IP-Multicasting Technology Part I: History and Overview

The primary advantages to the multicasting approach are in three areas: "bandwidth", "network congestion", and "server load". The first advantage should be quite obvious since the total number of packets transmitted is the same regardless of the number of end-users who are listening to a multicast data-stream. This enormous savings in bandwidth leads directly to the second advantage. With less bandwidth consumed there is a lesser chance of these new applications causing unnecessary congestion of network segments. The final advantage, however, may not be so obvious. For server-farms, the multicast approach requires a much smaller set of resources (CPU, process threads, network interfaces, etc.) to handle a given set of end-users. In unicasting, a separate session (UDP or TCP) must be started for each interested end-user. Thus, multicasting holds great promise in relieving the strain on audio / video / data-cast / push servers.

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