widths are shown for IPv4, but later a scheme
for optimising these is proposed (see Further storage optimisation).
Introducing this now would just confuse the explanation:

  Description:       mask          aggr'n            aggr'n
                    width          size              offset
  Value:               m            s                  t
  Width:               wm           ws                 ws
  Recommended width:   4           16                 16
                      <-->  <-------.------->  <-------.------->

The value in the "mask width" bit field,  m, (recall this is associated
with an address, not part of it) determines the width, n, of a bit-mask
overlaid on the remainder (as described next), where:

  n = m + m0      --------(1)

and where m0 is a constant integer (set for this scheme) that determines
the minimum size of an AMA (see later for discussion). It is recommended

  m0 = 0

The value in the mask offset field, d, determines the offset in bits
from the right-hand end of the address to the right-hand end of the
mask, for example, if m0 = 0:

                         d              r                m    s
Example pseudo-dotted   13 .   221  .  147   .  93       3    5
 decimal value:   <--><-->.<-------.--------.------->  <--><-...
                  11101101.11011101.10010011.01011101  0011
Mask (XXX):       11101101.11011101.XXX10011.01011101

Note: in these diagrams, the label "d" is used to denote where the value
of d is stored and the length of the offset set by this value.

If n + d > wr , the bit mask simply wraps round into the right-hand end
of the remainder, r.

The value within the masked bits, vmin (100b in this example) determines
the base or minimum address of the AMA(ii).

The value of the aggregate size, s,  (recall this is associated with an
address, not part of it) determines the upper or maximum address of the
AMA by setting the maximum value in the masked bits, vmax, where:

  vmax = vmin + s - 1

The AMA is defined as the set of addresses that result when v is varied
between its minimum and maximum values. For example, the AMA defined by
our example address and example aggregation size parameters follows:

                    <v>               dotted decimal
  11101101.11011101.10010011.01011101  a0
  11101101.11011101.10110011.01011101  a1
  11101101.11011101.11010011.01011101  a2
  11101101.11011101.11110011.01011101  a3
  11101101.11011101.00010011.01011101  237.221. 19.93  a4

Note that if vmax > 2^n, v may wrap within the bit-field (without
carrying outside the bit-field).

Note that s=0 means no values of v at all (useful later).
Note that meanings of s > 2^n are reserved but undefined.     ------(2)

For convenience, we might denote an AMA as so far described by the

  (a, m, s)

which for the example above would be:

  (, 3, 5)

Where two or more AMAs are disjoint sets that share a common a (even if
the masked bits are different) and m, they may be represented by the
more general form that is the correct full definition of an AMA:

  (a, m, s0, [(t1, s1), ... (ti, si), ... ])

where ti is an offset from vmin, and si is the size of the set of
addresses based on vmini where:

  vmini = vmin + ti.

Thus, continuing the above example, all three of the following sets of
addresses or AMAs represent the same thing:

  a0, a1,      a3, a4
  (a0, m, 2), (a3, m, 2)
  (a0, m, 2, 3,2)

This allows re-use of one address by associating it with multiple
aggregate size pairs with minimal extra storage.
Further, as the sequence of pairs along the AMA is processed,

  if ti >= 2^n, m is incremented until ti < 2^n    --------(3)

m remains at its higher value for subsequent pairs, unless it is
incremented further later.

Again continuing the above example to illustrate this point, if we
denote a8 as the address related to a0 like so:

                  <-v->                dotted decimal
  11101101.11011101.10010011.01011101  a0
  11101101.11011100.10010011.01011101  a8

then these two sets represent the same thing:

  (a0, 3, 2), (a3, 3, 2), (a8, 4, 7)
  (a0, 3, 2, 3,2, 8,7)

The motivation for this particular design of scheme should start to
become apparent; AMAs can be fully manipulated without caring about
which multicast address was randomly chosen to start with as the base.
This ensures there is no more demand for any one multicast address than
another. vmin doesn't have to be all zeroes to ensure all 2^n
combinations of bits under the mask are used. This ensures that the task
of aggregating multicast addresses into AMAs and small AMAs into big
AMAs should be achievable with just bit-wise logic operations.

2.2 Probability of address aggregation

Fig 1. attempts to represent multicast trees of various topologies
across the Internet as various three-sided shapes. The Internet is
represented by the oval with end-systems around the perimeter. The root
of each tree is indicated by a dot. The receivers that have joined the
tree are spread across the side of the "triangle" opposite the tree
root. The shaded areas are an attempt to represent the aggregation
potential of a representative topology by representing an even density
of receivers around the edge and an even density of routers across the
oval, rather than being a representation of the physical density of
hosts and routers. Trees "a", "d" and "e" are core-based trees, with
tree roots within the network rather than on end-systems. Trees "b" and
"c" are source-based with roots on end-systems. It should be noted that
these trees are probably not typical, mainly because it is difficult in
such a diagram to draw trees that have receivers spread all over the
Internet. However the trees have been chosen to illustrate various

                        {See .ps or [28] for fig}
      Fig 1 - Various multicast tree topologies across the Internet

Although trees "a" and "d" have roots that could well be in the same
domain (autonomous system), their receiver sets have caused them to grow
in completely opposite directions so no aggregation would be possible.
Tree "e" is completely contained within tree "d" although their roots
could well be in completely unrelated domains. Thus it should be
possible to aggregate the routing information they need. Tree "a" is
nearly contained within tree "b", so it would be desirable to be able to
aggregate their routing at least where they overlap. Trees "a" and "c"
have a similar relationship to that between "a" and "b". Trees "b" and
"c" cross eachother at the network core so some aggregation may be
possible where the directions of the trees coincide on certain links.
There could even be occaisions where the routing of "a", "b" and "c" can
all be aggregated together.

It should now be possible to see that, although it is more likely that
two trees with close roots will have routing information that is
condusive to aggregation, this is by no means a necessary or sufficient
condition. In fact it appears that receiver distribution is a better
indication of aggregation potential.

A multicast address needs to be allocated when a session is initiated,
at which time the likely receiver topology may be difficult to predict.
For certain types of tree (e.g. source-based) it is much easier to be
certain where the root should be at this early stage. For core-based
trees, the positioning of the core is ideally dependent on the
prediction of the receiver topology (which can be sketchy, as we have
already said).

Receiver topology is difficult but not impossible to predict. This
usually reduces to a marketing-type problem. What is clear is that
address allocation schemes that are based exclusively on the position of
the root of the multicast tree (or worse the position of the session
initiator, who may not even be taking part once the session is going)
will not realise anything close to the full aggregation potential of any
conceivable topologies of multicast trees that are likely on the
Internet. A good scheme must allow addresses to be allocated to sessions
based on a combination of root and receiver topology. It is outside the
scope of this paper to solve how this allocation would be done, but it
is clear that a scheme that disallows a future solution to this problem
is a bad scheme.

The scheme proposed for AMAs allows just such a combination of
allocation between root and receiver topology. Taking the example AMA
used already,

                                d              r
  Example pseudo-              13 .   221  .  147   .  93
   dotted decimal value:  <--><-->.<-------.--------.------->
                                d             |    f
  root-based allocation:      <-->.           |<----.-->
  receiver-based allocation:       --------.-->         <----

The 16 bits, labelled g, to the left of the offset (to which d points)
are those that the largest possible mask could cover so they might
conceivably all be aggregated together. Therefore these bits should be
allocated purely on likely receiver positioning. In the example this
field wraps after 11 bits with the remaining 5 bits being at the far
right hand end of the address. On the other hand, it is proposed that d
and f would be allocated based on the position within the Internet of
the root of their multicast tree (possibly combined with the likely
direction from the root from which most receivers would join, to take
account of  trees like "d" and "e" above). f is defined as the 8 bits to
the right of the offset  (wrapping round the length of r if necessary).
The mask can never cover f which is why it is available for allocation
based on the root position.

A simple short term solution for an address allocation scheme might be
to generate g, d and f from an algorithm seeded by a unicast address
prefix (or a set of a few representative prefixes) that represents the
majority of likely receivers and the unicast address of the tree root.
The latter would be necessary if the tree were source-based, but it may
be possible for the allocation service (or some other service) to
suggest the best tree root position if using core-based multicast.

2.3 Further storage optimisation (for IPv4)

Optimisations considered but rejected are recorded elsewhere [25].

2.3.1 Mask width, m

In the contexts where AMAs are used, the first four bits of the address
are redundant, as a non-multicast address wouldn't make sense. m is the
natural candidate to store in place of this 1110 bit pattern which is
fixed for IPv4 (class D) addresses (but see below). When the AMA is read
from storage, m can be read into another variable and this bit pattern
can be re-instated.

  Description:       mask  mask        remainder
                     width offset
  Value:               m   d               r
  Width:               wm  wd              wr
  Recommended width:   4   4               24

However, there is no guarantee that the multicast address range will
always be confined to this fixed first four bits. For instance, class E
addresses (starting 1111) are currently reserved, and might conceivably
form an extension to the IPv4 multicast address space in the future.

Thus this optimisation is suggested but if it were adopted, the
implications for the future use of other ranges as an extension to the
multicast range would need serious consideration. However, as this is an
optimisation, implementations could be designed so that if other address
ranges ever became valid for multicast, the optimisation could be

2.3.2 Aggregation size, s

Many applications will have sessions with less than 16 multicast
addresses and most will have less than 256. Thus it seems wasteful to
use 16 bits for s (and t) when most of the time, most of their leading
bits will be zeroes. Also we must not forget that there will be many
sessions that only use one multicast address.

Therefore, it is recommended that ws be dependent on the value of m at
least in the environments indicated:

                                        Rule applies in:
                                  router storage    protocol fields
  If     m = 0   (0000b),  ws = 0        Y                N?
  If 0 < m <= 1  (0001b),  ws = 2        N??              N
  If 1 < m <= 3  (0011b),  ws = 4        N?               N
  If 3 < m <= 7  (0111b),  ws = 8        Y                N?
  If 7 < m <= 15 (1111b), ws = 16        Y                Y

The question marks indicate where the rule is open for discussion after
implementation experience.

It is recommended, at least for router storage, that m = 0 is used to
indicate an AMA that is actually just a single discrete multicast
address, where associating a size of 1 with it would be a waste of

However, this appears to make the widest possible mask 15 bits, because
it precludes using m = 0 to mean n = 16. Although the need for a 16 bit
wide mask is likely to be rare, it is still possible to force the mask
to be this wide by exploiting the equivalence of the two AMAs in the
following example (due to the ability of t to increment m, given in
formula (3)):

  (a, 16, s) (impossible value of m)
  (a, 15, 1,  >2^15, s)

The two conditions that lead to sub-byte storage requirements are not
recommended as they are likely to be more trouble than they are worth,
even for router storage.

It has also been assumed that saving a byte or two is not worth it for
protocols (like IGMP) as opposed to router storage. The hassle of a
conditional width field is probably not worth the small reduction in
message size that would result.

Note that the width of t would always follow the same rule as that for
s. That is:

  wti = wsi

Note that in all cases (except m = 0) t can always be large enough,
within the available field-width, to be capable of incrementing m into
the next range, by formula (3). For example, these two AMAs are
equivalent :

  (a, 8,0)
  (a, m=7,s0=0,  t1=128,s1=128)

In the second AMA, the starting mask width is 7, so s0, t1 and s1 are 8
bits wide. But, by formula (3), because t1 >= 2^7  (has the first bit
set) m is incremented to 8.

Note that if t forces m to increment into a range that would alter the
width of both t and s (formula (4)), the increase in width of t doesn't
happen until the next pair of t and s, if at all, while the s in the
current pair should be widened immediately. The reasoning, is that the
width of t mustn't be affected by its own value.

2.4 Life-cycle of an Aggregate Multicast Address

2.4.1 How an application would assign an AMA

First, the application initiating (or expanding) the session must decide
how many multicast addresses it needs (bearing in mind the scheme allows
it to expand or shrink from this initial decision later). This we will
call smax. (As discussed above, even if smax is 1, it may still make
sense to use AMAs.)

We assume some smart address allocation scheme has been worked out that
meets the requirements laid down in the section on the Probability of
address aggregation and may indeed be like the simple one outlined in
that section. It should be noted that a sub-optimal, tactical address
allocation service wouldn't stop this scheme working, but as the art of
allocation improved, aggregation results would improve.

The application (or session initiator) now predicts the likely receiver
topology for the session it is initiating. From this, it decides the
best position for the root of the multicast tree(s) that make up the
session (or some other service does this at its request). The
application would then pass all these constraining parameters, including
the size of AMA it required to the address allocation service. The
address allocation service would return an AMA of the required size.
To arrive at an AMA, it would internally (probably) allocate g based on
the receiver topology and d and f based on the root and receiver
topology given to it by the application.

Also, internally, it would have to calculate n such that 2^(n-1) < smax,
but 2^n >= smax .

In other words, it would decide integer n where no more than 2^n
multicast addresses are needed in the session. m follows rather
straightforwardly from formula (1).

For example, if the session needed 6 multicast addresses and m0 = 0, it
would use m = n = 3.

We shall assume the address allocated is the example address used above.
It then joins 6 multicast groups simultaneously by sending one message
to join the AMA:

  (, 3, 6)

If the allocation scheme is light-weight it may give no guarantees that
the any of the addresses haven't been simultaneously allocated to other
sessions. Therefore, the application may have to monitor whether any of
the multicasts are in use. If they are free, it holds them for itself
(as is done with discrete multicast addresses today), then goes ahead
and advertises the session (or invites users in) using this AMA.

In fact, if there is a finite possibility of simultaneous allocation,
the above is not necessarily the best opening strategy for grabbing a
set of free multicast addresses. Which strategy is best depends on the
size of the set required and the level of utilisation of the address
space (which will oscillate daily and increase into the future,
decreasing the probability of finding a free set in a single attempt).
This is a large enough problem space to become a topic for study in its
own right (see Further Work), so it is not gone into in any depth here,
save to make some broad generalisations.

If the probability of finding a free set of multicast addresses first
time is high, the obvious strategy would be to just try another address
set if part of the first was busy. If the allocation service couldn't
guarantee all its allocations were not in use, it would have to be
possible to receive a slightly different response to a repeated
identical request.

Otherwise it may be best to test a larger set than is required, then
drop the busy ones. AMAs make this easy, as it is often possible to
derive one smaller AMA from a larger one to deliberately avoid some of
the addresses.

Yet a third method would be to try a number of contiguous or overlapping
AMAs, then drop those that tested busy and amalgamate the remaining ones
into one AMA (again often but not always possible).

The comments in this section on allocation of AMAs for applications
apply equally well to allocation of AMAs to allocation sub-authorities
in an allocation hierarchy. However, it is made clear in the section on
Probability of aggregation that allocation hierarchies per se are not a
panacea where multicast is concerned.

2.4.2 How a sending application would understand an AMA

This section is included to remind the reader that sending to an AMA
probably isn't a valid activity. As explained earlier, the concept of an
AMA doesn't exist in the context of sending. If the sending part of an
application includes understanding of sessions it may well utilise AMAs
(this is also a sure sign it hasn't been written in a structured way!).
However, the raw sending aspects will be direct to discrete multicast
addresses, and shouldn't involve AMAs, unless they are modelled as an
array of multicast addresses.

It might be desirable to send the same information to multiple multicast
group addresses using only one socket and one flow of packets through
the network. If a clear need for this were identified, it would be
sensible to use the same addressing scheme as AMAs provide. However, no
clear need is immediately apparent to the author, so it would not be
sensible to update APIs for sending to multicast sockets and the router
code that disseminates multicast packets so that they act on this extra

2.4.3 How a receiving host would join or leave an AMA

This is the other main use for AMAs besides in session initiation. An
application's request to join an AMA given in a session announcement or
invitation would be translated directly into a (future) IGMP call to
join that AMA as a single atomic action. If the AMA was a superset of
another AMA already having its soft-state joins regularly refreshed by
the stack, the stack would have to merge the two AMAs into one expanded
AMA (if it didn't the router would, before forwarding the joins).

Similarly, a call to leave an AMA would translate directly to a (future)
IGMP call to leave. If the call to leave an AMA resolved to a sub-set of
the multicast addresses previously joined, the router would be designed
to be able to handle contracting the size of the AMA it considered was
still of interest on that interface (or layer 2 address) down to the AMA
that mapped to the remaining addresses. The host stack would also have
to be able to contract its AMA for it to regularly refresh the soft-
state of the remaining joined addresses.

The stack would have to ensure the frequency of join refreshes remained
sufficient while it amalgamated or contracted down any out of phase AMA

AMAs can be used as a consistent computational type for addressing any
number of multicast addresses, whether the AMA resolves to many or just
a single multicast address. In fact, APIs (application programming
interfaces) could pre-empt the introduction of AMAs into the network, by
presenting AMAs to the programmer but having middleware or the stack
convert AMAs into sets of discrete multicast addresses until the network
is upgraded. However, it would be sensible for routers and protocols to
signify an AMA of size 1 by not storing or passing the aggregation size
parameters at all (see Further storage optimisation - this would help
backward compatibility too). Otherwise the efficiency benefits of the
scheme would be offset by the 25% increase in storage required for each
non-aggregated, isolated address. On the other hand, to hide AMAs from
those programmers not interested in sessions with multiple multicast
addresses, it may well be best to implement an API for AMAs by
overloading a similar one for discrete multicast addresses(iii).

2.4.4 How a receiving application would understand an AMA

All the comments above on the irrelevance (and possible relevance) of
AMAs to sending data apply equally to receiving.

2.4.5 How a router would aggregate AMAs

As a router received the equivalent of "join" and "leave" requests and
refreshed "joins" it would continually be looking for matches at two

1.   on the one hand, the router would continually attempt to merge
     incoming AMAs on a per interface basis to reduce the state being
     held in its tables.
2.   on the other, the router would attempt to aggregate the outgoing
     "join" refresh messages it forwarded upstream on a per-interface
     basis too.

AMAs can be aggregated at two levels (whether by a router, or by a
1.   where two or more AMAs share a common a (even if the masked bits
     are different) and m, overlapping s ranges can be merged
2.   where a whole set of combinations under a mask is present (s = 0),
     m can be incremented and this can be represented as half a full
     range at the wider level, which is then subject to further
     aggregation using the first technique again

Where multicast trees cross eachother (e.g. "b" and "c" in Fig 1), it
would be necessary to "de-aggregate" routing at the point where the
routes to the two roots diverge. As stated before, because AMAs can be
split as easily as they can be amalgamated, this is not a problem.
The section on Router Implementation should be referred to for more
detail on these matters.

2.4.6 How an application would expand or contract an AMA if required

As long as the overall application session was utilising an AMA with s =
smax, any one receiver could vary vmin and s around to utilise any
subset AMA of the larger AMA set  (useful for many simulation
applications). Thus contraction and re-expansion of individual joins is

To expand a session beyond the original smax but still with a single AMA
sometimes requires time for preparation of the ground and a degree of
luck. In all cases this is because one is attempting to acquire use of
extra multicast addresses without altering the addresses already being
used. This limits the sets of interesting multicast addresses to AMAs
that are related to the one in use. This is a limitation of the AMA
scheme when compared to schemes based on arbitrary masks such as [19]
(which has different limitations discussed under Related work). However,
this was a concious compromise to avoid the larger storage needed for
arbitrary masks as opposed to contiguous ones.

The following operations would (probably) be enacted by the address
allocation service in response to a request to increase the size of an
existing allocation (the uncertainty is because the detailed design of
such a service is outside the scope of this paper).

Firstly, if not already there, smax should be increased to 2^n and the
new addresses tested for prior allocation.

If enough addresses still aren't free, n can be incremented without
harm, then s can be doubled for every increment and the new addresses

If this doesn't find enough free addresses, keeping n incremented , vmin
can be changed while s is increased to try addresses related to the
current range which will still give the network a chance to aggregate
addresses as long as other receivers are co-operating within the same

If this doesn't work, one can look for a close but disjoint AMA (or
AMAs) and watch for a gap between the current AMA and the new one until
it can be closed by a superset AMA later.

Beyond that, the only solution is to give up and use more than one AMA,
but this is unlikely to be necessary.

2.5 Router implementation

The discussion in this section shouldn't be taken to imply that this is
the best way to implement multicast routing. It is simply necessary to
establish at high level that it would theoretically be possible to
modify multicast routing implementations to take advantage of AMAs.

Currently, the most general form of multicast routing table is a
database with (a usually large number of) rows for each unique
address/source pair as follows:

  a, S, fI, [fOj, ... fOk,] misc

where the variables are defined as:

  a          : multicast address
  S          : source
  fI         : incoming interface
  fOj ... fOk : list of outgoing interfaces to which to duplicate and
  forward packets
  misc       : other miscellaneous information not relevant to this
  paper (e.g. MTUs, prune state)

To take advantage of the aggregation and deaggregation potential of
AMAs, the most general modification to this would be for each row to
contain the following:

  a, m, S, [(tm, sm, fIh,), ... (tn, sn, fIi,)], [(tp, sp, fOj,), ...
  (tq, sq, fOk,)], misc

Here one row represents the routing for all the related AMAs that are
being aggregated and de-aggregated at this router with respect to one
source. We define related AMAs as AMAs that can be represented with the
same base address and mask, only differing in their offset and size.

This is illustrated in Fig 2. It should be noted that the three trees,
A1, A2 & A3 represent related AMAs, not discrete multicast trees
(although they could be AMAs of size one), because, as noted before,
routing is one of the contexts where AMAs can completely replace
discrete multicast addresses. Thus, for these related AMAs, only one set
of routing information would be passed in or out of each interface (e.g.
because all three AMAs "join" f4, only one routing message would enter
this interface for them all). Another way of defining related AMAs is to
say that it is possible to represent their union as a single AMA (we
will call this the super-AMA). The only distinction between the three
trees illustrated is that they represent the different sub-sets (of the
super-AMA) that share identical routing at this router. Each row such as
that presented above represents the complete routing definition for each
super-AMA at this router.

                        {See .ps or [28] for fig}
        Fig 2 - Aggregation and de-aggregation of multicast trees

The routing row for this super-AMA is similar to the previous row
structure, except that:
  ·  the multicast address field has subtly different semantics. It
     doesn't mean a single address, but it is taken to mean the base
     address with which all the offset/size pairs in the row are
     associated - the base address of the super-AMA.
  ·  the mask is included, which for IPv4, could be overlaid over the
     front of the base address as described under Further storage
  ·  each outgoing interface is associated with an offset/size pair(s)
     (t and s are as already defined under Construction of an AMA above)
     which defines the outgoing AMA on that interface when associated
     with the base address
  ·  there may me more than one incoming interface associated with all
     the related AMAs being de-aggregated at this router, each of which
     is listed with an offset/size pair(s) as for the outgoing

For example, if A1, A2 & A3 in Fig 2 were the three AMAs respectively:

  (a,m,17), (a,m,0, 31,42), (a,m,0, 20,37)

then the routing table entry for the super-AMA (a,m,42) with respect to
source S would be:

  a, m, S, [(0, 17, f1,), (20, 42, f3,)],
   [(0, 42, f4,), (0, 42, f5,), ((0, 17, 31, 42, f6,)], misc

When a packet arrives at the incoming interface, it's destination is
matched against the AMA associated with each outgoing interface. A match
causes it to be duplicated and forwarded out of that interface.

Obviously, the row structure above isn't the most efficient for routing
look-ups. It is more suited for routing updates. This suggests that a
read-optimised data-structure should be built from this write-optimised
structure and both held by the router, with the former being regularly
refreshed from the latter. This is similar to the way most unicast
routing is implemented. Whether there is one read-optimised table per
router or a number of sub-sets of the main table specific to each
interface is beyond the scope of this paper.

2.6 Derivation of recommended values for constants

The principles for choosing the constants for IPv4 have been laid out in
detail, so that they can be re-applied judiciously for IPv6 once (or
while) its multicast addressing scheme [18] is finalised.

wd = 4
It is an important design feature that the mask offset is contained
within the address, rather than added as another parameter outside the
address. This is because, as a packet arrives at the router, this offset
can be read to find the point at which any mask would be applied. This
should greatly speed the process of matching a packet against the AMAs
in the routing table. It also crams as much meaning into the address as
possible, reducing the extra state held in routers and passed in
protocols. The offset doesn't need to be varied as aggregation
progresses, so it makes sense for it to be a fixed value, and therefore
it might as well be part of the address.

For IPv4, a width of 4 for the offset was a compromise. Ideally the
width would have allowed any offset value across the remainder (28 -
wd). Note that, if the offset did allow the mask to start anywhere in
the remainder, this does not mean there would be no space in the
remainder that was guaranteed to always be outside the mask (e.g. for
address allocation related to the position of the tree root - see "How
an application would assign an AMA" above). This depends on the mask
width, not the offset size. Therefore, wd could have been set to 5
leaving the remainder 23 bits wide. However, this would only have used
half the value of the fifth bit, so 4 was chosen as a compromise between
availability of more descriptions for AMAs and utilisation of bits. It
should be noted that, because AMAs overlap in their use of addresses,
there are diminishing returns in having more ways to split the
description of sub-groups of the address space. Also a 5/23 split was
"binarily awkward" compared to a 4/24 split.

wm = 4
Some thought was given to limiting the mask to 3 bits wide. This would
have led to a maximum AMA size of 2^8, which would probably have been
adequate if just considering application aggregation. However, we hope
that higher level techniques will be found to enable considerable router
aggregation based on the foundations laid by AMAs. Limiting routers to
aggregation of just two orders of magnitude seemed short-sighted, when
using one more bit would raise the maximum aggregation limit to 2^16
(and align on a half-byte boundary). The importance of keeping the size
of m down, is that it is stored in the router for each AMA.
The bit mask is deliberately fixed on its right-hand end so that when m
is varied, the LSB of the mask stays in the same place otherwise large-
scale aggregation would be terribly hard.

ws = 0, 8 or 16
The discussion of this value's potential dependence on m is well
rehearsed under Further storage optimisation . The motivation for
keeping its size down is again router storage. It is expected that a
large number of values of s will be under 16 (at least in edge routers),
so it would be profligate to allocate a whole byte, let alone two just
because such bit-widths will be needed for higher level aggregation or
applications with more complex sessions.

m0 = 0
We could have made m0 = 1 but this would have led to an extra increment
operation every time the AMA was interpreted. Whether this is more
efficient than testing for m = 0 is debatable (machine instruction set
dependent). n = 0 could be made illegal rather than mapping it to 16,
which would only lose a few ridiculously large (?) aggregates.

Alternatively, we could even have made m0 = 2, on the grounds that AMAs
of size 2 are uninteresting, and AMAs of size 1 can be indicated by no
value of s. We decided against this on grounds of caution over lack of
elegance. If we put discontinuities in the maths, it makes it much more
difficult to build higher order mechanisms that are simple.

2.6.1 Statistics

Below are listed the number of distinct AMAs of a selection of sizes
(note they are not confined to powers of 2):
AMA size    distinct AMAs
{left as an exercise for the reader or until the author gets round to
working out the formula...}

2.7 Evolution

It is a simple matter to convert an AMA to the list of addresses it
refers to. It is also possible to convert lists of addresses into AMAs
or lists of AMAs.

AMA-enabled hosts and routers shouldn't send or forward joins or leaves
to routers that don't understand AMAs, they should convert the AMAs to
lists of discrete multicast addresses.

This assumes routers can determine which version of a multicast routing
protocol their upstream router for each interface is using. This should
be straightforward as version stamped routing will also be arriving at
the interface down that link (multi-host links will cause complications
for some routing protocols). This also assumes hosts can determine which
version of IGMP is being used by their upstream router which should be
possible, but is probably difficult.

Session descriptions would either have to use both forms for an interim
period, or parallel descriptions in the two versions would have to be
transmitted on different channels.

IGMP, multicast routing protocols and the session description protocols
could evolve independently as long as applications and AMA-enabled
routers had the capability installed to convert AMAs into lists of
discrete multicast addresses when necessary.

3. Related Work

The initial schemes for allocation of multicast addresses involve three
distinct classes of address:
  ·  addresses that are permanently assigned for specific purposes [23]
  ·  address ranges that are permanently assigned for certain uses [23],
     from which single addresses are intended to be temporarily assigned
  ·  an address range reserved for assignment within an administrative
     scope which may therefore safely have multiple assignments within
     multiple administrative domains [17]

For several years, multicast group addresses for public Mbone
(experimental Internet multicast backbone overlay) sessions have been
allocated using the sd (session directory) or sdr tools. In addition to
advertising multicast sessions based on the SDP [13], sd and sdr
encompass a proprietary mechanism for allocating multicast addresses to
sessions from an IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) defined
address range [23]. The algorithm used has not
been described publicly in detail, but is essentially random assignment
from the available addresses to ensure very efficient use of the address
space, but taking account of existing allocations to minimise the
probability of collisions. There is also a collision detection algorithm
included for the cases where an address is chosen simultaneously by
multiple parties.

Thus there is currently no standard mechanism for address allocation,
but the author of the sd tools recently agreed to publish the address
allocation mechanism from sdr as a separate protocol - Address
Allocation Protocol (AAP) [20] - which could be incorporated into other
address allocators.

Microsoft created an alternative means for allocation of multicast
addresses by extending their Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol,
originally designed to allocate temporary unicast addresses. Multicast
DHCP (M-DHCP) [22] will allocate multicast addresses, consistent with
the requested Administrative Scope (Link Local, Organisation Local,
Global, etc.) and with a `lease period', the effectiveness of which is
unproven. This lease period can be renewed if desired. The M-DHCP
authors recently removed all aspects of hierarchy from the M-
DHCP protocol, to confine it to allocating multicast addresses to hosts
initiating sessions, rather than also using it to allocate ranges of
addresses down allocation hierarchies. This was in response to criticism
over its static hierarchy and static allocation wasting the address
space. All aspects of multicast address hierarchy, and allocation policy
are expected to be handled by a separate protocol, such as AAP (see

Where allocation of ranges of addresses to organisations is concerned
there is concensus among the known proposals that these should not be
static. Range allocations should be over one (longish) timescale with
the allocation of addresses from within that range for the duration of
individual sessions. The intention is to avoid long term "ownership" of
addresses ranges by assuring organisations that they will be able to
have addresses on demand as long as they co-operate with everyone else
in returning unused address space. Thus the multicast address allocation
proposals are distinct from unicast in the following aspects:
  ·  No fixed assignments of address ranges to IP domains - address
     ranges are claimed as needed
  ·  Random allocation of addresses to sessions within a domain
  ·  Allocations of addresses have finite lifetimes

The MASC (Multicast Address Set Claim) [21] is one such proposal. This
is work in progress but the outline of the mechanism as described by the
authors is as follows:
  1. The ISP (Internet Service Provider) claims an address set (in
     general, the ISP's next level provider will be in control of address
     allocation to the ISP)
  2. Address ranges will be allocated for a set lifetime and in such a
     way that they may be aggregated. Allocation will take account of
     administratively scoped multicast addresses.
  3. The ISP then advertises this address range to other domains using
     BGP4++ [21] (or similar mechanism). All border routers will thus
     hear these announcements. It waits a certain time, however, (typ. 3
     days) before using the address range, to detect collisions
  4. Address allocation mechanisms (such as AAP or M-DHCP (see below))
     will listen to announcements and allocate addresses to sessions

A possibility being investigated for MASC address range allocation is
"Kampai style" addressing [19] which uses a non-continuous mask to
define the allocated range so is more flexible when range sizes need to
be arbitrarily increased or decreased. However, Kampai-style addressing
allocates ranges in sizes that are powers of two and hence could be very
wasteful where large ranges are concerned. Although there is brief
consideration of a way to remove this restriction, it is admitted it
will be more complex and hasn't been thought through.

The BGMP (Border Gateway Multicast Protocol) draft [24], proposes a new
architecture for Inter-Domain IP multicast:
  1. Address ranges are associated (at least temporarily) with domains,
     allocated using the MASC mechanism described above.
  2. These address ranges will be advertised globally. The proposal is
     that BGP4 will be used for this, given the proposed Multiprotocol
     Extensions [21]. Thus, multicast address ranges will be advertised
     in much the same way as unicast IPv4 NLRIs are advertised in BGP4
     now. They will be advertised at least a day in advance of use, to
     enable any clashes of address allocation to be resolved.
  3. A multicast session initiated within a domain will be allocated an
     address from within the domain's multicast address assignment.
  4. BGMP then assumes an inter-domain shared tree, for which the `root
     domain' (the focal domain of the shared tree) is the domain owning
     the address.

Some alternative ideas generated while preparing this paper (but
rejected in favour of the scheme presented) are recorded elsewhere [25]

4. Limitations and Further Work

The ability to do large-scale aggregation is based on hope that higher
level organisation will be achieved. This scheme "feels" as if it is a
good foundation for solutions to these problems, but the author can't
give any guarantees without more work. This implies it will be necessary
to simulate, build, test & refine.

Aggregation of multicast addresses by this scheme will probably mean it
is more efficient for routers to store multicast routing state keyed on
interface than on multicast address. In other words, a table of
aggregated multicast addresses would be held for each interface, rather
than a table of interfaces for each address. The implications of this
need investigation.

The problem of how a router would efficiently look up each multicast
packet in a table of AMAs has been deliberately left to one side.
Because AMAs are logically similar to unicast address prefixes, similar
techniques should be appropriate. This may not appear obvious, because
an AMA is more obfuscated than a unicast routing prefix. Briefly, the
first item to be extracted from an incoming packet would be d. This
would point to where the mask started. The eight bits to the right of
this mask would then be guaranteed to be unmasked (invariant), so d and
this octet could be looked up in a Patricia trie or similar but more
efficient data-structure [16]. The two potentially masked octets would
then have to be built into another similar look-up table. Finding any
one address in this structure would again be akin to the longest prefix
(shortest mask) problem.

It is possible that m is redundant, but it is believed that keeping it
will make the aggregation maths a lot easier .

Applicability of AMAs as a solution to reliable multicast
clustering/layering needs assessment.

Applicability of AMAs for aggregation in RSVP (reservation protocol)
[27] when used for multicast needs assessment.

Further work is needed on the potential for using AMAs to insulate
upstream routers from high join/leave churn by introducing pessimistic
inertia in the aggregation. The effect on leave latency (particularly
where used for congestion control in layered multicast) would need
careful study.

The assertion that the weak capability for allocation growth (as
compared to kampai-style addressing) is offset by more efficient storage
needs more justification.

It is believed that, due to topological realities, aggregation in the
network will never approach the aggregation  potential of applications
that use sessions with multiple multicast addresses. This would be a
strong argument against aggregation schemes that are not end to end, but
this needs proving.

Evolution from current versions of protocols needs more careful

The design of an AMA scheme for IPv6 [18] needs to be done.
ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) multicast may benefit from a scheme
based on similar thinking?

5. Security Considerations

Phasing of AMA aggregation in routers must be designed carefully so that
it is not possible for one user to join to an AMA that overlaps a
neighbouring join, then leave the AMA and cause the neighbours to lose
their join before their soft-state refresh re-instates it.

It is possible that the aggregation of multicast addresses into sets for
use in the description of complex sessions will cause service providers
to hoard multicast addresses more than when they are allocated singly.
The scheme has been carefully designed to avoid such a tendency on
technical grounds, but predicting how selfish people adapt based on
their understanding of a mechanism moves us into the realms of
psychology where anything goes. In other words, address hoarding
shouldn't be any worse than the situation was without this proposal as
long as people don't misunderstand.

This proposal is considered independent of all aspects of the security
of (encrypted, tamper-proofed, authenticated etc.) multicasts.

6. Conclusions

A strong case has been made that, for multicast addresses to be open to
aggregation, there must be a standard way to name arbitrary size groups
of addresses. An efficient, elegant technique for doing this has been
presented which gives equal value to each point of the multicast address
space, thus preserving the principle of randomness designed to prevent
address hoarding. These names have been called aggregated multicast
addresses (AMAs).

For IPv4, AMAs look like a 32 bit IP address coupled with, typically, an
extra octet (but more generally with two octets) representing the size
of the aggregation of addresses. The list of addresses that form the
aggregation are defined by identifying a string of bits (of defined
width) within the address, which are incremented as if they were a
binary number in their own right until the aggregation size is reached.
All but the first four bits of the address-like component represents the
base address of the aggregation from which the incrementation starts.
Because multicast addresses always(iv) start with the same four bits in
IPv4 (1110b), the first four bits of an AMA can be used to store another
value in transit and storage, but replaced by 1110b to derive the base
multicast address of the aggregation when required.  The value stored in
the first four bits of an AMA represents the width of the field within
the AMA which varies to define the list of addresses. Related but
disjoint AMAs can also be represented efficiently by using the most
general AMA form: an AMA followed by a sequence of alternating pairs of
numbers which represent respectively a further jump from the based
address then a further size of aggregation on top of this.

In the scheme recommended for IPv4, potentially an arbitrary-sized
aggregation of any size up to 2^16 - 1 multicast addresses could be
represented by a field the size of an IPv4 address (4B) plus 2B (256kB
reduced to 6B). However, it should be understood, that such ultra-large-
scale aggregation has a low probability of happening without higher-
level organisation of the address space by end-systems. First or second
order aggregation will occur naturally under this scheme due to the
large class of applications that build sessions from multiple multicast
addresses. Medium-scale aggregation will be possible where routers can
identify overlap or concatenation within multicast routing tables, which
was not possible before without a way to describe aggregations of
multicast addresses. This is because the AMA scheme is inherently
recursive, so that it is possible to merge certain sets of AMAs into one
AMA. To improve the chances of aggregation in multicast routing tables,
address set allocation schemes must fulfil certain criteria that are
laid down in this paper.

The proposal is that AMAs will completely replace multicast addresses in
contexts where aggregation makes sense, that is when describing,
joining, leaving or updating the routing of multicast addresses. For
sending data to and receiving data from multicast addresses,
aggregation, and therefore AMAs, are not relevant. This implies
protocols for describing multicast sessions (such as SDP, SAP, SIP, RSVP
etc.) and protocols for updating the routing of multicast addresses
(such as IGMP, DVMRP, CBT, PIM) will all need to be updated to handle
AMAs in place of discrete multicast addresses. Independent evolution of
all these protocols is considered to be reasonably straightforward.
Although this represents a major round of protocol upgrades, all these
protocols are experimental, and it is a commonly held view that
multicast as it stands is not sufficiently scalable for wide-area

It should be clarified that, although joining and leaving aggregates of
multicast addresses can be achieved in single bulk operations, AMAs
deliberately overlap in their use of individual addresses. Thus,
allocation remains on a per address basis. In other words, when joining
an AMA, it may be found that some of the addresses within it are in use
if a strong address allocation scheme is not in use. An AMA allocation
procedure is described in the text for mutating the AMA to cover an
overlapping set of addresses to avoid those addresses in use while
testing different addresses, until a full set of unused addresses is
obtained without losing the addresses in the original AMA that were

To summarise, we have presented a new paradigm(v) for multicasting, such
that describing, joining, leaving and updating multicast routing can and
should all be discussed in terms of aggregates of multicast addresses
(even if they are of size unity) rather than discrete multicast
addresses. We have introduced an efficient, elegant way to name such
aggregates that preserves all the architectural principles on which
multicast addressing is founded, and which will allow potentially large-
scale aggregation of multicast addressing by both end-systems and
routers in end to end co-operation.

7. Acknowledgements

Peter Bagnall, BT, for reviews and suggestions.

8. References

[1] S. McCanne, V. Jacobson, and M. Vetterli, (LBNL/UCB) "Receiver-
driven Layered Multicast", In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM'96,
Stanford, California, pp.1-14. Aug 1996,

[2] S.E.Deering, "Multicast Routing in Internetworks and Extended LANs",
In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM'88, Stanford, California, Aug 1988

[3] S.E.Deering (Stanford U.), "Host Extensions for IP Multicasting",
IETF RFC, Aug 1989 <rfc1112.txt>

[4] W. Fenner (Xerox PARC), "Internet Group Management Protocol, Version
2", IETF Internet Draft, 01 Nov 1997, <draft-ietf-idmr-igmp-v2-08.txt>

[5] D. Waitzman, C. Partridge, S. Deering, "Distance Vector Multicast
Routing Protocol" v1,  IETF RFC, Nov 1988, <rfc1075.txt>

[6] T. Pusateri (Juniper Networks), "Distance Vector Multicast Routing
Protocol", IETF Internet Draft, 30 Oct 1997, <draft-ietf-idmr-dvmrp-v3-

[7] A.Ballardie, J.Crowcroft, "Core Based Trees: An Architecture for
Scalable Inter-Domain Multicast Routing", In Proceedings of the ACM
SIGCOMM'93, San Francisco, Sep 1993

[8] A. Ballardie, "Core Based Trees (CBT) Multicast Routing
Architecture", IETF RFC, Sep 1997, <rfc2201.txt>

[9] A. Ballardie, "Core Based Trees (CBT version 2) Multicast Routing",
IETF RFC, Sep 1997, <rfc2189.txt>

[10] S.E.Deering, D.Estrin, D.Farinacci, V.Jacobsen, L.Ching-Gung and
L.Wei, "An Architecture for Wide-Area Multicasting". In Proceedings of
the ACM SIGCOMM'94, London, Sep 1994

[11] Deering, S, et. al., "Protocol Independent Multicast Version 2,
Dense Mode Specification", IETF Internet Draft, 28 May 1997 <draft-ietf-

[12] Estrin, D, et. al., "Protocol Independent Multicast Sparse-Mode
(PIM-SM): Protocol Specification", IETF Internet Draft, 9 Sep 1997,

[13] M. Handley (ISI) and V. Jacobson (LBNL), "SDP: Session Description
Protocol", IETF Internet Draft, 02 Sep 1997, <draft-ietf-mmusic-sdp-

[14] M. Handley (ISI), "SAP - Session Announcement Protocol", IETF
Internet Draft (currently expired, see Multiparty Multimedia Session
Control IETF working group charter for status

[15] M. Handley (ISI), H. Schulzrinne (Columbia U.), E. Schooler
(Caltech), "SIP: Session Initiation Protocol", IETF Internet Draft, 13
Nov 1997, <draft-ietf-mmusic-sip-04.ps>

[16] M.Degermark, A.Brodnik, S.Carlsson, S.Pink, "Small Forwarding
Tables for Fast Routing Look-ups", In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM'97,
Cannes, France, Sep 1997

[17] D. Meyer, University of Oregon, "Administratively Scoped IP
Multicast", IETF Internet Draft, Nov 1997, <draft-ietf-mboned-admin-ip-

[18] R. Hinden, Ipsilon Networks and S. Deering, Xerox PARC, "IP Version
6 Addressing Architecture", IETF RFC <rfc1884.txt>

[19] P. Tsuchiya, Bellcore, "Efficient and flexible Hierarchical Address
Assignment", to be published - author's address:

[20] M. Handley (ISI), "AAP: Address Allocation Protocol"
(presentation), In Proceedings of the 39th IETF (mmusic working group)

[21] D. Estrin (ISI), M. Handley (ISI) and D. Thaler (Merit), "MASC:
Multicast Address Set Claim" (presentation), In Proceedings of the 39th
IETF (idmr working group) <http://www.ietf.org/proceedings/97aug/toc-

[21] Tony Bates et al., Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, "Multiprotocol
Extensions for BGP-4", 26 Sep 1997, <draft-ietf-idr-bgp4-multiprotocol-

[22] Baiju V. Patel, Intel Corp, Munil Shah, Microsoft Corp. "Multicast
address allocation extensions to the Dynamic Host Configuration
Protocol", IETF Internet Draft, 24 Nov 1997, <draft-ietf-dhc-mdhcp-

[23] Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, "Internet Multicast
Addresses", <ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/iana/assignments/multicast-

[24] D. Thaler (U. Michigan), D. Estrin (USC/ISI) and  D. Meyer (U.
Oregon) , "Border Gateway Multicast Protocol (BGMP): Protocol
Specification", IETF Internet Draft, 30 Oct 1997, <draft-ietf-idmr-gum-

[25] R. Briscoe, "Rejected ideas for End to End Aggregation of Multicast
Addresses", 13 Nov 1997,

[26] M. Handley, "Multicast address allocation", in archive of postings
to ipmulticast mailing list, 19 Jun 1997,

[27] L. Zhang, S. Deering, D. Estrin, S. Shenker, and D. Zappala, "RSVP:
A New Resource ReSerVation Protocol" In IEEE Network, Sep 1993,

[28] This paper itself, in HTML format

9. Authors' Addresses

Bob Briscoe
   B54/74 BT Labs
   Martlesham Heath
   Ipswich, IP5 3RE
   Phone: +44 1473 645196
   Fax:   +44 1473 640929
   EMail: briscorj@boat.bt.com
   Home page: http://www.labs.bt.com/people/briscorj/

Dr Martin Tatham
   B29/129 BT Labs
   Martlesham Heath
   Ipswich, IP5 3RE
   Phone: +44 1473 642498
   Fax:   +44 1473 640709
   EMail: martin.tatham@bt-sys.bt.co.uk


i) Pronounced as in "If I 'ad an AMA" (American civil rights song in a
cockney accent).

ii) The multicast addresses that are within the bit mask defined by the
width m, but not between vmin & vmax (defined by vmin and s) are not
"wasted" by using an AMA. In the example used above, the addresses with
v = 001, 010 & 011 are not reserved by the AMA. They can be used by a
completely different application and different set of users. The bit
mask is just a way of narrowing the context of the s parameter (to
define when it wraps). It causes no direct effect on address space
utilisation, but without it, it is believed aggregation would be a lot
more difficult.

iii) Application programs and even routers should never need to know the
list of multicast addresses that an AMA resolves to (other than for
evolution from today's protocols). They will not need to bit shift along
multicast addresses to find the value of d, then bit shift d bits back
from the end to find the mask etc. The AMA tuple can be used by
applications in all cases in place of listing the set of addresses it
resolves to {this statement needs proving, mind - I haven't worked
through AMA aggregation, expansion and contraction maths yet, but we
live in hope!}.

iv) A discussion of the issues if this turns out to not always be the
case is under the section on "Further storage optimisation".

v) There are some places where the "p word" really is appropriate.