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IP multicast

IP multicast

IP multicast definition

IP multicast is a method of distributing data to a group in a single transmission. It’s popular in multimedia streaming, content distribution, and online gaming.

See also: multicast router, network congestion, class D IP address, reverse-path forwarding, unicast address, broadcast address

Risks associated with IP multicast

  • Network traffic amplification. If the sender does not properly control the recipient group, they can flood the network with unnecessary data, consume bandwidth, and cause network congestion.
  • Leaks. Unauthorized users may join multicast groups and receive sensitive or confidential data.
  • Complexity. Setup and management of multicast routing is usually more complex than unicast or broadcast routing. It requires specialized knowledge and configurations in routers and switches.
  • Scalability issues. IP multicast efficiently distributes data to multiple recipients but doesn’t scale well for huge or highly dynamic groups.
  • Lack of widespread support. Not all network equipment and internet service providers support multicast.
  • Limited internet use. IP multicast is primarily used within controlled or private networks, such as corporate intranets or academic networks. Its use on the public internet is limited due to its limits on scalability and security.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security