A multicast router (mrouter) will direct a single data stream to multicast routing switches. These switches then transmit data units to many end-users, separately and simultaneously. A multicast router program has the ability to classify packets as either multicast or unicast for the appropriate distribution. Multicasting refers to delivering one transmission to many hosts, with the data being sent solely to the end-users who want to receive it. Since packets are only duplicated by the network when required, bandwidth is used more efficiently. By using a router and multicast switching, administrators can also exercise greater control over transmissions, leading to enhanced efficiency and performance.

Multicast Routing Transmits Data Efficiently

Common multicast routing protocols are required to transmit multicast data packets. The dense-mode routing protocol distributes data to a large number of users as long as the bandwidth is adequate. Sparse-mode multicast routing is used when limited bandwidth is available and/or there is a smaller group of multicast recipients. A multicast address sends data packets to hosts within a number of sub-networks. In comparison, a broadcast address transmits a datagram to a sub-network, while a unicast address sends a unit of data to one host only.

Multicast Networks Supply Video Streaming

Large amounts of data can be sent over multicast networks to reach multiple devices. Multicast IP traffic includes the following applications:

  • Multimedia;
  • Voice-conferencing;
  • Software delivery.

The Internet Multicast Backbone (Mbone) is a virtual network that supports multicasting. It includes a group of sub-networks and routers that work together to supply multicast information to network recipients.

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