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Overview of the Internet Multicast Routing Architecture
RFC 5110

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 2008)
Author Pekka Savola
Last updated 2018-12-20
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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IESG Responsible AD Ron Bonica
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RFC 5110
Network Working Group                                          P. Savola
Request for Comments: 5110                                     CSC/FUNET
Category: Informational                                     January 2008

        Overview of the Internet Multicast Routing Architecture

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.


   This document describes multicast routing architectures that are
   currently deployed on the Internet.  This document briefly describes
   those protocols and references their specifications.

   This memo also reclassifies several older RFCs to Historic.  These
   RFCs describe multicast routing protocols that were never widely
   deployed or have fallen into disuse.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................3
      1.1. Multicast-Related Abbreviations ............................4
   2. Multicast Routing ...............................................4
      2.1. Setting up Multicast Forwarding State ......................5
           2.1.1. PIM-SM ..............................................5
           2.1.2. PIM-DM ..............................................5
           2.1.3. Bidirectional PIM ...................................6
           2.1.4. DVMRP ...............................................6
           2.1.5. MOSPF ...............................................7
           2.1.6. BGMP ................................................7
           2.1.7. CBT .................................................7
           2.1.8. Interactions and Summary ............................7
      2.2. Distributing Topology Information ..........................8
           2.2.1. Multiprotocol BGP ...................................8
           2.2.2. OSPF/IS-IS Multi-Topology Extensions ................9
           2.2.3. Issue: Overlapping Unicast/Multicast Topology .......9
           2.2.4. Summary ............................................10
      2.3. Learning (Active) Sources .................................10
           2.3.1. SSM ................................................11
           2.3.2. MSDP ...............................................11
           2.3.3. Embedded-RP ........................................11
           2.3.4. Summary ............................................12

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      2.4. Configuring and Distributing PIM RP Information ...........12
           2.4.1. Manual RP Configuration ............................12
           2.4.2. Embedded-RP ........................................13
           2.4.3. BSR and Auto-RP ....................................13
           2.4.4. Summary ............................................14
      2.5. Mechanisms for Enhanced Redundancy ........................14
           2.5.1. Anycast RP .........................................14
           2.5.2. Stateless RP Failover ..............................14
           2.5.3. Bidirectional PIM ..................................15
           2.5.4. Summary ............................................15
      2.6. Interactions with Hosts ...................................15
           2.6.1. Hosts Sending Multicast ............................15
           2.6.2. Hosts Receiving Multicast ..........................15
           2.6.3. Summary ............................................16
      2.7. Restricting Multicast Flooding in the Link Layer ..........16
           2.7.1. Router-to-Router Flooding Reduction ................16
           2.7.2. Host/Router Flooding Reduction .....................17
           2.7.3. Summary ............................................18
   3. Acknowledgements ...............................................18
   4. IANA Considerations ............................................18
   5. Security Considerations ........................................19
   6. References .....................................................19
      6.1. Normative References ......................................19
      6.2. Informative References ....................................20
   Appendix A. Multicast Payload Transport Extensions.................24
      A.1. Reliable Multicast.........................................24
      A.2. Multicast Group Security...................................24

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1.  Introduction

   This document provides a brief overview of multicast routing
   architectures that are currently deployed on the Internet and how
   those protocols fit together.  It also describes those multicast
   routing protocols that were never widely deployed or have fallen into
   disuse.  A companion document [ADDRARCH] describes multicast
   addressing architectures.

   Specifically, this memo deals with:

   o  setting up multicast forwarding state (Section 2.1),

   o  distributing multicast topology information (Section 2.2),

   o  learning active sources (Section 2.3),

   o  configuring and distributing the rendezvous point (RP) information
      (Section 2.4),

   o  mechanisms for enhanced redundancy (Section 2.5),

   o  interacting with hosts (Section 2.6), and

   o  restricting the multicast flooding in the link layer
      (Section 2.7).

   Section 2 starts by describing a simplistic example how these classes
   of mechanisms fit together.  Some multicast data transport issues are
   also introduced in Appendix A.

   This memo reclassifies to Historic [RFC2026] the following RFCs:

   o  Border Gateway Multicast Protocol (BGMP) [RFC3913],

   o  Core Based Trees (CBT) [RFC2189] [RFC2201],

   o  Multicast OSPF (MOSPF) [RFC1584].

   For the most part, these protocols have fallen into disuse.  There
   may be legacy deployments of some of these protocols, which are not
   affected by this reclassification.  See Section 2.1 for more on each

   Further historical perspective may be found in, for example,
   [RFC1458], [IMRP-ISSUES], and [IM-GAPS].

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1.1.  Multicast-Related Abbreviations

   ASM             Any Source Multicast
   BGMP            Border Gateway Multicast Protocol
   BSR             Bootstrap Router
   CBT             Core Based Trees
   CGMP            Cisco Group Management Protocol
   DR              Designated Router
   DVMRP           Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol
   GARP            (IEEE 802.1D-2004) Generic Attribute Registration
   GMRP            GARP Multicast Registration Protocol
   IGMP            Internet Group Management Protocol
   MBGP            Multiprotocol BGP (*not* "Multicast BGP")
   MLD             Multicast Listener Discovery
   MRP             (IEEE 802.1ak) Multiple Registration Protocol
   MMRP            (IEEE 802.1ak) Multicast Multiple Registration
   MOSPF           Multicast OSPF
   MSDP            Multicast Source Discovery Protocol
   PGM             Pragmatic General Multicast
   PIM             Protocol Independent Multicast
   PIM-DM          PIM - Dense Mode
   PIM-SM          PIM - Sparse Mode
   PIM-SSM         PIM - Source-Specific Multicast
   RGMP            (Cisco's) Router Group Management Protocol
   RP              Rendezvous Point
   RPF             Reverse Path Forwarding
   SAFI            Subsequent Address Family Identifier
   SDP             Session Description Protocol
   SSM             Source-Specific Multicast

2.  Multicast Routing

   In order to give a simplified summary how each of these class of
   mechanisms fits together, consider the following multicast receiver

   Certain protocols and configurations need to be in place before
   multicast routing can work.  Specifically, when ASM is employed, a
   router will need to know its RP address(es) (Section 2.4,
   Section 2.5).  With IPv4, RPs need to be connected to other RPs using
   MSDP so information about sources connected to other RPs can be
   distributed (Section 2.3).  Further, routers need to know if or how
   multicast topology differs from unicast topology, and routing
   protocol extensions can provide that information (Section 2.2).

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   When a host wants to receive a transmission, it first needs to find
   out the multicast group address (and with SSM, source address) using
   various means (e.g., SDP description file [RFC4566] or manually).
   Then it will signal its interest to its first-hop router using IGMP
   (IPv4) or MLD (IPv6) (Section 2.6).  The router initiates setting up
   hop-by-hop multicast forwarding state (Section 2.1) to the source (in
   SSM) or first through the RP (in ASM).  Routers use an RP to find out
   all the sources for a group (Section 2.3).  When multicast
   transmission arrives at the receiver's LAN, it is flooded to every
   Ethernet switch port unless flooding reduction such as IGMP snooping
   is employed (Section 2.7).

2.1.  Setting up Multicast Forwarding State

   The most important part of multicast routing is setting up the
   multicast forwarding state.  State maintenance requires periodic
   messaging because forwarding state has a timeout.  This section
   describes the protocols commonly used for this purpose.

2.1.1.  PIM-SM

   By far, the most common multicast routing protocol is PIM-SM
   [RFC4601].  The PIM-SM protocol includes both Any Source Multicast
   (ASM) and Source-Specific Multicast (SSM) functionality.  PIM-SSM is
   a subset of PIM-SM that does not use the RPs but instead requires
   that receivers know the (source,group) pair and signal that
   explicitly.  Most current routing platforms support PIM-SM.

   PIM routers elect a designated router on each LAN and the DR is
   responsible for PIM messaging and source registration on behalf of
   the hosts.  The DR encapsulates multicast packets sourced from the
   LAN in a unicast tunnel to the RP.  PIM-SM builds a unidirectional,
   group-specific distribution tree consisting of the interested
   receivers of a group.  Initially, the multicast distribution tree is
   rooted at the RP but later the DRs have the option of optimizing the
   delivery by building (source,group)-specific trees.

   A more lengthy introduction to PIM-SM can be found in Section 3 of

2.1.2.  PIM-DM

   Whereas PIM-SM has been designed to avoid unnecessary flooding of
   multicast data, PIM-DM [RFC3973] assumed that almost every subnet at
   a site had at least one receiver for a group.  PIM-DM floods
   multicast transmissions throughout the network ("flood and prune")
   unless the leaf parts of the network periodically indicate that they
   are not interested in that particular group.

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   PIM-DM may be an acceptable fit in small and/or simple networks,
   where setting up an RP would be unnecessary, and possibly in cases
   where a large percentage of users are expected to want to receive the
   transmission so that the amount of state the network has to keep is

   PIM-DM was used as a first step in transitioning away from DVMRP.  It
   also became apparent that most networks would not have receivers for
   most groups, and to avoid the bandwidth and state overhead, the
   flooding paradigm was gradually abandoned.  Transitioning from PIM-DM
   to PIM-SM was easy as PIM-SM was designed to use compatible packet
   formats and dense-mode operation could also be satisfied by a sparse
   protocol.  PIM-DM is no longer in widespread use.

   Many implementations also support so-called "sparse-dense"
   configuration, where Sparse mode is used by default, but Dense is
   used for configured multicast group ranges (such as Auto-RP in
   Section 2.4.3) only.  Lately, many networks have transitioned away
   from sparse-dense to only sparse mode.

2.1.3.  Bidirectional PIM

   Bidirectional PIM [RFC5015] is a multicast forwarding protocol that
   establishes a common shared-path for all sources with a single root.
   It can be used as an alternative to PIM-SM inside a single domain.
   It doesn't have data-driven events or data-encapsulation.  As it
   doesn't keep source-specific state, it may be an appealing approach
   especially in sites with a large number of sources.

   As of this writing, there is no inter-domain solution to configure a
   group range to use bidirectional PIM.

2.1.4.  DVMRP

   Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) [RFC1075]
   [DVMRPv3] [DVMRPv3-AS] was the first protocol designed for
   multicasting.  To get around initial deployment hurdles, it also
   included tunneling capabilities, which were part of its multicast
   topology functions.

   Currently, DVMRP is used only very rarely in operator networks,
   having been replaced with PIM-SM.  The most typical deployment of
   DVMRP is at a leaf network, to run from a legacy firewall only
   supporting DVMRP to the internal network.  However, Generic Routing
   Encapsulation (GRE) tunneling [RFC2784] seems to have overtaken DVMRP
   in this functionality, and there is relatively little use for DVMRP
   except in legacy deployments.

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2.1.5.  MOSPF

   MOSPF [RFC1584] was implemented by several vendors and has seen some
   deployment in intra-domain networks.  However, since it is based on
   intra-domain Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) it does not scale to the
   inter-domain case, operators have found it is easier to deploy a
   single protocol for use in both intra-domain and inter-domain
   networks and so it is no longer being actively deployed.

2.1.6.  BGMP

   BGMP [RFC3913] did not get sufficient support within the service
   provider community to get adopted and moved forward in the IETF
   standards process.  There were no reported production implementations
   and no production deployments.

2.1.7.  CBT

   CBT [RFC2201][RFC2189] was an academic project that provided the
   basis for PIM sparse mode shared trees.  Once the shared tree
   functionality was incorporated into PIM implementations, there was no
   longer a need for a production CBT implementation.  Therefore, CBT
   never saw production deployment.

2.1.8.  Interactions and Summary

   It is worth noting that it is possible to run different protocols
   with different multicast group ranges.  For example, treat some
   groups as dense or bidirectional in an otherwise PIM-SM network; this
   typically requires manual configuration of the groups or a mechanism
   like BSR (Section 2.4.3).  It is also possible to interact between
   different protocols; for example, use DVMRP in the leaf network, but
   PIM-SM upstream.  The basics for interactions among different
   protocols have been outlined in [RFC2715].

   The following figure gives a concise summary of the deployment status
   of different protocols as of this writing.

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                | Inter-domain | Intra-domain | Status         |
   | PIM-SM     |     Yes      |     Yes      | Active         |
   | PIM-DM     | Not anymore  | Not anymore  | Little use     |
   | BIDIR-PIM  |      No      |     Yes      | Some uptake    |
   | DVMRP      | Not anymore  |  Stub only   | Going out      |
   | MOSPF      |      No      | Not anymore  | Inactive       |
   | CBT        |      No      |     No       | Never deployed |
   | BGMP       |      No      |     No       | Never deployed |

   From this table, it is clear that PIM-Sparse Mode is the only
   multicast routing protocol that is deployed inter-domain and,
   therefore, is most frequently used within multicast domains as well.

2.2.  Distributing Topology Information

   PIM has become the de-facto multicast forwarding protocol, but as its
   name implies, it is independent of the underlying unicast routing
   protocol.  When unicast and multicast topologies are the same
   ("congruent"), i.e., use the same routing tables (routing information
   base, RIB), it has been considered sufficient just to distribute one
   set of reachability information to be used in conjunction with a
   protocol that sets up multicast forwarding state (e.g., PIM-SM).

   However, when PIM which by default built multicast topology based on
   the unicast topology gained popularity, it became apparent that it
   would be necessary to be able to distribute also non-congruent
   multicast reachability information in the regular unicast protocols.
   This was previously not an issue, because DVMRP built its own
   reachability information.

   The topology information is needed to perform efficient distribution
   of multicast transmissions and to prevent transmission loops by
   applying it to the Reverse Path Forwarding (RPF) check.

   This subsection introduces these protocols.

2.2.1.  Multiprotocol BGP

   Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 [RFC4760] (often referred to as
   "MBGP"; however, it is worth noting that "MBGP" does *not* stand for
   "Multicast BGP") specifies a mechanism by which BGP can be used to
   distribute different reachability information for unicast (SAFI=1)
   and multicast traffic (SAFI=2).  Multiprotocol BGP has been widely

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   deployed for years, and is also needed to route IPv6.  Note that
   SAFI=3 was originally specified for "both unicast and multicast" but
   has since then been deprecated.

   These extensions are in widespread use wherever BGP is used to
   distribute unicast topology information.  Multicast-enabled networks
   that use BGP should use Multiprotocol BGP to distribute multicast
   reachability information explicitly even if the topologies are
   congruent to make an explicit statement about multicast reachability.
   A number of significant multicast transit providers even require
   this, by doing the RPF lookups solely based on explicitly advertised
   multicast address family.

2.2.2.  OSPF/IS-IS Multi-Topology Extensions

   Similar to BGP, some Interior Gateway Protocols (IGPs) also provide
   the capability for signalling differing topologies, for example IS-IS
   multi-topology extensions [M-ISIS].  These can be used for a
   multicast topology that differs from unicast.  Similar but not so
   widely implemented work exists for OSPF [RFC4915].

   It is worth noting that inter-domain incongruence and intra-domain
   incongruence are orthogonal, so one doesn't require the other.
   Specifically, inter-domain incongruence is quite common, while intra-
   domain incongruence isn't, so you see much more deployment of MBGP
   than MT-ISIS/OSPF.  Commonly deployed networks have managed well
   without protocols handling intra-domain incongruence.  However, the
   availability of multi-topology mechanisms may in part replace the
   typically used workarounds such as tunnels.

2.2.3.  Issue: Overlapping Unicast/Multicast Topology

   An interesting case occurs when some routers do not distribute
   multicast topology information explicitly while others do.  In
   particular, this happens when some multicast sites in the Internet
   are using plain BGP while some use MBGP.

   Different implementations deal with this in different ways.
   Sometimes, multicast RPF mechanisms first look up the multicast
   routing table, or M-RIB ("topology database") with a longest prefix
   match algorithm, and if they find any entry (including a default
   route), that is used; if no match is found, the unicast routing table
   is used instead.

   An alternative approach is to use longest prefix match on the union
   of multicast and unicast routing tables; an implementation technique
   here is to copy the whole unicast routing table over to the multicast
   routing table.  The important point to remember here, though, is to

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   not override the multicast-only routes; if the longest prefix match
   would find both a (copied) unicast route and a multicast-only route,
   the latter should be treated as preferable.

   Another implemented approach is to just look up the information in
   the unicast routing table, and provide the user capabilities to
   change that as appropriate, using for example copying functions
   discussed above.

2.2.4.  Summary

   A congruent topology can be deployed using unicast routing protocols
   that provide no support for a separate multicast topology.  In intra-
   domain that approach is often adequate.  However, it is recommended
   that if inter-domain routing uses BGP, multicast-enabled sites should
   use MP-BGP SAFI=2 for multicast and SAFI=1 for unicast even if the
   topology was congruent to explicitly signal "yes, we use multicast".

   The following table summarizes the approaches that can be used to
   distribute multicast topology information.

                          | Inter-domain   | Intra-domain |
   +--------------------- +----------------+--------------+
   | MP-BGP SAFI=2        |      Yes       |     Yes      |
   | MP-BGP SAFI=3        |  Doesn't work  | Doesn't work |
   | IS-IS multi-topology | Not applicable |     Yes      |
   | OSPF multi-topology  | Not applicable | Few implem.  |

   "Not applicable" refers to the fact that IGP protocols can't be used
   in inter-domain routing.  "Doesn't work" means that while MP-BGP
   SAFI=3 was defined and could apply, that part of the specification
   has not been implemented and can't be used in practice.  "Yes" lists
   the mechanisms which are generally applicable and known to work.
   "Few implem." means that the approach could work but is not commonly

2.3.  Learning (Active) Sources

   To build a multicast distribution tree, the routing protocol needs to
   find out where the sources for the group are.  In case of SSM, the
   user specifies the source IP address or it is otherwise learned out
   of band.

   In ASM, the RPs know about all the active sources in a local PIM
   domain.  As a result, when PIM-SM or BIDIR-PIM is used in intra-
   domain the sources are learned as a feature of the protocol itself.

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   Having a single PIM-SM domain for the whole Internet is an
   insufficient model for many reasons, including scalability,
   administrative boundaries, and different technical tradeoffs.
   Therefore, it is required to be able to split up the multicast
   routing infrastructures to smaller domains, and there must be a way
   to share information about active sources using some mechanism if the
   ASM model is to be supported.

   This section discusses the options of learning active sources that
   apply in an inter-domain environment.

2.3.1.  SSM

   Source-specific Multicast [RFC4607] (sometimes also referred to as
   "single-source Multicast") does not count on learning active sources
   in the network.  Recipients need to know the source IP addresses
   using an out of band mechanism which are used to subscribe to the
   (source, group) channel.  The multicast routing uses the source
   address to set up the state and no further source discovery is

   As of this writing, there are attempts to analyze and/or define out-
   of-band source discovery functions which would help SSM in particular

2.3.2.  MSDP

   Multicast Source Discovery Protocol [RFC3618] was invented as a stop-
   gap mechanism, when it became apparent that multiple PIM-SM domains
   (and RPs) were needed in the network, and information about the
   active sources needed to be propagated between the PIM-SM domains
   using some other protocol.

   MSDP is also used to share the state about sources between multiple
   RPs in a single domain for, e.g., redundancy purposes [RFC3446].  The
   same can be achieved using PIM extensions [RFC4610].  See Section 2.5
   for more information.

   There is no intent to define MSDP for IPv6, but instead use only SSM
   and Embedded-RP [MCAST-ISSUES].

2.3.3.  Embedded-RP

   Embedded-RP [RFC3956] is an IPv6-only technique to map the address of
   the RP to the multicast group address.  Using this method, it is
   possible to avoid the use of MSDP while still allowing multiple
   multicast domains (in the traditional sense).

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   The model works by defining a single RP address for a particular
   group for all of the Internet, so there is no need to share state
   about that with any other RPs.  If necessary, RP redundancy can still
   be achieved with Anycast-RP using PIM [RFC4610].

2.3.4.  Summary

   The following table summarizes the source discovery approaches and
   their status.

                          | IPv4 | IPv6 | Status                       |
   | Bidir single domain  | Yes  | Yes  | OK but for intra-domain only |
   | PIM-SM single domain | Yes  | Yes  | OK                           |
   | PIM-SM with MSDP     | Yes  | No   | De-facto v4 inter-domain ASM |
   | PIM-SM w/ Embedded-RP| No   | Yes  | Best inter-domain ASM option |
   | SSM                  | Yes  | Yes  | No major uptake yet          |

2.4.  Configuring and Distributing PIM RP Information

   PIM-SM and BIDIR-PIM configuration mechanisms exist, which are used
   to configure the RP addresses and the groups that are to use those
   RPs in the routers.  This section outlines the approaches.

2.4.1.  Manual RP Configuration

   It is often easiest just to manually configure the RP information on
   the routers when PIM-SM is used.

   Originally, static RP mapping was considered suboptimal since it
   required explicit configuration changes every time the RP address
   changed.  However, with the advent of anycast RP addressing, the RP
   address is unlikely to ever change.  Therefore, the administrative
   burden is generally limited to initial configuration.  Since there is
   usually a fair amount of multicast configuration required on all
   routers anyway (e.g., PIM on all interfaces), adding the RP address
   statically isn't really an issue.  Further, static anycast RP mapping
   provides the benefits of RP load sharing and redundancy (see
   Section 2.5) without the complexity found in dynamic mechanisms like
   Auto-RP and Bootstrap Router (BSR).

   With such design, an anycast RP uses an address that is configured on
   a loopback interface of the routers currently acting as RPs, and
   state is distributed using PIM [RFC4610] or MSDP [RFC3446].

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   Using this technique, each router might only need to be configured
   with one, portable RP address.

2.4.2.  Embedded-RP

   Embedded-RP provides the information about the RP's address in the
   group addresses that are delegated to those who use the RP, so unless
   no other ASM than Embedded-RP is used, the network administrator only
   needs to configure the RP routers.

   While Embedded-RP in many cases is sufficient for IPv6, other methods
   of RP configuration are needed if one needs to provide ASM service
   for other than Embedded-RP group addresses.  In particular, service
   discovery type of applications may need hard-coded addresses that are
   not dependent on local RP addresses.

   As the RP's address is exposed to the users and applications, it is
   very important to ensure it does not change often, e.g., by using
   manual configuration of an anycast address.

2.4.3.  BSR and Auto-RP

   BSR [RFC5059] is a mechanism for configuring the RP address for
   groups.  It may no longer be in as wide use with IPv4 as it was
   earlier, and for IPv6, Embedded-RP will in many cases be sufficient.

   Cisco's Auto-RP is an older, proprietary method for distributing
   group to RP mappings, similar to BSR.  Auto-RP has little use today.

   Both Auto-RP and BSR require some form of control at the routers to
   ensure that only valid routers are able to advertise themselves as
   RPs.  Further, flooding of BSR and Auto-RP messages must be prevented
   at PIM borders.  Additionally, routers require monitoring that they
   are actually using the RP(s) the administrators think they should be
   using, for example, if a router (maybe in customer's control) is
   advertising itself inappropriately.  All in all, while BSR and
   Auto-RP provide easy configuration, they also provide very
   significant configuration and management complexity.

   It is worth noting that both Auto-RP and BSR were deployed before the
   use of a manually configured anycast-RP address became relatively
   commonplace, and there is actually relatively little need for them
   today unless there is a need to configure different properties (e.g.,
   sparse, dense, bidirectional) in a dynamic fashion.

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2.4.4.  Summary

   The following table summarizes the RP discovery mechanisms and their
   status.  With the exception of Embedded-RP, each mechanism operates
   within a PIM domain.

                        | IPv4 | IPv6 | Deployment            |
   | Static RP          | Yes  | Yes  | Especially in ISPs    |
   | Auto-RP            | Yes  | No   | Legacy deployment     |
   | BSR                | Yes  | Yes  | Some, anycast simpler |
   | Embedded-RP        | No   | Yes  | Growing               |

2.5.  Mechanisms for Enhanced Redundancy

   Having only one RP in a PIM-SM domain would be a single point of
   failure for the whole multicast domain.  As a result, a number of
   mechanisms have been developed to either eliminate the RP
   functionality or to enhance RPs' redundancy, resilience against
   failures, and to recover from failures quickly.  This section
   summarizes these techniques explicitly.

2.5.1.  Anycast RP

   As mentioned in Section 2.3.2, MSDP is also used to share the state
   about sources between multiple RPs in a single domain, e.g., for
   redundancy purposes [RFC3446].  The purpose of MSDP in this context
   is to share the same state information on multiple RPs for the same
   groups to enhance the robustness of the service.

   Recent PIM extensions [RFC4610] also provide this functionality.  In
   contrast to MSDP, this approach works for both IPv4 and IPv6.

2.5.2.  Stateless RP Failover

   While Anycast RP shares state between RPs so that RP failure causes
   only small disturbance, stateless approaches are also possible with a
   more limited resiliency.  A traditional mechanism has been to use
   Auto-RP or BSR (see Section 2.4.3) to select another RP when the
   active one failed.  However, the same functionality could be achieved
   using a shared-unicast RP address ("anycast RP without state
   sharing") without the complexity of a dynamic mechanism.  Further,
   Anycast RP offers a significantly more extensive failure mitigation
   strategy, so today there is actually very little need to use
   stateless failover mechanisms, especially dynamic ones, for
   redundancy purposes.

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2.5.3.  Bidirectional PIM

   Because bidirectional PIM (see Section 2.1.3) does not switch to
   shortest path tree (SPT), the final multicast tree may be established
   faster.  On the other hand, PIM-SM or SSM may converge more quickly
   especially in scenarios (e.g., unicast routing change) where
   bidirectional needs to re-do the Designated Forwarder election.

2.5.4.  Summary

   The following table summarizes the techniques for enhanced

                        | IPv4 | IPv6 | Deployment            |
   | Anycast RP w/ MSDP | Yes  | No   | De-facto approach     |
   | Anycast RP w/ PIM  | Yes  | Yes  | Newer approach        |
   | Stateless RP fail. | Yes  | Yes  | Causes disturbance    |
   | BIDIR-PIM          | Yes  | Yes  | Deployed at some sites|

2.6.  Interactions with Hosts

   Previous sections have dealt with the components required by routers
   to be able to do multicast routing.  Obviously, the real users of
   multicast are the hosts: either sending or receiving multicast.  This
   section describes the required interactions with hosts.

2.6.1.  Hosts Sending Multicast

   After choosing a multicast group through a variety of means, hosts
   just send the packets to the link-layer multicast address, and the
   designated router will receive all the multicast packets and start
   forwarding them as appropriate.  A host does not need to be a member
   of the group in order to send to it [RFC1112].

   In intra-domain or Embedded-RP scenarios, ASM senders may move to a
   new IP address without significant impact on the delivery of their
   transmission.  SSM senders cannot change the IP address unless
   receivers join the new channel or the sender uses an IP mobility
   technique that is transparent to the receivers.

2.6.2.  Hosts Receiving Multicast

   Hosts signal their interest in receiving a multicast group or channel
   by the use of IGMP [RFC3376] and MLD [RFC3810].  IGMPv2 and MLDv1 are
   still commonplace, but are also often used in new deployments.  Some

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   vendors also support SSM mapping techniques for receivers which use
   an older IGMP/MLD version where the router maps the join request to
   an SSM channel based on various, usually complex means of

2.6.3.  Summary

   The following table summarizes the techniques host interaction.

                        | IPv4  | IPv6 | Notes                      |
   | Host sending       | Yes   | Yes  | No support needed          |
   | Host receiving ASM | IGMP  | MLD  | Any IGMP/MLD version       |
   | Host receiving SSM | IGMPv3| MLDv2| Any version w/ SSM-mapping |

2.7.  Restricting Multicast Flooding in the Link Layer

   Multicast transmission in the link layer, for example Ethernet,
   typically includes some form of flooding the packets through a LAN.
   This causes unnecessary bandwidth usage and discarding unwanted
   frames on those nodes which did not want to receive the multicast

   Therefore a number of techniques have been developed, to be used in
   Ethernet switches between routers, or between routers and hosts, to
   limit the flooding.

   Some mechanisms operate with IP addresses, others with MAC addresses.
   If filtering is done based on MAC addresses, hosts may receive
   unnecessary multicast traffic (filtered out in the hosts' IP layer)
   if more than one IP multicast group addresses maps into the same MAC
   address, or if IGMPv3/MLDv2 source filters are used.  Filtering based
   on IP destination addresses, or destination and sources addresses,
   will help avoid these but requires parsing of the Ethernet frame

   These options are discussed in this section.

2.7.1.  Router-to-Router Flooding Reduction

   A proprietary solution, Cisco's RGMP [RFC3488] has been developed to
   reduce the amount of flooding between routers in a switched networks.
   This is typically only considered a problem in some Ethernet-based
   Internet Exchange points or VPNs.

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   There have been proposals to observe and possibly react ("snoop") PIM
   messages [PIM-SNOOP].

2.7.2.  Host/Router Flooding Reduction

   There are a number of techniques to help reduce flooding both from a
   router to hosts, and from a host to the routers (and other hosts).

   Cisco's proprietary CGMP [CGMP] provides a solution where the routers
   notify the switches, but also allows the switches to snoop IGMP
   packets to enable faster notification of hosts no longer wishing to
   receive a group.  Implementations of CGMP do not support fast leave
   behaviour with IGMPv3.  Due to IGMP report suppression in IGMPv1 and
   IGMPv2, multicast is still flooded to ports which were once members
   of a group as long as there is at least one receiver on the link.
   Flooding restrictions are done based on multicast MAC addresses.
   Implementations of CGMP do not support IPv6.

   IEEE 802.1D-2004 specification describes Generic Attribute
   Registration Protocol (GARP), and GARP Multicast Registration
   Protocol (GMRP) [GMRP] is a link-layer multicast group application of
   GARP that notifies switches about MAC multicast group memberships.
   If GMRP is used in conjunction with IP multicast, then the GMRP
   registration function would become associated with an IGMP "join".
   However, this GMRP-IGMP association is beyond the scope of GMRP.
   GMRP requires support at the host stack and it has not been widely
   implemented.  Further, IEEE 802.1 considers GARP and GMRP obsolete
   being replaced by Multiple Registration Protocol (MRP) and Multicast
   Multiple Registration Protocol (MMRP) that are being specified in
   IEEE 802.1ak [802.1ak].  MMRP is expected to be mainly used between
   bridges.  Some further information about GARP/GMRP is also available
   in Appendix B of [RFC3488].

   IGMP snooping [RFC4541] appears to be the most widely implemented
   technique.  IGMP snooping requires that the switches implement a
   significant amount of IP-level packet inspection; this appears to be
   something that is difficult to get right, and often the upgrades are
   also a challenge.  Snooping support is commonplace for IGMPv1 and
   IGMPv2, but fewer switches support IGMPv3 or MLD (any version)
   snooping.  In the worst case, enabling IGMP snooping on a switch that
   does not support IGMPv3 snooping breaks multicast capabilities of
   nodes using IGMPv3.

   Snooping switches also need to identify the ports where routers
   reside and therefore where to flood the packets.  This can be
   accomplished using Multicast Router Discovery protocol [RFC4286],
   looking at certain IGMP queries [RFC4541], looking at PIM Hello and
   possibly other messages, or by manual configuration.  An issue with

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   PIM snooping at LANs is that PIM messages can't be turned off or
   encrypted, leading to security issues [PIM-THREATS].

   IGMP proxying [RFC4605] is sometimes used either as a replacement of
   a multicast routing protocol on a small router, or to aggregate IGMP/
   MLD reports when used with IGMP snooping.

2.7.3.  Summary

   The following table summarizes the techniques for multicast flooding
   reduction inside a single link for router-to-router and last-hop

                           | R-to-R | LAN | Notes                      |
   | Cisco's RGMP          |  Yes   | No  | Replaced by PIM snooping   |
   | PIM snooping          |  Yes   | No  | Security issues in LANs    |
   | IGMP/MLD snooping     |  No    | Yes | Common, IGMPv3 or MLD rare |
   | Multicast Router Disc |  No    | Yes | Few if any implem. yet     |
   | IEEE GMRP and MMRP    |  No    | No  | No host/router deployment  |
   | Cisco's CGMP          |  No    | Yes | Replaced by other snooping |

3.  Acknowledgements

   Tutoring a couple multicast-related papers, the latest by Kaarle
   Ritvanen [RITVANEN] convinced the author that up-to-date multicast
   routing and address assignment/allocation documentation is necessary.

   Leonard Giuliano, James Lingard, Jean-Jacques Pansiot, Dave Meyer,
   Stig Venaas, Tom Pusateri, Marshall Eubanks, Dino Farinacci, Bharat
   Joshi, Albert Manfredi, Jean-Jacques Pansiot, Spencer Dawkins, Sharon
   Chisholm, John Zwiebel, Dan Romascanu, Thomas Morin, Ron Bonica,
   Prashant Jhingran, and Tim Polk provided good comments, helping in
   improving this document.

4.  IANA Considerations

   IANA has updated the following registries by adding a reference to
   this document:

   o  OSPFv2 Options Registry: MC-bit

   o  OSPFv2 Link State (LS) Type: Group-membership-LSA

   o  OSPFv2 Router Properties Registry: W-bit

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   o  OSPFv3 Options Registry: MC-bit

   o  OSPFv3 LSA Function Code Registry: Group-membership-LSA

   o  OSPFv3 Prefix Options Registry: MC-bit

5.  Security Considerations

   This memo only describes different approaches to multicast routing,
   and this has no security considerations; the security analysis of the
   mentioned protocols is out of scope of this memo.

   However, there has been analysis of the security of multicast routing
   infrastructures [RFC4609], IGMP/MLD [MLD-SEC], and PIM last-hop
   issues [PIM-THREATS].

6.  References

6.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2026]       Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process --
                   Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [RFC3376]       Cain, B., Deering, S., Kouvelas, I., Fenner, B., and
                   A. Thyagarajan, "Internet Group Management Protocol,
                   Version 3", RFC 3376, October 2002.

   [RFC3618]       Fenner, B. and D. Meyer, "Multicast Source Discovery
                   Protocol (MSDP)", RFC 3618, October 2003.

   [RFC3810]       Vida, R. and L. Costa, "Multicast Listener Discovery
                   Version 2 (MLDv2) for IPv6", RFC 3810, June 2004.

   [RFC3956]       Savola, P. and B. Haberman, "Embedding the Rendezvous
                   Point (RP) Address in an IPv6 Multicast Address",
                   RFC 3956, November 2004.

   [RFC4601]       Fenner, B., Handley, M., Holbrook, H., and I.
                   Kouvelas, "Protocol Independent Multicast - Sparse
                   Mode (PIM-SM): Protocol Specification (Revised)",
                   RFC 4601, August 2006.

   [RFC4607]       Holbrook, H. and B. Cain, "Source-Specific Multicast
                   for IP", RFC 4607, August 2006.

   [RFC4760]       Bates, T., Chandra, R., Katz, D., and Y. Rekhter,
                   "Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4", RFC 4760,
                   January 2007.

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   [RFC4915]       Psenak, P., Mirtorabi, S., Roy, A., Nguyen, L., and
                   P. Pillay-Esnault, "Multi-Topology (MT) Routing in
                   OSPF", RFC 4915, June 2007.

   [RFC5015]       Handley, M., Kouvelas, I., Speakman, T., and L.
                   Vicisano, "Bidirectional Protocol Independent
                   Multicast (BIDIR-PIM)", RFC 5015, October 2007.

6.2.  Informative References

   [802.1ak]       "IEEE 802.1ak - Multiple Registration Protocol",

   [ADDRARCH]      Savola, P., "Overview of the Internet Multicast
                   Addressing Architecture", Work in Progress,
                   October 2006.

   [CGMP]          "Cisco Group Management Protocol",

   [DVMRPv3]       Pusateri, T., "Distance Vector Multicast Routing
                   Protocol", Work in Progress, December 2003.

   [DVMRPv3-AS]    Pusateri, T., "Distance Vector Multicast Routing
                   Protocol Applicability Statement", Work in Progress,
                   May 2004.

   [DYNSSM-REQ]    Lehtonen, R., Venaas, S., and M. Hoerdt,
                   "Requirements for discovery of dynamic SSM sources",
                   Work in Progress, February 2005.

   [GMRP]          "GARP Multicast Registration Protocol",

   [IM-GAPS]       Meyer, D. and B. Nickless, "Internet Multicast Gap
                   Analysis from the MBONED Working Group for the IESG
                   [Expired]", Work in Progress, July 2002.

   [IMRP-ISSUES]   Meyer, D., "Some Issues for an Inter-domain Multicast
                   Routing Protocol", Work in Progress, November 1997.

   [M-ISIS]        Przygienda, T., "M-ISIS: Multi Topology (MT) Routing
                   in IS-IS", Work in Progress, November 2007.

   [MCAST-ISSUES]  Savola, P., "IPv6 Multicast Deployment Issues", Work
                   in Progress, February 2005.

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   [MLD-SEC]       Daley, G. and G. Kurup, "Trust Models and Security in
                   Multicast Listener Discovery", Work in Progress,
                   July 2004.

   [PIM-SNOOP]     Hemige, V., "PIM Snooping over VPLS", Work
                   in Progress, March 2007.

   [PIM-THREATS]   Savola, P. and J. Lingard, "Host Threats to Protocol
                   Independent Multicast (PIM)", Work in Progress,
                   October 2007.

   [RFC1075]       Waitzman, D., Partridge, C., and S. Deering,
                   "Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol",
                   RFC 1075, November 1988.

   [RFC1112]       Deering, S., "Host extensions for IP multicasting",
                   STD 5, RFC 1112, August 1989.

   [RFC1458]       Braudes, B. and S. Zabele, "Requirements for
                   Multicast Protocols", RFC 1458, May 1993.

   [RFC1584]       Moy, J., "Multicast Extensions to OSPF", RFC 1584,
                   March 1994.

   [RFC2189]       Ballardie, T., "Core Based Trees (CBT version 2)
                   Multicast Routing -- Protocol Specification --",
                   RFC 2189, September 1997.

   [RFC2201]       Ballardie, T., "Core Based Trees (CBT) Multicast
                   Routing Architecture", RFC 2201, September 1997.

   [RFC2715]       Thaler, D., "Interoperability Rules for Multicast
                   Routing Protocols", RFC 2715, October 1999.

   [RFC2784]       Farinacci, D., Li, T., Hanks, S., Meyer, D., and P.
                   Traina, "Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE)",
                   RFC 2784, March 2000.

   [RFC3208]       Speakman, T., Crowcroft, J., Gemmell, J., Farinacci,
                   D., Lin, S., Leshchiner, D., Luby, M., Montgomery,
                   T., Rizzo, L., Tweedly, A., Bhaskar, N., Edmonstone,
                   R., Sumanasekera, R., and L. Vicisano, "PGM Reliable
                   Transport Protocol Specification", RFC 3208,
                   December 2001.

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   [RFC3446]       Kim, D., Meyer, D., Kilmer, H., and D. Farinacci,
                   "Anycast Rendevous Point (RP) mechanism using
                   Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) and Multicast
                   Source Discovery Protocol (MSDP)", RFC 3446,
                   January 2003.

   [RFC3488]       Wu, I. and T. Eckert, "Cisco Systems Router-port
                   Group Management Protocol (RGMP)", RFC 3488,
                   February 2003.

   [RFC3740]       Hardjono, T. and B. Weis, "The Multicast Group
                   Security Architecture", RFC 3740, March 2004.

   [RFC3913]       Thaler, D., "Border Gateway Multicast Protocol
                   (BGMP): Protocol Specification", RFC 3913,
                   September 2004.

   [RFC3973]       Adams, A., Nicholas, J., and W. Siadak, "Protocol
                   Independent Multicast - Dense Mode (PIM-DM): Protocol
                   Specification (Revised)", RFC 3973, January 2005.

   [RFC4286]       Haberman, B. and J. Martin, "Multicast Router
                   Discovery", RFC 4286, December 2005.

   [RFC4541]       Christensen, M., Kimball, K., and F. Solensky,
                   "Considerations for Internet Group Management
                   Protocol (IGMP) and Multicast Listener Discovery
                   (MLD) Snooping Switches", RFC 4541, May 2006.

   [RFC4566]       Handley, M., Jacobson, V., and C. Perkins, "SDP:
                   Session Description Protocol", RFC 4566, July 2006.

   [RFC4605]       Fenner, B., He, H., Haberman, B., and H. Sandick,
                   "Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) /
                   Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)-Based Multicast
                   Forwarding ("IGMP/MLD Proxying")", RFC 4605,
                   August 2006.

   [RFC4609]       Savola, P., Lehtonen, R., and D. Meyer, "Protocol
                   Independent Multicast - Sparse Mode (PIM-SM)
                   Multicast Routing Security Issues and Enhancements",
                   RFC 4609, October 2006.

   [RFC4610]       Farinacci, D. and Y. Cai, "Anycast-RP Using Protocol
                   Independent Multicast (PIM)", RFC 4610, August 2006.

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   [RFC5059]       Bhaskar, N., Gall, A., Lingard, J., and S. Venaas,
                   "Bootstrap Router (BSR) Mechanism for Protocol
                   Independent Multicast (PIM)", RFC 5059, January 2008.

   [RITVANEN]      Ritvanen, K., "Multicast Routing and Addressing", HUT
                   Report, Seminar on Internetworking, May 2004,

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Appendix A.  Multicast Payload Transport Extensions

   A couple of mechanisms have been specified to improve the
   characteristics of the data that can be transported over multicast.

   We describe those mechanisms that have impact on the multicast
   routing infrastructure, e.g., require or specify router assistance or
   involvement in some form.  Purely end-to-end or host-based protocols
   are out of scope.

A.1.  Reliable Multicast

   There has been some work on reliable multicast delivery so that
   applications with reliability requirements could use multicast
   instead of simple unreliable UDP.

   Most of the mechanisms are host-based and as such out of scope of
   this document, but one relevant from multicast routing perspective is
   Pragmatic Generic Multicast (PGM) [RFC3208].  It does not require
   support from the routers, bur PGM-aware routers may act in router
   assistance role in the initial delivery and potential retransmission
   of missing data.

A.2.  Multicast Group Security

   Multicast Security Working Group has been working on methods how the
   integrity, confidentiality, and authentication of data sent to
   multicast groups can be ensured using cryptographic techniques

Author's Address

   Pekka Savola
   CSC - Scientific Computing Ltd.


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Full Copyright Statement

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