IPv4 multicast and its uses

IPv4 multicast enables efficient communication between a single sender and multiple receivers within a network. This blog post will explain the concept of IPv4 multicast, its uses, and advantages for computer networks. Additionally, we will discuss multicast addressing, the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP), and multicast routing protocols like Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM).

Table of Contents

Overview of IPv4 Multicast

IPv4 multicast is a communication method that allows a single sender to transmit data to multiple receivers simultaneously, without the need to send individual copies of the data to each receiver. This approach conserves bandwidth and reduces network congestion, making it an efficient solution for group communication in computer networks.

There are three main types of communication in IPv4 networks:

Multicast Addressing

IPv4 multicast uses a special range of IP addresses to identify multicast groups. The multicast address range is to, which is reserved for multicast communication. Devices that wish to receive multicast data join a multicast group by subscribing to its associated multicast address. When a sender transmits data to a multicast address, all devices subscribed to that address receive the data.

Some well-known IPv4 multicast addresses include:

Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)

The Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) is a network-layer protocol used by hosts and routers to establish and manage multicast group memberships. IGMP allows hosts to join and leave multicast groups, and it enables routers to learn which hosts belong to specific multicast groups. IGMP operates at the network layer (Layer 3) and communicates directly with routers to ensure proper delivery of multicast traffic.

There are three versions of IGMP:

Multicast Routing Protocols

While IGMP is responsible for managing multicast group memberships at the network layer, multicast routing protocols are required to forward multicast traffic between routers and across network boundaries. Some of the most common multicast routing protocols include:

IPv4 Multicast Applications

IPv4 multicast has several practical applications in modern computer networks, including:


IPv4 multicast is a powerful and efficient method for transmitting data to multiple receivers simultaneously. Its ability to conserve bandwidth and reduce network congestion makes it an attractive option for various applications, including video streaming, online gaming, and software distribution. Understanding multicast addressing, IGMP, and multicast routing protocols is essential for network administrators and IT professionals looking to implement multicast communication in their IPv4 networks. By leveraging the advantages of multicast, organizations can improve the performance and scalability of their networks and deliver better experiences for end users.

5 min. read
26 Oct 2022

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