Introduction to IP Multicast

IP multicast is an efficient mechanism for transmitting data from a single source to many receivers in a network. The destination address of a multicast packet is always a multicast group address. This address comes from the IANA block 224.0.0.0–239.255.255.255. (Before the concept of classless interdomain routing, or CIDR, existed, this range was referred to as the D-class.) A source transmits a multicast packet by using a multicast group address, while many receivers “listen” for traffic from that same group address.

Examples of applications that would use multicast are audio/video services such as IPTV, Windows Media Player, conferencing services such as NetMeeting or stock tickers, and financial information such ...

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