Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol

Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol

The Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP), defined in RFC 1075, is used to share information between routers to facilitate the transportation of IP Multicast packets among networks. It forms the basis of the Internet's multicast backbone (MBONE).



The protocol is based on the RIP protocol for forwarding packets: the router generates a routing table with the multicast group of which it has knowledge with corresponding distances (i.e. number of devices/routers between the router and the destination). When a multicast packet is received by a router, it is forwarded by the router's interfaces specified in the routing table.

DVMRP operates via a reverse path flooding technique, sending a copy of a received packet (specifically IGMP messages for exchanging routing information with other routers) out through each interface except the one at which the packet arrived. If a router (i.e. a LAN which it borders) does not wish to be part of a particular multicast group, it sends a "prune message" along the source path of the multicast.


Like most distance-vector protocols, DVMRP has difficulties with network scaling[1], primarily due to periodic the reflooding necessary to detect new hosts. This was more prevalent in early versions of the protocol, prior to the implementation of pruning[2]. DVMRP's flat unicast routing mechanism, which is used to determine the source interface of a data stream, also affects its ability to scale.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]

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