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Versions: 01 02 03 04 05                                                
Network Working Group                             Steven Deering (XEROX)
Internet Draft                                      Deborah Estrin (USC)
Expire in six months                              Dino Farinacci (CISCO)
                                                      Mark Handley (UCL)
                                                       Ahmed Helmy (USC)
                                                      Van Jacobson (LBL)
                                                     Chinggung Liu (USC)
                                                     Puneet Sharma (USC)
                                                    David Thaler (UMICH)
                                                      Liming Wei (CISCO)

draft-ietf-idmr-pim-arch-04.txt                        October 24, 1996

   Protocol Independent Multicast-Sparse Mode (PIM-SM):  Motivation  and

   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.  Internet  Drafts  may  be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by
   other documents at any time.  It is not appropriate to  use  Internet
   Drafts  as  reference  material  or  to  cite  them  other  than as a
   ``working'' draft'' or ``work in progress.''

   Please check the I-D abstract  listing  contained  in  each  Internet
   Draft  directory  to  learn  the  current status of this or any other
   Internet Draft.

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   Traditional multicast  routing  mechanisms  (e.g.  DVMRP  and
   MOSPF  [1][2])  were intended for use within regions where groups are
   widely represented or bandwidth is universally plentiful. When  group
   members, and senders to those group members, are distributed
   sparsely across a wide area, these schemes are not  efficient;  data
   packets  or  membership report information are periodically sent over
   many links that do  not lead to receivers or  senders,  respectively.
   This  characteristic  lead  the  Internet  community  to  investigate
   multicast   routing   architectures   that   efficiently    establish
   distribution  trees across wide-area internets, where many groups are
   sparsely represented and where bandwidth is not  uniformly  plentiful
   due   to   the  distances  and  multiple  administrations  traversed.
   Efficiency is evaluated  in  terms  of  the  state,  control  message
   processing,  and  data  packet  processing required across the entire
   network in order to deliver data packets to the members of the group.

   The   Protocol   Independent    Multicast--Sparse    Mode    (PIM-SM)

        (a)   maintains the traditional IP multicast  service  model  of
             receiver-initiated membership;

        (b)    uses  explicit  joins  that  propagate  hop-by-hop   from
             members' directly connected routers toward the distribution

        (c)   builds a shared multicast distribution tree centered at  a
             Rendezvous Point, and then builds source-specific trees for
             those sources whose data traffic warrants it.

        (d)   is not dependent on a specific unicast  routing  protocol;

        (e)   uses soft-state mechanisms to adapt to underlying  network
             conditions and group dynamics.

        The robustness, flexibility,  and  scaling  properties  of  this
        architecture  make  it well suited to large heterogeneous inter-

        This document motivates and describes the  PIM-SM  architecture.
        Companion  documents  describe  the detailed protocol mechanisms
        for PIM-SM and PIM-DM, respectively [3][4].

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     1 Introduction

        This document describes an architecture for efficiently  routing
        to  multicast  groups that may span wide-area (and inter-domain)
        internets. We refer to  the  approach  as  Protocol  Independent
        Multicast-Sparse  Mode  (PIM-SM)  because it is not dependent on
        any  particular  unicast  routing  protocol.   Throughout   this
        document  we will use the shorter term PIM, to mean PIM-SM. When
        we are referring to the PIM Dense  Mode  protocol  we  will  say
        PIM-DM explicitly.

        The most significant innovation  in  this  architecture  is  the
        efficient support of sparse, wide area groups. This  sparse mode
        (SM) of operation  complements  the  traditional   dense-mode
        approach  to multicast routing for campus networks, as developed
        by Deering [5][6] and implemented in  MOSPF  and  DVMRP  [1][2].
        These traditional dense mode multicast schemes were intended for
        use within regions  where  a  group  is  widely  represented  or
        bandwidth is universally plentiful. However, when group members,
        and senders to those groups, are distributed sparsely  across
        a  wide  area, these schemes are not efficient; data packets (in
        the case of DVMRP) or membership report information (in the case
        of  MOSPF)  are occasionally sent over many links that do not
        lead to receivers or senders, respectively. The purpose of  this
        work  is  to  develop  a  multicast  routing  architecture  that
        efficiently establishes distribution trees even when members are
        sparsely  distributed.  Efficiency  is evaluated in terms of the
        state, control message, and data packet overhead required across
        the  entire  network  in  order  to  deliver data packets to the
        members of the group.

     1.1 Definition of Terms (Glossary):
        Following  is  a list  of  terms  and  definitions
        used throughout this document, in alphabetical order.
        This is a subset of  the  glossary  list  that  appears  in  the
        protocol specification.

        *    Asserts. The  process  of  choosing  a  single  router  to
             forward  multicast  packets from a particular source onto a
             particular LAN segment. The need for  Asserts  arises  when
             a LAN segment has multiple directly-connected routers with
             routes to the source.

        *    Bootstrap router (BSR). A BSR is a  dynamically  elected
             router   within   a  PIM  domain.  It  is  responsible  for
             constructing the RP-Set and originating Bootstrap messages.

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        *    Candidate-BSR (C-BSR). A C-BSR is a router configured to
             participate in the BSR election and act as BSRs if elected.

        *    Dense-mode (DM). A generic term referring to a multicast
             routing protocol that is optimized for dense groups. DVMRP,
             MOSPF, and Dense-mode PIM are examples.

        *    Designated  Router  (DR).  The  DR  is  the  highest  IP
             addressed  PIM  router on a multi-access LAN. Normally, the
             DR sets up multicast route entries and sends  corresponding
             Join/Prune  and  Register  messages  on behalf of directly-
             connected receivers and sources, respectively. The  DR  may
             or  may  not be the same router as the IGMP Querier. The DR
             may or may not be the long-term, last-hop  router  for  the
             group, or a particular source that is sending to the group;
             a router on the LAN that has a lower metric  route  to  the
             data source, or to the group's RP, may take over that role.

        *    Incoming interface (iif). The iif of a  multicast  route
             entry  indicates  the  interface  from which multicast data
             packets are accepted for forwarding. The iif is initialized
             when the entry is created.

        *    Join list. The Join list is one of two lists of IP unicast
             addresses  that  is  included in a Join/Prune message; each
             address refers to  a  source  or  RP.  It  indicates  those
             sources  or  RPs  to  which  downstream receiver(s) wish to

        *    Last-hop router. The last-hop router is the router which
             forwards   multicast  data  packets  to  directly-connected
             member hosts. In general the last-hop router is the DR  for
             the  LAN.  However,  under  various conditions described in
             this document a parallel router connected to the  same  LAN
             may take over as the last-hop router in place of the DR.

        *    Member. A host that desires to receive multicast datagrams
             for a group. This host need not be a sender to the group. A
             Member is synonymously called a  Receiver.

        *    Outgoing interface  (oif)  list.  Each  multicast  route

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             has an oif list containing the outgoing interfaces to which
             multicast packets matching that entry should be forwarded.

        *    Prune List. The Prune  list  is  the  second  list  of  IP
             unicast addresses that is included in a Join/Prune message.
             It indicates those sources or  RPs  from  which  downstream
             receiver(s) wish to prune.

        *    PIM Multicast Border Router (PMBR). A  PMBR  connects  a
             PIM domain to other multicast routing domain(s).

        *    Rendezvous  Point  (RP).  Each  multicast  group  has  a
             shared-tree  via which receivers hear of sources. The RP is
             the root of this per-group shared tree, called the RP-Tree.
             Candidate-RPs  are routers configured to participate as RPs
             for some (or all) groups.

        *    RP-Set. The BSR for a PIM region constructs a set of  RP
             IP addresses based on Candidate-RP advertisements received.
             The RP-Set information is distributed to all PIM routers in
             a domain in a Bootstrap message.

        *    Reverse Path Forwarding (RPF). RPF is used to select the
             appropriate  incoming interface for a multicast route entry
             . The RPF neighbor for an IP address X is the the  next-hop
             router  used to forward packets toward X. The RPF interface
             is the interface to that RPF neighbor. In the  common  case
             this  is  the next hop used by the unicast routing protocol
             for sending unicast packets toward X. For example, in cases
             where  unicast  and  multicast routes are not congruent, it
             can be different.

        *    Route entry. A multicast route entry is state maintained
             in a router along the distribution tree and is created, and
             updated based on incoming control  messages,  and  in  some
             cases  data  packets. The route entry may be different from
             the forwarding entry; the latter is used  to  forward  data
             packets  in  real time. Typically a forwarding entry is not
             created until data packets arrive, the  forwarding  entry's

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             iif  and  oif list are copied from the route entry, and the
             forwarding entry may be flushed and recreated at will.

        *    Shared Tree (RP tree). The set of paths  connecting  all
             receivers  of  a group to its RP is the RP tree. A receiver
             on the RP tree receives packets from  all  sources  of  the
             group,  except  those  sources  that were pruned off the RP

        *    Shortest path tree (SPT).  The  SPT  is  the  multicast
             distribution  tree  created  by  the  merger  of all of the
             shortest paths that connect receivers  to  the  source  (as
             determined by unicast routing).

        *    Source. A host that sends multicast datagrams to a  group.
             A  Source  is  not  required  to  be  a member. A Source is
             synonymously called a Sender.

        *    Sparse  Mode  (SM).  Sparse  mode  PIM  uses   explicit
             Join/Prune messages and Rendezvous points in place of Dense
             Mode PIM's and DVMRP's broadcast and prune mechanism.

        *    Wildcard (WC) multicast route entry. Wildcard  multicast
             route entries are those entries that may be used to forward
             packets for any source  sending  to  the  specified  group.
             Wildcard  bits  in  the  join  list of a Join/Prune message
             represent either a (*,G) or (*,*,RP)  join;  in  the  prune
             list they represent a (*,G) prune.

        *    (S,G) route entry.  (S,G)  is  a  source-specific  route
             entry.  It  may  be  created  in  response to data packets,
             Join/Prune messages, or Asserts. The (S,G) state in routers
             creates a source-rooted, shortest path (or reverse shortest
             path) distribution tree. (S,G)RPT bit entries  are  source-
             specific  entries  on the shared RP-Tree; these entries are
             used to prune particular sources off of the shared tree.

        *    (*,G) route entry. Group members join the shared RP-Tree
             for  a  particular group. This tree is represented by (*,G)
             multicast route entries along the  shortest  path  branches

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             between the RP and the group members.

        *    (*,*,RP)  route  entry.  PMBRs  join  toward  all   RPs
             supporting  non-local  groups,  within  their PIM domain in
             order to pull packets generated within the  region  out  to
             the  borders  of the region. The routers along the shortest
             path branches between the RP(s) and the PMBRs keep (*,*,RP)
             state and use it to determine how to deliver packets toward
             the PMBRs if data packets arrive for which there is  not  a
             longer match.

     1.2 Background

        In the traditional dense-mode IP multicast model, established by
        Deering  [6], a  multicast address is assigned to the collection
        of receivers for a multicast  group.  Senders  simply  use  that
        address  as  the  destination  address  of a packet to reach all
        members of the group. The separation of  senders  and  receivers
        allows  any  host,  member  or non-member, to send to a group. A
        group membership protocol (IGMP) [7][8] is used for  routers  to
        learn the existence of members on their directly attached
        This receiver-initiated join procedure  has  very  good  scaling
        properties;  as  the  group grows, it becomes more likely that a
        new receiver will be able to splice onto a nearby branch of  the
        distribution  tree. A multicast routing protocol, in the form of
        an extension to  existing  unicast  protocols  (e.g.  DVMRP,  an
        extension  to  a  RIP-like  distance-vector unicast protocol; or
        MOSPF, an extension to the link-state unicast protocol OSPF), is
        executed on routers to construct multicast packet delivery paths
        and to accomplish multicast data packet forwarding.

        In the case of link-state protocols, changes of group membership
        on  a  subnetwork  are  detected  by one of the routers directly
        attached to that subnetwork,  and  that  router  broadcasts  the
        information to all other routers in the same routing domain [9].
        Each router  maintains  an  up-to-date  image  of  the  domain's
        topology  through  the unicast link-state routing protocol. Upon
        receiving a multicast data packet, the router uses the  topology
        information  and  the  group membership information to determine
        the shortest-path tree (SPT) from the packet's source subnetwork
        to  its  destination  group  members. Broadcasting of membership
        information is one major factor preventing link-state  multicast
        from  scaling  to  larger,  wide-area, networks --- every router
        must receive and store membership information for every group in
        the domain. The other major factor is the processing cost of the
        Dijkstra shortest-path-tree calculations  performed  to  compute

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        the delivery trees for all active multicast sources [10] for all
        groups, thus limiting  its  applicability  on  an  internet-wide

        Distance-vector multicast routing protocols construct  multicast
        distribution  trees  using  variants  of Reverse Path Forwarding
        (RPF) [11]. When the first data packet is sent to a group from a
        particular source subnetwork, and a router receiving this packet
        has no knowledge  about  the  group,  the  router  forwards  the
        incoming   packet   out   all  interfaces  except  the  incoming
        interface.  (Some  schemes  reduce  the   number   of   outgoing
        interfaces further by using unicast routing protocol information
        to keep track of child-parent  information  [6][2].)  A  special
        mechanism  is  used  to avoid forwarding of data packets to leaf
        subnetworks with  no  members  in  that  group  (also  known  as
        truncated  broadcasting).  Also if the arriving data packet does
        not come through the interface that  the  router  uses  to  send
        packets  to  the  source  of the data packet, the data packet is
        silently dropped; thus the term Reverse  Path  Forwarding  [11].
        When  a  router  attached  to a leaf subnetwork, receives a data
        packet addressed to a new group, if it finds no members  present
        on  its  attached subnetworks, it sends a prune message upstream
        towards the source of the data packet. The prune messages  prune
        the  tree  branches not leading to group members, thus resulting
        in a source-specific shortest-path tree with all  leaves  having
        members.  Pruned  branches  will  ``grow  back'' after a time-out
        period; these branches will again be pruned if there  are  still
        no  multicast  members  and data packets are still being sent to
        the group.

        Compared with  the  total  number  of  destinations  within  the
        greater  internet,  the  number  of  destinations  having  group
        members of any particular wide-area group  is  likely  to  be
        small.  More  importantly,  bandwidth limitations, and therefore
        data and control message overhead, should not be  ignored  in  a
        wide  area  context.  In  the  case of distance-vector multicast
        schemes, routers that are not on  the  multicast  delivery  tree
        still have to carry the periodic truncated-broadcast of packets,
        and process the subsequent pruning of branches  for  all  active
        groups.   One  particular  distance-vector  multicast  protocol,
        DVMRP, has been deployed in hundreds of regions connected by the
        MBONE   [12].  However,  its  occasional  broadcasting  behavior
        severely limits its  capability  to  scale  to  larger  networks
        supporting  much  larger  numbers  of  groups, many of which are

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     1.3 Extending multicast to the wide area: scaling issues

        The scalability of a multicast  protocol  can  be  evaluated  in
        terms  of  its  overhead  growth  with the size of the internet,
        numbers of receivers or sources per group, number of groups, and
        distribution   of  group  receivers  and  senders.  Overhead  is
        evaluated in terms of resources consumed in routers  and  links,
        i.e., state, processing, and bandwidth.

        Existing dense-mode  link-state  and  distance-vector  multicast
        routing schemes have good scaling properties only when multicast
        groups densely populate the network of  interest,  or  when  the
        overhead  of  dense-mode operation is negligible relative to the
        network resources. When most of the  subnets  or  links  in  the
        (inter)network  have  group members, then the bandwidth, storage
        and  processing  overhead  of  broadcasting  membership  reports
        (link-state),  or  data  packets (distance-vector) is warranted,
        since the information or data packets are needed in  most  parts
        of  the  network  anyway. The emphasis of our work is to develop
        multicast protocols  that  will  also  efficiently  support  the
        sparsely distributed groups that are likely to be most prevalent
        in   wide-area,   multi-administration,   inter-networks   where
        resources must be used more conservatively.

     1.4 Overhead and tree types

                [Figures are present only in the postscript version]
                       Fig. 1  Example of Multicast Trees

        The examples in Figure 1 illustrate the inadequacies  of  dense-
        mode  mechanisms when supporting sparse, wide area groups. There
        are three domains that communicate via an internet. There  is  a
        member of a particular group, G, located in each of the domains.
        There are no other members of this group currently active in the
        internet.  If  a traditional IP multicast routing mechanism such
        as DVMRP is used, then when a source in domain
         A starts to send  to  the  group,  its  data  packets  will  be
        broadcast throughout the entire internet. Subsequently all those
        sites that do not have local members will  send  prune  messages

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        and  the  distribution  tree  will stabilize to that illustrated
        with bold lines  in  Figure  1(b).  However,  periodically,  the
        source's   packets  will  be  broadcast  throughout  the  entire
        internet when the pruned-off branches times out.

        Thus far we have motivated our design by contrasting it  to  the
        traditional  dense-mode IP multicast routing protocols. The Core
        Based Tree (CBT) protocol [13] was proposed to  address  similar
        scaling problems in support of sparse-mode multicast. CBT uses a
        single delivery tree for each group, rooted at one  of  a  small
        set  of  ``core'' routers and shared by all senders to the group.
        CBT does not exhibit the  occasional  broadcasting  or  flooding
        behavior  of earlier protocols. However, CBT does so at the cost
        of imposing a single shared tree for each multicast group.

        If CBT were used to support the example group, then a core might
        be defined in domain A, and the distribution tree illustrated in
        Figure 1(c) would be established. This distribution  tree  would
        also be used by sources sending from domains B and C. This would
        result in concentration of all  sources'  traffic  on  the  path
        indicated  with  bold  lines.  We  refer  to  this  as   traffic
        concentration. This is a potentially significant issue with
        any protocol that imposes a single shared tree per group. In
        addition, the packets traveling from  Y to  Z  will  not  travel
        via the shortest path used by unicast packets between  Y and  Z.

        [Figures are present only in the postscript version]
        Fig. 2  Comparison of shortest-path trees and center-based tree

        We need to know the kind of degradations a core-based  tree  can
        incur in average networks. David Wall [14] proved that the bound
        on maximum delay of an optimal core-based tree (which he  called
        a  center-based tree) is 2 times the shortest-path delay. To
        get a better understanding of how well optimal core-based  trees
        perform  in  average  cases,  we simulated an optimal core-based
        tree algorithm over large number of different random graphs.  We
        measured  the  maximum delay within each group, and experimented
        with graphs of different node degrees. We show the ratio of  the
        CBT  maximum  delay  versus  shortest-path tree maximum delay in
        Figure 2(a). For each node degree, we tried  500  different  50-
        node  graphs  with  10-member  groups chosen randomly. It can be
        seen that the maximum delays of core-based  trees  with  optimal

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        core  placement,  are up to 1.4 times greater than shortest-path
        trees. Note that although some error bars  in  the  delay  graph
        extend  below  1,  there are no real data points below 1 --- the
        distribution is not symmetric, for more details  see  [15].  For
        interactive  applications  where  low latency is critical, it is
        desirable to use the shortest-path trees  to  avoid  the  longer
        delays of an optimal core-based tree.

        With respect to the potential traffic concentration problem,  we
        also   conducted   simulations  in  randomly  generated  50-node
        networks. In each network, there  were  300  active  groups  all
        having  40  members,  of  which 32 members were also senders. We
        measured the number  of  traffic  flows  on  each  link  of  the
        network,  then  recorded  the maximum number within the network.
        For each  node  degree  between  three  and  eight,  500  random
        networks  were  generated,  and  the  measured maximum number of
        traffic flows were averaged. Figure 2(b) shows  a  plot  of  the
        measurements  in  networks  with  different  node  degrees. This
        experiment demonstrates situations  in  which  CBT  may  exhibit
        significantly greater traffic concentrations.

        It is evident to us that both tree types have  their  advantages
        and  disadvantages. One type of tree may perform very well under
        one class of conditions, while the other type may be  better  in
        other  situations.  For  example,  shared trees may perform very
        well for large numbers of low data rate sources (e.g.,  resource
        discovery  applications),  while SPT(s) may be better suited for
        high data rate sources (e.g., real  time  teleconferencing).  It
        would  be  ideal  to flexibly support both types of trees within
        one multicast architecture, so that the selection of tree  types
        becomes  a configuration decision within a multicast protocol. A
        more complete analysis of these tradeoffs can be found in  [15].
        PIM  is  designed  to address the two issues addressed above: to
        avoid the overhead of broadcasting packets  when  group  members
        sparsely  populate  the  internet,  and  to  do so in a way that
        supports  good-quality  distribution  trees  for   heterogeneous

        In PIM, a multicast router can choose to use shortest-path trees
        or  a  group-shared  tree. The last-hop routers of the receivers
        can make this decision  independently.  A  receiver  could  even
        choose  different  types  of  trees  for  different  sources. In
        general, we recommend that routers be  configured  to  join  the
        shortest  path  tree  for  a  source when the source's data rate
        exceeds a configured threshold.

        The  capability  to  support  different  tree   types   is   the
        fundamental  difference  between  PIM  and  CBT. There are other

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        significant protocol engineering differences as well,  the  most
        significant  of  which  is  PIM's  use of soft state reliability
        mechanisms. CBT uses explicit hop-by-hop mechanisms  to  achieve
        reliable  delivery of control messages. As described in the next
        section, PIM uses periodic refreshes as  its  primary  means  of
        reliability.   This  approach  reduces  the  complexity  of  the
        protocol and  covers  a  wide  range  of  protocol  and  network
        failures  in  a  single  simple  mechanism.  Although soft-state
        refreshing can introduce additional message  protocol  overhead,
        we  introduce  the  notion  of  scalable  timers to address such

     1.5 Document organization

        In the remainder of this  document  we  enumerate  the  specific
        design requirements for wide-area multicast routing (section
         2),  summarize  the  architectural  components  and   functions
        (section   3),  enumerate  several  protocol engineering choices
        made in the design of PIM protocols (section  4),  and  consider
        the  use  of  aggregation  to  address  the  scalability problem
        (section  5). Protocol details can be found in [3].

     2 Requirements

        We had several design objectives in  mind  when  designing  this

        *    Sparse-Mode Regions

                We define a sparse  mode  region  as one in which

             (a)   the number of  networks/domains  with  group  members
                  present   is  significantly  smaller  than  number  of
                  networks/domains in the region as a whole;

             (b)   group members span an area that is too large/wide  to
                  rely on scope control; and

             (c)   the region spanned by the group is  not  sufficiently
                  resource  rich  to  ignore  the  overhead  of  traditional

             Groups in sparse-mode regions are not necessarily ``small'';
             therefore we must support dynamic groups with large numbers
             of participants (i.e. receivers and senders).

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        *    High-Quality Data Distribution

             We wish to support low-delay data distribution when  needed
             by  the  application.  In  particular, we avoid  imposing a
             single shared tree in which data packets are  forwarded  to
             receivers along a common tree, independent of their source.
             Source-specific trees are superior when

             (a)   multiple sources send data simultaneously  and  would
                  experience  poor  service  when  the  traffic  is  all
                  concentrated on a single shared tree, or

             (b)   the path lengths between sources and destinations  in
                  the   shortest-path   tree  (SPTs)  are  significantly
                  shorter than in the shared tree.

        *     Routing Protocol Independence

             The protocol should make use of  existing  unicast  routing
             functionality to adapt to topology changes, but at the same
             time be independent of the  particular  protocol  employed.
             This  independence has another advantage that the multicast
             domain  boundaries  may  extend   beyond   unicast   domain
             boundaries.  This  allows  network  designers  to take into
             consideration the multicast  requirements  and  not  to  be
             burdened  with unicast topology restrictions. We accomplish
             this by letting the multicast  protocol  make  use  of  the
             unicast routing tables, independent of how those tables are

        *     Interoperability with dense mode protocols

             We require interoperability with traditional RPF and  link-
             state  multicast  routing,  both  intra-domain  and  inter-
             domain.  For  example,  the  intra-domain  portion   of   a
             distribution  tree  may  be  established  by  some other IP
             multicast protocol, and the inter-domain portion by PIM; or
             vice  versa.  In  some cases it will be necessary to impose
             some additional protocol or configuration overhead in order
             to interoperate with some intra-domain routing protocols.

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        *     Robustness

             The protocol should be able to gracefully adapt to  routing
             changes. We achieve this by

             (a)   using  soft state refreshment mechanisms,

             (b)   avoiding a single point of failure by  using  an  RP-
                  Set, and

             (c)   adapting along with (and based  on)  unicast  routing
                  changes  to  deliver  multicast  service  so  long  as
                  unicast packets are being serviced.

        *     Scalability

             We provide mechanisms for scaling with  group  and  network
             size.  These  mechanisms  address  the  forms  of overhead:
             control messages and  state.  Bandwidth  consumed  by  data
             packets  is  already minimized through the use of explicit-
             join sparse mode. Control  message  overhead  can  also  be
             limited  to  a  fixed  percentage  of the link bandwidth by
             adjusting the frequency of periodic messages on a  link  by
             link   basis.  This  method  of  controlling  overhead  was
             proposed by Van Jacobson.

             State overhead can be managed  in  such  a  way  that  each
             router  can  unilaterally  choose  its  own  tradeoff point
             between the amount of state maintained and  the  amount  of
             bandwidth   consumed  by  unneeded  flooding  of  multicast

     3 PIM Components and Functions: Overview

        In this section we describe the architectural components of PIM.
        The  detailed  protocol  mechanisms  are  described  in  [3]. As
        described,  traditional   multicast   routing   protocols   were
        optimized   for   densely   distributed   groups   or  uniformly
        bandwidth-rich regions, and rely on data driven actions  in  all
        network  routers  to  establish efficient distribution trees. In
        contrast, sparse-mode multicast constrains data distribution  so
        that  packets  reach  only routers that are on the path to group
        members. PIM differs from existing IP multicast schemes  in  two

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        fundamental ways:

        *    Routers with local (or downstream) members join  a  sparse-
             mode  PIM  distribution tree by sending explicit Join/Prune
             messages; in dense-mode IP multicast membership is  assumed
             and  multicast  data packets are sent until routers without
             local (or downstream) members send explicit prune  messages
             to remove themselves from the distribution tree.

        *    Whereas dense-mode IP multicast tree construction  is  data
             driven,  sparse-mode  PIM  must  use  per-group  Rendezvous
             Point for receivers  to  ``meet''  new  sources.  Rendezvous
             Points (RP) are used by senders to announce their existence
             and by receivers to learn about new senders of a group.  In
             SM, the shared-tree join state is stored in anticipation of
             data packets, whereas DM does not create state until a data
             packet  arrives.  The  source-specific  trees and associate
             state are data-driven in PIM, as in PIM-DM.

        The shortest-path-tree state maintained in  routers  is  roughly
        the  same  type  as  the  multicast  routing information that is
        currently maintained by routers running  existing  IP  multicast
        protocols  such  as  MOSPF,  i.e., source (S), multicast address
        (G), outgoing interface set (oif),  incoming  interface  (iif).
        We  refer  to this information as the multicast routing
        entry for (S,G). For all routers containing a (S,G) entry, their
        oif's and iif together form a shortest-path tree rooted
        at S.

        An entry for a shared tree can match packets from any source for
        its  associated  group  if  the  packets  come through the right
        incoming interface, we denote such an entry (*,G). A (*,G) entry
        keeps  the  same information a (S,G) entry keeps, except that it
        saves the RP address in place of the source address. There is  a
        wildcard  flag  (WC-bit)  indicating  that  this  is a wild card
        entry, and an RPT-bit indicating that  this  is  a  shared  tree

                 [Figures are present only in the postscript version]
                 Fig. 3  How senders rendezvous with receivers

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        Figure 3 shows a simple scenario of  a  sender  and  a  receiver
        joining  a multicast group via an RP. When the receiver wants to
        join a multicast group, its last-hop PIM router ( A  in  fig  3)
        sends  a Join/Prune message towards the RP for the group. If the
        last-hop router does not have RP information, it  is  considered
        an  error.  Processing  of  this message by intermediate routers
        sets up the multicast tree branch from the RP to  the  receiver.
        When   sources   start  sending  to  the  multicast  group,  the
        designated router ( D in fig 3) sends  a  PIM-Register  message,
        encapsulating  the data packet, to the RP for that group. If the
        source's data rate  warrants  a  source-specific  tree,  the  RP
        responds  by  sending  a  Join/Prune message towards the source.
        Processing of these messages by intermediate routers (there  are
        no  intermediate routers between the RP and the source in fig 3)
        sets up a packet delivery path from the source to the RP.

        If source-specific distribution trees are desired (based on  the
        source's  data  rate or some other configuration parameter), the
        last-hop  PIM  router  for  each  member  eventually  joins  the
        source-rooted  distribution  tree  for  each source by sending a
        Join/Prune message towards the source, including the  source  in
        the  Join list. After data packets are received on the new path,
        router  B in fig 3 sends a PIM-prune  message  towards  the  RP,
        including the source S in the prune list.
         B knows, by checking  the  incoming  interface  in  it  routing
        table,  that  it  is at a point where the shortest-path tree and
        the RP  tree  branches  diverge.  A  flag,  called  SPT-bit,  is
        included  in  (S,G)  entries  to indicate whether the transition
        from shared tree  to  shortest-path  tree  has  completed.  This
        minimizes   the   chance  of  losing  data  packets  during  the

        Each PIM router must be able to map a multicast group address to
        that  group's  RP  (an  IP  address).  To  do  so,  an RP-Set is
        distributed to all PIM routers within a region, and each  router
        runs  the  same  hash  function  to  map from group address to a
        particular RP in the RP-Set. In this way all  routers  within  a
        PIM  region  map  a particular group address to the same RP. The
        RP-Set is constructed and distributed by  a  dynamically-elected
        bootstrap  router  (BSR)  within the region. Only a single RP is
        active for a group at any one point in  time,  and  the  BSR  is
        responsible  for  keeping  the RP-Set up to date. Therefore, all
        candidate RPs within the  region  send  periodic  advertisements
        (liveness indication) to the BSR.

        PIM avoids explicit enumeration of  receivers.  In  general,  in
        many  existing  and  anticipated  applications,  the  number  of
        receivers is much larger than the number of  sources,  and  when

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        the number of sources is very large, the average data rate tends
        to be lower (e.g. resource discovery). In  any  finite  capacity
        network  there  is  an  upper  bound  on  the data rate that any
        individual  host  can  send  or  receive.  Therefore  there  are
        fundamental  bounds on the number of high data rate sources that
        can simultaneously send to the same group. However, there are no
        such  bounds  on  the  number  of  low datarate sources that can
        simultaneously send to the same group. If there are  very  large
        numbers  of sources sending to a group, but the sources' average
        data rates are low, then it may be more efficient to support the
        group  with  a  shared  tree  instead  which has less per-source
        overhead; therefore we suggest  triggering  Shortest  Path  Tree
        (SPT)  Join/Prune  messages  only  after the last hop router has
        received a threshold datarate from  the  particular  source.  If
        sources  are  low  data  rate,  these  Join/Prunes  will  not be
        triggered and receivers will receive packets via the shared tree
        instead  and  no source specific tree state will be constructed.
        Issues  of  group-specific   state   proliferation   and   state
        aggregation  are  discussed  further  in section  5. In summary,
        data packets from the source will travel to the RP  in  Register
        messages,  and  from  the  RP  will  travel to receivers via the
        distribution paths established by the Join/Prune  messages  sent
        upstream  from receivers towards the RP. If the RP and receivers
        initiate  shortest  path  tree  Join/Prunes,  the  sources  data
        packets  will  longest  match on the source specific (S,G) state
        instead of traveling via the RP  distribution  tree.  Some  data
        packets  will  continue  to travel from the sources to the RP in
        order to reach new receivers. Similarly, receivers will continue
        to receive some data packets via the RP tree in order to pick up
        new senders. However, when source-specific tree distribution  is
        used,  most  data  packets  will  arrive  at  receivers  over  a
        shortest-path   distribution   tree.   At   times   when   group
        participation is not changing, and all receivers have joined the
        shortest path tree(s), the  RP  can  inform  source(s)  to  stop
        sending data-encapsulating Register messages.

     4 Protocol Engineering Design Features

        In this section we describe engineering features embodied in the
        PIM  protocols:  robustness,  interaction  with  other multicast
        protocols, and multicast service interfaces.

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     4.1 Robustness features

        There are several areas in which PIM is designed for robustness.

     4.1.1 Lost PIM messages

        The protocol is fairly robust to lost  control  messages.  If  a
        PIM-Register  message  gets lost then data packets will continue
        to be encapsulated in subsequent PIM-Register messages until the
        first  hop  router receives a Register-stop message message from
        the RP. If a new Join/Prune message (carrying join  information)
        is  lost  over an off-tree link (i.e. a link that is not already
        part of the mutlicast distribution tree), then for the remainder
        of  the refresh period, packets will not be forwarded on the new
        path, causing join latency; or in the case of prune information,
        packets will continue to be forwarded until the refresh is sent,
        causing leave latency.

        All outgoing-interface state that is cached is timed out after a
        period equal to `3.5' times the refresh period (e.g., default of
        210 seconds for the default 60 second refresh interval).  As  in
        other  multicast routing protocols, this longer timeout interval
        allows individual packets to be lost without adversely affecting
        the  routing function. When a routing entry has no more outgoing
        interfaces it is scheduled to be deleted some time later  and  a
        prune  can  be  sent  upstream (if no prune is sent upstream the
        upstream  state  will  eventually  time  out  anyway  since   no
        Join/Prunes  will  be  received  to  refresh  the  join  state.)
        Initially PIM messages are configured to be refreshed  every  60
        seconds.  However, in the future a scalable timer mechanism will
        be deployed in which the rate is a function  of  the  amount  of
        state  in  a  router  and  link bandwidth (i.e., for lower speed
        links the rate will be slower and for higher speed links it  may
        be higher).

     4.1.2 Multiple Rendezvous Points and RP failure scenarios

        If only a single RP were available to be used  for  a  multicast
        group,  group  communication would be disrupted if the RP became
        unreachable. Assigning a set of available RPs greatly  increases
        the  robustness of the system. A small set of PIM routers within
        a domain are configured to act as  Candidate  RPs  (C-RPs),  and
        periodically send C-RP Advertisements to the elected BSR. At any
        point in time only a single RP is active for a  group.  However,
        when  the  BSR  detects  that  a  particular  RP  is  no  longer
        reachable, the BSR deletes the unreachable RP(s) from the RP-Set
        next  distributed within the periodic Bootstrap message, and all
        PIM routers within the  region  rehash  affected  groups  (i.e.,

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        those that were previously hashed to the now-unreachable RP).

     4.2 Interaction with other multicast protocols

        The basic difference between traditional  IP  multicast  routing
        and  PIM  is  that the former is completely data driven; we will
        refer to traditional IP multicast routing as  ``dense  mode''  for
        the  purposes  of  this  discussion.  Four  important behavioral
        differences result:

        *    Dense  mode  sends  and  stores  explicit  prune  state  in
             response  to  unwanted  data  packets. Sparse mode requires
             explicit joining; the default action is to  not  send  data
             packets where they have not been requested.

        *    Sparse mode stores shared-tree join state  in  anticipation
             of  data packets; Dense-mode routers do not store any state
             until data packets are sent (i.e. for active data sources).
             The  difference  is  not very significant for active groups
             (i.e., PIM would have one additional tree active);  however
             for  idle  groups dense mode has the advantage of having no
             state at all, whereas PIM would  have  state  for  the  one

        *    Sparse mode relies on the concept of an RP for data  to  be
             delivered  to  receivers  who  request  to  join the group.
             Dense-mode groups do not require an RP; broadcast  is  used
             as the rendezvous mechanism.

        *    Sparse mode  relies  on  periodic  refreshing  of  explicit
             Join/Prune messages. Dense mode does not need to send prune
             messages periodically because of its data driven nature.

        In simplified terms, the cost  of  dense  mode  is  the  default
        broadcast  behavior  and maintenance of prune state, whereas the
        cost of sparse mode is the need for RPs and  RP-tree  state  for
        idle  groups.  If  all  members  of a group are located within a
        bandwidth-rich region, the group may be supported in a  strictly
        dense  mode  using  scope  control.  However, such groups cannot
        include any members beyond the indicated scope, without imposing
        broadcast and prune overhead on the larger scope needed to reach
        the remote receiver. PIM is designed to address the more general
        problem  of groups that are not a priori limited to intra-domain

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        membership and may therefore span domains.

        In the case of multi-access LANs, some interesting issues  arise
        because  of possibility of parallel routers forwarding duplicate
        packets onto the LAN. In SM we must be particularly careful with
        the  operation of the RPtree because the RPF check that prevents
        routing loops is dependent on information stored in the  router,
        and  not based on the source address found in the packet header.
        As a result it is conceivable that a packet could be  routed  in
        elaborate  loops  because  different routers are using different
        criteria for accepting the packet. To solve  this  problem  each
        router  on  a multi-access LAN sends Assert messages when a data
        packet from a source arrives on the outgoing interface  for  the
        associated  (S,G)  or  the  (*,G)  entry.  All routers listen to
        Assert messages, compare the metrics included therein, and  only
        one router remains the forwarder for that source to that LAN.

        We also wish to interoperate with  networks  that  do  not  have
        routers  modified  to  generate  and  interpret  PIM  Join/Prune
        messages. We have to address two functions: pulling data out  to
        the  dense-mode  cloud,  and  importing data into the PIM region
        from a dense mode region:

        *    In PIM, joining a distribution tree is not passive, routers
             with  local  members  must  take  explicit  join  action to
             receive data packets. This creates problems when  a  dense-
             mode region, wishes to interoperate with PIM. To do so, one
             of two things must happen:

             1    Either, PMBR's on the border  between  PIM  and  dense
                  mode  regions  join  to all of the PIM region's RPs to
                  pull out all packets generated within the PIM  region.

             2    The PMBR on the border of a  dense  mode  region  must
                  receive some indication of membership within the dense
                  mode cloud, and must generate PIM explicit  Join/Prune
                  messages  to  pull  the  data  down  to the dense mode

             The first of these two approaches is appropriate  when  the
             PIM  region  is  a stub or multihomed and is connected to a
             dense mode backbone. The second of these two approaches  is
             appropriate  when  the dense mode region is connecting to a
             PIM backbone.

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        *    The PMBRs at the border between PIM and dense mode  regions
             must  act  as  DRs  for  the sources external to the PIM-SM
             domain. In other words the PMBR  sets  up  source  specific
             state and sends Registers on behalf of external sources.

        The  details  of  these  mechanisms  are  described  in  [3][19].

     4.3 Multicast service interface

        The multicast interface for hosts is unchanged. Hosts need  only
        learn  about  and  communicate  their  interest  in  joining  to
        multicast addresses.

     5 Scaling and Aggregation

        There   are   several   motivations   for   aggregating   source
        information;  the  most  important  are PIM message size and the
        amount of memory used for multicast routing entries.

        One might consider using the highest level  aggregate  available
        for an address when setting up the multicast routing entry. This
        is optimal with respect to  routing  entry  space.  It  is  also
        optimal  with respect to PIM message size. However, PIM messages
        will carry very coarse information and when the messages  arrive
        at  routers  closer  to the source(s) where more specific routes
        exist there will be a large fanout and PIM messages will  travel
        towards  all members of the aggregate which would be inefficient
        in most/many cases.

        Traditional IP multicast routing (dense mode) does not have this
        problem   since   prune  messages  can  carry  most  fine  grain
        information which are triggered based on data  packets.  If  the
        prune  messages are lost, subsequent data triggers the prune. On
        the other hand, graft messages may be  subject  to  the  fan-out
        problem.  In  this  case,  they  are  sent as far as the message
        information takes it. The penalty is increased join latency.

        If PIM is being used for inter-domain routing, and routers  were
        able  to  map  from  IP  address  to domain identifier, then one
        possibility would be to use the domain  level  aggregate  for  a
        source  in  PIM  messages  (Autonomous  System  (AS)  numbers or
        Routing Domain Identifiers (RDIs)). Then the PIM  message  would
        travel  to  the  PMBRs  of  the domain and the PMBRs can use the
        internal multicast protocol's mechanism for propagating the join
        within    the   domain   (e.g.   send   appropriate   link-state
        advertisement in MOSPF or register a ``local member'' and do  not

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        prune  in  the case of RPF). However this approach requires that
        it is both possible and efficient  to  map  from  IP  to  domain
        address  when  processing  data  packets,  as  well  as  control

        We address the issues  of  control  traffic  and  state  scaling
        separately  below.  The  detailed  mechanisms  have not yet been
        incorporated into the protocol specification as they  are  still
        being designed.

     5.1 Containing control traffic overhead

        To control the bandwidth consumed by periodic control  messages,
        we  adopt a technique proposed by one of the authors (Jacobson),
        called scalable  timers.  The  timers  controlling  periodic
        refreshing  of  control  messages  are  set  such that the total
        overhead is a small fixed percentage of the link bandwidth.

        Eventually, PIM should use the  scalable  timer  approach;  this
        approach  was  initially proposed by Van Jacobson and a detailed
        design and analysis was reported in [18]. In this  approach  the
        refresh interval is determined by the sender of the information.
        The sender can adjust the frequency  of  control  messages  (and
        therefore  the  timeout  period at the control message receiver)
        depending upon the amount of state that it has  to  communicate,
        or  refresh,  over  a  particular  link. It can thereby keep the
        amount of control traffic to some small percentage of  the  link
        bandwidth. In this case the receiver of the control messages may
        infer the appropriate refresh interval based on  measurement  of
        arriving   control   traffic,   and   set   its  timeout  values

        In the absence  of  more  experimentation  with  scalable  timer
        mechanisms,  the  current PIM protocol specifies that the sender
        of control messages communication hold-time  values  explicitly.
        Therefore,  a  router  tells  its  neighbors how long to keep it
        reachable by advertising the  holdtime  in  PIM-Hello  messages.
        Likewise,  Join/Prune messages indicate how long state should be
        kept. This allows the sender to change its frequency without the
        receivers requiring any special configuration information.

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     5.2 Containing state overhead

        PIM-SM maintains less source-specific state than do  dense  mode
        protocols.  The  more  important  issue  faced  by  all existing
        multicast routing schemes is how to reduce the amount of  group-
        specific state. This remains an open area of investigation.

     6 Conclusions

        We have presented a solution to the problem of routing multicast
        packets in large, wide-area internets. Our approach

        (a)     uses   constrained,    receiver-initiated,    membership
             advertisement for sparsely distributed multicast groups;

        (b)   supports both shared and shortest path tree types  in  one

        (c)   does not depend on a particular unicast protocol; and

        (d)   uses soft state mechanisms to  reliably  and  responsively
             maintain multicast trees.

        The architecture accommodates graceful and efficient  adaptation
        to  varying  types of multicast groups, and to different network

     7 Acknowledgments

        Tony Ballardie, Scott Brim, Jon Crowcroft, Paul  Francis,  Lixia
        Zhang  and  John  Zwiebel provided detailed comments on previous
        drafts. The authors  of  CBT  and  membership  of  the  IDMR  WG
        provided  many  of the motivating ideas for this work and useful
        feedback on design details.


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   1.   J.Moy. Multicast extension to ospf.
         Internet Draft, September 1992.

   2.   D.Waitzman S.Deering,  C.Partridge.  Distance  vector  multicast
        routing protocol, nov 1988. RFC1075.

   3.   D.Estrin, D.Farinacci, A.Helmy, D.Thaler, S.Deering,  M.Handley,
        V.Jacobson,  C.Liu,  P.Sharma,  and  L.Wei. Protocol independent
        multicast  -  sparse  mode  (pim-sm):  Protocol   specification.
        Proposed Experimental RFC, September 1996.

   4.   D.Estrin, D.Farinacci, A.Helmy, V.Jacobson, and L.Wei.  Protocol
        independent   multicast   -   dense   mode   (pim-dm):  Protocol
        specification.  Proposed Experimental RFC, September 1996.

   5.   S.Deering  and  D.Cheriton.  Multicast   routing   in   datagram
        internetworks and extended lans.
         ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, pages 85--111, May 1990.

   6.   S.Deering.  Multicast Routing in a  Datagram  Internetwork.  PhD
        thesis, Stanford University, 1991.

   7.   S.Deering.  Host  extensions  for  ip  multicasting,  aug  1989.

   8.   W.Fenner. Internet group management protocol, version 2.
         Internet Draft, May 1996.

   9.   J.Moy. Ospf version 2, oct 1991. RFC1247.

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Internet Draft            PIM-SM Architecture                   Oct 1996

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Addresses of Authors:

Deborah Estrin
Computer Science Dept/ISI
University of Southern Calif.
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Dino Farinacci
Cisco Systems Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive,
San Jose, CA 95134

Ahmed Helmy
Computer Science Dept.
University of Southern Calif.
Los Angeles, CA 90089

David Thaler
EECS Department
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Stephen Deering
Xerox PARC
3333 Coyote Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Mark Handley
Department of Computer Science
University College London
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT

Van Jacobson
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720

Ching-gung  Liu
Computer Science Dept.
University of Southern Calif.
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Puneet Sharma
Computer Science Dept.
University of Southern Calif.
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Liming Wei
Cisco Systems Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive,
San Jose, CA 95134