Host extensions for IP multicasting
RFC 1112

Document Type RFC - Internet Standard (August 1989; No errata)
Updated by RFC 2236
Obsoletes RFC 988, RFC 1054
Also known as STD 5
Author Steve Deering
Last updated 2013-05-03
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Network Working Group                                        S. Deering
Request for Comments: 1112                          Stanford University
Obsoletes: RFCs 988, 1054                                   August 1989

                  Host Extensions for IP Multicasting


   This memo specifies the extensions required of a host implementation
   of the Internet Protocol (IP) to support multicasting.  It is the
   recommended standard for IP multicasting in the Internet.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   IP multicasting is 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 intact 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.  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.  Those IP
   multicast addresses that are not reserved for permanent groups are
   available for dynamic assignment to transient groups which exist only
   as long as they have members.

   Internetwork forwarding of IP multicast datagrams is handled by
   "multicast routers" which may be co-resident with, or separate from,
   internet gateways.  A host transmits an IP multicast datagram as a
   local network multicast which reaches all immediately-neighboring
   members of the destination host group.  If the datagram has an IP
   time-to-live greater than 1, the multicast router(s) attached to the
   local network take responsibility for forwarding it towards all other
   networks that have members of the destination group.  On those other
   member networks that are reachable within the IP time-to-live, an
   attached multicast router completes delivery by transmitting the

Deering                                                         [Page 1]
RFC 1112          Host Extensions for IP Multicasting        August 1989

   datagram as a local multicast.

   This memo specifies the extensions required of a host IP
   implementation to support IP multicasting, where a "host" is any
   internet host or gateway other than those acting as multicast
   routers.  The algorithms and protocols used within and between
   multicast routers are transparent to hosts and will be specified in
   separate documents.  This memo also does not specify how local
   network multicasting is accomplished for all types of network,
   although it does specify the required service interface to an
   arbitrary local network and gives an Ethernet specification as an
   example.  Specifications for other types of network will be the
   subject of future memos.


   There are three levels of conformance to this specification:

      Level 0: no support for IP multicasting.

   There is, at this time, no requirement that all IP implementations
   support IP multicasting.  Level 0 hosts will, in general, be
   unaffected by multicast activity.  The only exception arises on some
   types of local network, where the presence of level 1 or 2 hosts may
   cause misdelivery of multicast IP datagrams to level 0 hosts.  Such
   datagrams can easily be identified by the presence of a class D IP
   address in their destination address field; they should be quietly
   discarded by hosts that do not support IP multicasting.  Class D
   addresses are described in section 4 of this memo.

      Level 1: support for sending but not receiving multicast IP

   Level 1 allows a host to partake of some multicast-based services,
   such as resource location or status reporting, but it does not allow
   a host to join any host groups.  An IP implementation may be upgraded
   from level 0 to level 1 very easily and with little new code.  Only
   sections 4, 5, and 6 of this memo are applicable to level 1

      Level 2: full support for IP multicasting.

   Level 2 allows a host to join and leave host groups, as well as send
   IP datagrams to host groups.  It requires implementation of the
   Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) and extension of the IP and
   local network service interfaces within the host.  All of the
   following sections of this memo are applicable to level 2
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