Host extensions for IP multicasting (RFC0988)
Original Publication Date: 1986-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
This memo specifies the extensions required of a host implementation of the Internet Protocol (IP) to support internetwork multicasting. This specification supersedes that given in RFC-966, and constitutes a proposed protocol standard for IP multicasting in the ARPA-Internet. The reader is directed to RFC-966 for a discussion of the motivation and rationale behind the multicasting extension specified here.
Network Working Group S. E. Deering Request for Comments: 988 Stanford University July 1986
Host Extensions for IP Multicasting
1. STATUS OF THIS MEMO
This memo specifies the extensions required of a host implementation of the Internet Protocol (IP) to support internetwork multicasting. This specification supersedes that given in RFC-966, and constitutes a proposed protocol standard for IP multicasting in the ARPA-Internet. The reader is directed to RFC-966 for a discussion of the motivation and rationale behind the multicasting extension specified here. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
IP multicasting is defined as the transmission of an IP datagram to a "host group", a set of zero or more hosts identified by a single IP destination address. A multicast datagram is delivered to all members of its destination host group with the same "best-efforts" reliability as regular unicast IP datagrams, i.e. the datagram is not guaranteed to arrive at all members of the destination group or in the same order relative to other datagrams.
The membership of a host group is dynamic; that is, hosts may join and leave groups at any time. There is no restriction on the location or number of members in a host group, but membership in a group may be restricted to only those hosts possessing a private access key. A host may be a member of more than one group at a time. A host need not be a member of a group to send datagrams to it.
A host group may be permanent or transient. A permanent group has a well-known, administratively assigned IP address. It is the address, not the membership of the group, that is permanent; at any time a permanent group may have any number of members, even zero. A transient group, on the other hand, is assigned an address dynamically when the group is created, at the request of a host. A transient group ceases to exist, and its address becomes eligible for reassignment, when its membership drops to zero.
The creation of transient groups and the maintenance of group membership information is the responsibility of "multicast agents", entities that reside in internet gateways or other special-purpose hosts. There is at least one multicast agent directly attached to every IP network or subnetwork that supports IP multicasting. A host requests the creation of new groups, and joins or leaves existing groups, by exchanging messages with a neighboring agent.
Deering [Page 1]
RFC 988 July 1986 Host Extensions for IP Multicasting
Multicast agents are also responsible for internetwork delivery of multicast IP datagrams. When sending a multicast IP datagram, a host transmits it to a local network multicast address which identifies all neighboring members of the destination host group. If the group has members on other networks, a multicast agent becomes an additional recipient of the local multicast and relays the datagram to agents on each of those other networks, via the internet gateway system. Finally, the agents on the o...