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multicast
Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 

To transmit a single message to a select group of recipients. A simple example of multicasting is sending an e-mail message to a mailing list. Teleconferencing and videoconferencing also use multicasting, but require more robust protocols and networks.

Standards are being developed to support multicasting over a TCP/IP network such as the Internet. These standards, IP Multicast and Mbone, will allow users to easily join multicast groups.

Note that multicasting refers to sending a message to a select group whereas broadcasting refers to sending a message to everyone connected to a network.

The terms multicast and narrowcast are often used interchangeably, although narrowcast usually refers to the business model whereas multicast refers to the actual technology used to transmit the data.

Compare with unicast and anycast.

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For internet.com pages about multicast . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Introduction to IP Multicast routing 
This paper, from 3Com, describes the benefits of multicasting, the Multicast Backbone (MBONE), Class D addressing, and the operation of the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) and explores a number of different algorithms that may potentially be employed by multicast routing protocols.

Multicast Routing
This page, from Cisco Systems, describes design considerations for multipoint communications.

related categories

Electronic Mail

Videoconferencing

related terms

anycast

broadcast

DVMRP

IGMP

IP Multicast

narrowcast

RTSP

teleconference

unicast


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