About Multicast Routing
Multicast routing is a bandwidth-conserving technology that reduces traffic by simultaneously delivering a single stream of information to thousands of corporate recipients and homes. Applications that take advantage of multicast routing include videoconferencing, corporate communications, distance learning, and distribution of software, stock quotes, and news.
Multicast routing protocols deliver source traffic to multiple receivers without adding any additional burden on the source or the receivers while using the least network bandwidth of any competing technology. Multicast packets are replicated in the network by ASA enabled with Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) and other supporting multicast protocols, which results in the most efficient delivery of data to multiple receivers possible.
The ASA supports both stub multicast routing and PIM multicast routing. However, you cannot configure both concurrently on a single ASA.
The UDP and non-UDP transports are both supported for multicast routing. However, the non-UDP transport has no FastPath optimization.
Stub Multicast Routing
Stub multicast routing provides dynamic host registration and facilitates multicast routing. When configured for stub multicast routing, the ASA acts as an IGMP proxy agent. Instead of fully participating in multicast routing, the ASA forwards IGMP messages to an upstream multicast router, which sets up delivery of the multicast data. When configured for stub multicast routing, the ASA cannot be configured for PIM sparse or bidirectional mode. You must enable PIM on the interfaces participating in IGMP stub multicast routing.
The ASA supports both PIM-SM and bidirectional PIM. PIM-SM is a multicast routing protocol that uses the underlying unicast routing information base or a separate multicast-capable routing information base. It builds unidirectional shared trees rooted at a single Rendezvous Point (RP) per multicast group and optionally creates shortest-path trees per multicast source.
PIM Multicast Routing
Bidirectional PIM is a variant of PIM-SM that builds bidirectional shared trees connecting multicast sources and receivers. Bidirectional trees are built using a Designated Forwarder (DF) election process operating on each link of the multicast topology. With the assistance of the DF, multicast data is forwarded from sources to the Rendezvous Point (RP), and therefore along the shared tree to receivers, without requiring source-specific state. The DF election takes place during RP discovery and provides a default route to the RP.
If the ASA is the PIM RP, use the untranslated outside address of the ASA as the RP address.
PIM Source Specific Multicast Support
The ASA does not support PIM Source Specific Multicast (SSM) functionality and related configuration. However, the ASA allows SSM-related packets to pass through unless it is placed as a last-hop router.
SSM is classified as a data delivery mechanism for one-to-many applications such as IPTV. The SSM model uses a concept of "channels" denoted by an (S,G) pair, where S is a source address and G is an SSM destination address. Subscribing to a channel is achieved by using a group management protocol such as IGMPv3. SSM enables a receiving client, once it has learned about a particular multicast source, to receive multicast streams directly from the source rather than receiving it from a shared Rendezvous Point (RP). Access control mechanisms are introduced within SSM providing a security enhancement not available with current sparse or sparse-dense mode implementations.
PIM-SSM differs from PIM-SM in that it does not use an RP or shared trees. Instead, information on source addresses for a multicast group is provided by the receivers through the local receivership protocol (IGMPv3) and is used to directly build source-specific trees.
PIM Bootstrap Router (BSR)
PIM Bootstrap Router (BSR) is a dynamic Rendezvous Point (RP) selection model that uses candidate routers for RP function and for relaying the RP information for a group. The RP function includes RP discovery and provides a default route to the RP. It does this by configuring a set of devices as candidate BSRs (C-BSR) which participate in a BSR election process to choose a BSR amongst themselves. Once the BSR is chosen, devices that are configured as candidate Rendezvous Points (C-RP) start sending their group mapping to the elected BSR. The BSR then distributes the group-to-RP mapping information to all the other devices down the multicast tree through BSR messages that travel from PIM router to PIM router on a per-hop basis.
This feature provides a means of dynamically learning RPs, which is very essential in large complex networks where an RP can periodically go down and come up.
PIM Bootstrap Router (BSR) Terminology
The following terms are frequently referenced in the PIM BSR configuration:
- Bootstrap Router (BSR) — A BSR advertises Rendezvous Point (RP) information to other routers with PIM on a hop-by-hop basis. Among multiple Candidate-BSRs, a single BSR is chosen after an election process. The primary purpose of this Bootstrap router is to collect all Candidate-RP (C-RP) announcements in to a database called the RP-set and to periodically send this out to all other routers in the network as BSR messages (every 60 seconds).
- Bootstrap Router (BSR) messages — BSR messages are multicast to the All-PIM-Routers group with a TTL of 1. All PIM neighbors that receive these messages retransmit them (again with a TTL of 1) out of all interfaces except the one in which the messages were received. BSR messages contain the RP-set and the IP address of the currently active BSR. This is how C-RPs know where to unicast their C-RP messages.
Candidate Bootstrap Router (C-BSR) — A device that is configured as a candidate-BSR participates in the BSR election mechanism. A C-BSR with highest priority is elected as the BSR. The highest IP address of the C-BSR is used as a tiebreaker. The BSR election process is preemptive, for example if a new C-BSR with a higher priority comes up, it triggers a new election process.
Candidate Rendezvous Point (C-RP) — An RP acts as a meeting place for sources and receivers of multicast data. A device that is configured as a C-RP periodically advertises the multicast group mapping information directly to the elected BSR through unicast. These messages contain the Group-range, C-RP address, and a hold time. The IP address of the current BSR is learned from the periodic BSR messages that are received by all routers in the network. In this way, the BSR learns about possible RPs that are currently up and reachable.
The ASA does not act as a C-RP, even though the C-RP is a mandatory requirement for BSR traffic. Only routers can act as a C-RP. So, for BSR testing functionality, you must add routers to the topology.
BSR Election Mechanism — Each C-BSR originates Bootstrap messages (BSMs) that contain a BSR Priority field. Routers within the domain flood the BSMs throughout the domain. A C-BSR that hears about a higher-priority C-BSR than itself suppresses its sending of further BSMs for some period of time. The single remaining C-BSR becomes the elected BSR, and its BSMs inform all the other routers in the domain that it is the elected BSR.
Multicast Group Concept
Multicast is based on the concept of a group. An arbitrary group of receivers expresses an interest in receiving a particular data stream. This group does not have any physical or geographical boundaries—the hosts can be located anywhere on the Internet. Hosts that are interested in receiving data flowing to a particular group must join the group using IGMP. Hosts must be a member of the group to receive the data stream.
Multicast addresses specify an arbitrary group of IP hosts that have joined the group and want to receive traffic sent to this group.
Multicast routing supports clustering. In Spanned EtherChannel clustering, the control unit sends all multicast routing packets and data packets until fast-path forwarding is established. After fast-path forwarding is established, data units may forward multicast data packets. All data flows are full flows. Stub forwarding flows are also supported. Because only one unit receives multicast packets in Spanned EtherChannel clustering, redirection to the control unit is common. In Individual Interface clustering, units do not act independently. All data and routing packets are processed and forwarded by the control unit. Data units drop all packets that have been sent.
For more information about clustering, see ASA Cluster.