Mboned M. Abrahamsson
Internet-Draft T-Systems
Intended status: Informational T. Chown
Expires: January 7, 2017 Jisc
L. Giuliano
Juniper Networks, Inc.
July 6, 2016

Multicast Service Models


The draft provides a high-level overview of multicast service and deployment models, principally the Any-Source Multicast (ASM) and Source-Specific Multicast (SSM) models, and aims to provoke discussion of applicability of the models to certain scenarios. This initial draft is by no means comprehensive. Comments on the initial content, and what further content would be appropriate, or indeed whether the draft is of value, are welcomed.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

This Internet-Draft will expire on January 7, 2017.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

IP Multicast has been deployed in various forms, both within private networks and on the wider Internet. While a number of service models have been published individually, and in many cases revised over time, there is, we believe, no high-level guidance in the form of an Informational RFC documenting the models, their advantages and disadvantages, and their appropriateness to certain scenarios. This document aims to fill that gap.

This initial version of the document is not complete. There are other topics that can be included. The aim of this initial version is to determine whether this work is deemed of value within the IETF mboned WG.

2. Multicast service models

The general IP multicast service model [RFC1112] is that senders send to a multicast IP address, receivers express an interest in traffic sent to a given multicast address, and that routers figure out how to deliver traffic from the senders to the receivers.

The benefit of IP multicast is that it enables delivery of content such that any multicast packet sent from a source to a given multicast group address appears once and only once on any path between a sender and an interested receiver that has joined that multicast group. A reserved range of addresses (for either IPv4 or IPv6) is used for multicast group communication.

Two high-level flavours of this service model have evolved over time. In Any-Source Multicast (ASM), any number of sources may transmit multicast packets, and those sources may come and go over the course of a multicast session without being known a priori. In ASM, receivers express interest in a given multicast group address. In Source-Specific Multicast (SSM) the specific source(s) that may send traffic to the group are known in advance. In SSM, receivers express interest in a given multicast address and specific source(s).

Senders transmit multicast packets without knowing where receivers are, or how many there are. Receivers are able to signal to on-link routers their desire to receive multicast content sent to a given multicast group, and in the case of SSM from specific sender IP addresses. They may discover the group (and sender IP) information in a number of different ways. They may also signal their desire to no longer receive multicast traffic for a given group (and sender IP).

Multicast routing protocols are used to establish the multicast forwarding paths (tree) between a sender and a set of receivers. Each router would typically maintain multicast forwarding state for a given group (and potentially sender IP), such that it knows which interfaces to forward (and where necessary replicate) multicast packets to.

Multicast packet forwarding is generally not considered a reliable service. It is typically unidirectional, but a bidirectional multicast delivery mechanism also exists.

3. Multicast building blocks

In this section we describe general multicast building blocks that are applicable to both ASM and SSM deployment.

3.1. Multicast addressing

IANA has reserved specific ranges of IPv4 and IPv6 address space for multicast addressing.

Guidelines for IPv4 multicast address assignments can be found in [RFC5771]. IPv4 has no explicit multicast address format; a specific portion of the overall IPv4 address space is reserved for multicast use (

Guidelines for IPv6 multicast address assignments can be found in [RFC2375] and [RFC3307]. The IPv6 multicast address format is described in [RFC4291]. An IPv6 multicast group address will lie within ff00::/8.

3.2. Host signalling

A host wishing to signal interest in receiving (or no longer receiving) multicast to a given multicast group (and potentially from a specific sender IP) may do so by sending a packet using one of the protocols described below on an appropriate interface.

For IPv4, a host may use Internet Group Management Protocol Version 2 (IGMPv2) [RFC2236] to signal interest in a given group. IGMPv3 [RFC3376] has the added capability of specifying interest in receiving multicast packets from specific sources.

For IPv6, a host may use Multicast Listener Discovery Protocol (MLD) [RFC2710] to signal interest in a given group. MLDv2 [RFC3810] has the added capability of specifying interest in receiving multicast packets from specific sources.

Further guidance on IGMPv3 and MLDv2 is given in [RFC4604].

3.3. Multicast snooping

Is this appropriate in this document? There is discussion in [RFC4541].

4. ASM service model protocols

4.1. Protocol Independent Multicast, Dense Mode (PIM-DM)

PIM-DM is detailed in [RFC3973]. It operates by flooding multicast messages to all routers within the network in which it is configured. This ensures multicast data packets reach all interested receivers behind edge routers. Prune messages are used by routers to tell upstream routers to (temporarily) stop forwarding multicast for groups for which they have no known receivers.

PIM-DM remains an Experimental protocol since its publication in 2005.

4.2. Protocol Independent Multicast, Sparse Mode (PIM-SM)

The most recent revision of PIM-SM is detailed in [RFC7761]. PIM-SM is, as the name suggests, well-suited to scenarios where the subnets with receivers are sparsely distributed throughout the network. PIM-SM supports any number of senders for a given multicast group, which do not need to be known in advance, and which may come and go through the session. PIM-SM does not use a flooding phase, making it more scalable and efficient than PIM-DM, but this means PIM-SM needs a mechanism to construct the multicast forwarding tree (and associated forwarding tables in the routers) without flooding the network.

To achieve this, PIM-SM introduces the concept of a Rendezvous Point (RP) for a PIM domain. All routers in a PIM-SM domain are then configured to use specific RP(s). Such configuration may be performed by a variety of methods, including Anycast-RP [RFC4610].

A sending host's Designated Router encapsulates multicast packets to the RP, and a receiving host's Designated Router can forward PIM JOIN messages to the RP, in so doing forming what is known as the Rendezvous Point Tree (RPT). Optimisation of the tree may then happen once the receiving host's router is aware of the sender's IP, and a source-specific JOIN message may be sent towards it, in so doing forming the Shortest Path Tree (SPT). Unnecessary RPT paths are removed after the SPT is established.

4.2.1. Inter-domain PIM-SM, and MSDP

PIM-SM can in principle operate over any network in which the cooperating routers are configured with RPs. But in general, PIM-SM for a given domain will use an RP configured for that domain. There is thus a challenge in enabling PIM-SM to work between multiple domains, i.e. to allow an RP in one domain to learn the existence of a source in another domain, such that a receiver's router in one domain can know to forward a PIM JOIN towards a source's Designated Router in another domain. The solution to this problem is to use an inter-RP signalling protocol known as Multicast Source Discovery Protocol (MSDP). [RFC3618].

Deployment scenarios for MSDP are given in [RFC4611]. MSDP remains an Experimental protocol since its publication in 2003. MSDP was not replicated for IPv6.

4.3. Bidirectional PIM (BIDIR-PIM)

BIDIR-PIM is detailed in [RFC5015]. In contrast to PIM-SM, it can establish bi-directional multicast forwarding trees between multicast sources and receivers.

Add more...

4.4. IPv6 PIM-SM with Embedded RP

Within a single PIM domain, PIM-SM for IPv6 works largely the same as it does for IPv4. However, the size of the IPv6 address (128 bits) allows a different mechanism for multicast routers to determine the RP for a given multicast group address. Embedded-RP [RFC3956] specifies a method to embed the unicast RP IP address in an IPv6 multicast group address, allowing routers supporting the protocol to determine the RP for the group without any prior configuration.

Embedded-RP allows PIM-SM operation across any network in which there is an end-to-end path of routers supporting the protocol. By embedding the RP address in this way, multicast for a given group can operate inter-domain without the need for an explicit source discovery protocol (i.e. without MSDP for IPv6). It would be desirable that the RP would be located close to the sender(s) in the group.

5. SSM service model protocols

5.1. Source Specific Multicast (PIM-SSM)

PIM-SSM is detailed in [RFC4607]. In contrast to PIM-SM, PIM-SSM benefits from assuming that source(s) are known about in advance, i.e. the source IP address is known (by some out of band mechanism), and thus the receiver's router can send a PIM JOIN directly towards the sender, without needing to use an RP.

IPv4 addresses in the 232/8 ( to range are designated as source-specific multicast (SSM) destination addresses and are reserved for use by source-specific applications and protocols. For IPv6, the address prefix FF3x::/32 is reserved for source-specific multicast use.

6. Discussion

In this section we discuss the applicability of the ASM and SSM models described above, and their associated protocols, to a range of deployment scenarios. The context is framed in a campus / enterprise environment, but the draft could broaden its scope to other environments (thoughts?).

6.1. ASM Deployment

PIM-DM remains an Experimental protocol, that appears to be rarely used in campus or enterprise environments. Open question: what are the use cases for PIM-DM today?

In campus scenarios, PIM-SM is in common use. The configuration and management of an RP is not onerous. However, if interworking with external PIM domains in IPv4 multicast deployments is needed, MSDP is required to exchange information between domain RPs about sources. MSDP remains an Experimental protocol, and can be a complex and fragile protocol to administer and troubleshoot. MSDP is also specific to IPv4; it was not carried forward to IPv6.

PIM-SM is a general purpose protocol that can handle all use cases. In particular, it is well-suited to cases where one or more sources may came and go during a multicast session. For cases where a single, persistent source is used, PIM-SM has unnecessary complexity.

As stated above, MSDP was not taken forward to IPv6. Instead, IPv6 has Embedded-RP, which allows the RP address for a multicast group to be embedded in the group address, making RP discovery automatic, if all routers on the path between a receiver and a sender support the protocol. Embedded-RP is well-suited for lightweight ad-hoc deployments. However, it does rely on a single RP for an entire group. Embedded-RP was run successfully between European and US academic networks during the 6NET project in 2004/05. Its usage generally remains constrained to academic networks.

BIDIR-PIM is designed, as the name suggests, for bidirectional use cases.

6.2. SSM Deployment

As stated in RFC4607, SSM is particularly well-suited to dissemination-style applications with one or more senders whose identities are known (by some mechanism) before the application begins. PIM-SSM is therefore very well-suited to applications such as IP TV.

Some benefits of PIM-SSM are presented in RFC 4607:

A significant benefit of SSM is its reduced complexity through eliminating network-based source discovery. This means no RPs, shared trees, SPT switchover, PIM registers, MSDP or data-driven state creation. It is really just a small subset of PIM-SM, plus IGMPv3. This makes it radically simpler to manage, troubleshoot and operate.

SSM is considered more secure in that it supports access control, i.e. you only get packets from the sources you explicitly ask for, as opposed to ASM where anyone can decide to send traffic to a PIM-SM group address.

It is often thought that ASM is required for multicast applications where there are multiple sources. However, RFC4607 also describes how SSM can be used instead of PIM-SM for multi-party applications:

A disadvantage of SSM is that it requires hosts using SSM and (edge) routers with SSM receivers to support the new(er) IGMPv3 and MLDv2 protocols. The slow delivery of support in some OSes has meant that adoption of SSM has also been slower than might have been expected, or hoped.

6.3. Other considerations

6.3.1. Scalability, and multicast domains

One of the challenges in wider-scale multicast deployment is its scalability, if it is expected that multicast-enabled routers are required to hold state for large numbers of multicast sources/groups.

In practice, the number of groups a given router needs to hold state for is limited by the propagation of the multicast messages for any given group, e.g. because only a specific connected set of routers are multicast-enabled, or because multicast scope borders have been configured between multicast-enabled routers for access control purposes. Further, protocol policy/filters are typically used to limit state, as well as access control.

IPv4 multicast has no explicit indication of scope boundaries within its multicast address format. The prefix is reserved for private use within a network, as per [RFC2365], and is believed to be in common usage. Other scopes within this range are defined, e.g. Organizational Local Scope, but whether this is in common use is unclear.

In contrast, IPv6 has specific flag bits reserved to indicate the scope of an address, e.g. link (0x2), site (0x5), organisation (0x8) or global (0xe), as described in [RFC7346]. Such explicit scoping makes configuration of scope boundaries a simpler, cleaner process.

6.3.2. Reliable multicast

Do we want to go here, and if so which protocols should we mention? FLUTE [RFC6726] might be one example.

6.3.3. Inter-domain multicast peering

Interdomain peering best practices are documented in [I-D.ietf-mboned-interdomain-peering-bcp].

6.3.4. Layer 2 multicast domains

Open question - do we want to look at L2 models, e.g. as might be applied at an IXP?

6.3.5. Anything else?

Anything else to add here?

7. Use case examples

Aim to add 2-3 deployment examples here, if deemed useful. Perhaps one PIM-SM/MSDP/Anycast-RP, one Embedded-RP, one SSM?

8. Conclusions

Do we wish to make a very strong recommendation here for the SSM service model, and thus for PIM-SSM, even in multi-source applications?

Is this document Informational or BCP? Currently assumed Informational.

9. Security Considerations

Do we need general text on multicast security here, or not?

10. IANA Considerations

This document currently makes no request of IANA.

Note to RFC Editor: this section may be removed upon publication as an RFC.

11. Acknowledgments

TBC if draft progresses...

12. References

12.1. Normative References

[RFC1112] Deering, S., "Host extensions for IP multicasting", STD 5, RFC 1112, DOI 10.17487/RFC1112, August 1989.
[RFC2236] Fenner, W., "Internet Group Management Protocol, Version 2", RFC 2236, DOI 10.17487/RFC2236, November 1997.
[RFC2365] Meyer, D., "Administratively Scoped IP Multicast", BCP 23, RFC 2365, DOI 10.17487/RFC2365, July 1998.
[RFC2375] Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IPv6 Multicast Address Assignments", RFC 2375, DOI 10.17487/RFC2375, July 1998.
[RFC2710] Deering, S., Fenner, W. and B. Haberman, "Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) for IPv6", RFC 2710, DOI 10.17487/RFC2710, October 1999.
[RFC3307] Haberman, B., "Allocation Guidelines for IPv6 Multicast Addresses", RFC 3307, DOI 10.17487/RFC3307, August 2002.
[RFC3376] Cain, B., Deering, S., Kouvelas, I., Fenner, B. and A. Thyagarajan, "Internet Group Management Protocol, Version 3", RFC 3376, DOI 10.17487/RFC3376, October 2002.
[RFC3618] Fenner, B. and D. Meyer, "Multicast Source Discovery Protocol (MSDP)", RFC 3618, DOI 10.17487/RFC3618, October 2003.
[RFC3810] Vida, R. and L. Costa, "Multicast Listener Discovery Version 2 (MLDv2) for IPv6", RFC 3810, DOI 10.17487/RFC3810, June 2004.
[RFC3956] Savola, P. and B. Haberman, "Embedding the Rendezvous Point (RP) Address in an IPv6 Multicast Address", RFC 3956, DOI 10.17487/RFC3956, November 2004.
[RFC3973] Adams, A., Nicholas, J. and W. Siadak, "Protocol Independent Multicast - Dense Mode (PIM-DM): Protocol Specification (Revised)", RFC 3973, DOI 10.17487/RFC3973, January 2005.
[RFC4291] Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture", RFC 4291, DOI 10.17487/RFC4291, February 2006.
[RFC4607] Holbrook, H. and B. Cain, "Source-Specific Multicast for IP", RFC 4607, DOI 10.17487/RFC4607, August 2006.
[RFC4610] Farinacci, D. and Y. Cai, "Anycast-RP Using Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM)", RFC 4610, DOI 10.17487/RFC4610, August 2006.
[RFC5015] Handley, M., Kouvelas, I., Speakman, T. and L. Vicisano, "Bidirectional Protocol Independent Multicast (BIDIR-PIM)", RFC 5015, DOI 10.17487/RFC5015, October 2007.
[RFC5771] Cotton, M., Vegoda, L. and D. Meyer, "IANA Guidelines for IPv4 Multicast Address Assignments", BCP 51, RFC 5771, DOI 10.17487/RFC5771, March 2010.
[RFC6726] Paila, T., Walsh, R., Luby, M., Roca, V. and R. Lehtonen, "FLUTE - File Delivery over Unidirectional Transport", RFC 6726, DOI 10.17487/RFC6726, November 2012.
[RFC7346] Droms, R., "IPv6 Multicast Address Scopes", RFC 7346, DOI 10.17487/RFC7346, August 2014.
[RFC7761] Fenner, B., Handley, M., Holbrook, H., Kouvelas, I., Parekh, R., Zhang, Z. and L. Zheng, "Protocol Independent Multicast - Sparse Mode (PIM-SM): Protocol Specification (Revised)", STD 83, RFC 7761, DOI 10.17487/RFC7761, March 2016.

12.2. Informative References

[RFC4541] Christensen, M., Kimball, K. and F. Solensky, "Considerations for Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) and Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) Snooping Switches", RFC 4541, DOI 10.17487/RFC4541, May 2006.
[RFC4604] Holbrook, H., Cain, B. and B. Haberman, "Using Internet Group Management Protocol Version 3 (IGMPv3) and Multicast Listener Discovery Protocol Version 2 (MLDv2) for Source-Specific Multicast", RFC 4604, DOI 10.17487/RFC4604, August 2006.
[RFC4611] McBride, M., Meylor, J. and D. Meyer, "Multicast Source Discovery Protocol (MSDP) Deployment Scenarios", BCP 121, RFC 4611, DOI 10.17487/RFC4611, August 2006.
[I-D.ietf-mboned-interdomain-peering-bcp] Tarapore, P., Sayko, R., Shepherd, G., Eckert, T. and R. Krishnan, "Use of Multicast Across Inter-Domain Peering Points", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-mboned-interdomain-peering-bcp-03, May 2016.

Authors' Addresses

Mikael Abrahamsson T-Systems Stockholm , Sweden EMail: mikael.abrahamsson@t-systems.se
Tim Chown Jisc Lumen House, Library Avenue Harwell Oxford, Didcot, OX11 0SG United Kingdom EMail: tim.chown@jisc.ac.uk
Lenny Giuliano Juniper Networks, Inc. 2251 Corporate Park Drive Hemdon, Virginia, 20171 United States EMail: lenny@juniper.net