Information About Implementing IPv6 Multicast Routing
This chapter describes how to implement IPv6 multicast routing on the switch.
Traditional IP communication allows a host to send packets to a single host (unicast transmission) or to all hosts (broadcast transmission). IPv6 multicast provides a third scheme, allowing a host to send a single data stream to a subset of all hosts (group transmission) simultaneously.
IPv6 Multicast Overview
An IPv6 multicast group is an arbitrary group of receivers that want to receive a particular data stream. This group has no physical or geographical boundaries--receivers can be located anywhere on the Internet or in any private network. Receivers that are interested in receiving data flowing to a particular group must join the group by signaling their local switch. This signaling is achieved with the MLD protocol.
Switches use the MLD protocol to learn whether members of a group are present on their directly attached subnets. Hosts join multicast groups by sending MLD report messages. The network then delivers data to a potentially unlimited number of receivers, using only one copy of the multicast data on each subnet. IPv6 hosts that wish to receive the traffic are known as group members.
Packets delivered to group members are identified by a single multicast group address. Multicast packets are delivered to a group using best-effort reliability, just like IPv6 unicast packets.
The multicast environment consists of senders and receivers. Any host, regardless of whether it is a member of a group, can send to a group. However, only members of a group can listen to and receive the message.
A multicast address is chosen for the receivers in a multicast group. Senders use that address as the destination address of a datagram to reach all members of the group.
Membership in a multicast group is dynamic; hosts can join and leave at any time. There is no restriction on the location or number of members in a multicast group. A host can be a member of more than one multicast group at a time.
How active a multicast group is, its duration, and its membership can vary from group to group and from time to time. A group that has members may have no activity.
IPv6 Multicast Routing Implementation
The Cisco IOS software supports the following protocols to implement IPv6 multicast routing:
MLD is used by IPv6 switches to discover multicast listeners (nodes that want to receive multicast packets destined for specific multicast addresses) on directly attached links. There are two versions of MLD: MLD version 1 is based on version 2 of the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) for IPv4, and MLD version 2 is based on version 3 of the IGMP for IPv4. IPv6 multicast for Cisco IOS software uses both MLD version 2 and MLD version 1. MLD version 2 is fully backward-compatible with MLD version 1 (described in RFC 2710). Hosts that support only MLD version 1 will interoperate with a switch running MLD version 2. Mixed LANs with both MLD version 1 and MLD version 2 hosts are likewise supported.
PIM-SM is used between switches so that they can track which multicast packets to forward to each other and to their directly connected LANs.
PIM in Source Specific Multicast (PIM-SSM) is similar to PIM-SM with the additional ability to report interest in receiving packets from specific source addresses (or from all but the specific source addresses) to an IP multicast address.
MLD Access Group
The MLD access group provides receiver access control in Cisco IOS IPv6 multicast switches. This feature limits the list of groups a receiver can join, and it allows or denies sources used to join SSM channels.
Explicit Tracking of Receivers
The explicit tracking feature allows a switch to track the behavior of the hosts within its IPv6 network. This feature also enables the fast leave mechanism to be used with MLD version 2 host reports.
Protocol Independent Multicast
Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) is used between switches so that they can track which multicast packets to forward to each other and to their directly connected LANs. PIM works independently of the unicast routing protocol to perform send or receive multicast route updates like other protocols. Regardless of which unicast routing protocols are being used in the LAN to populate the unicast routing table, Cisco IOS PIM uses the existing unicast table content to perform the Reverse Path Forwarding (RPF) check instead of building and maintaining its own separate routing table.
You can configure IPv6 multicast to use either PIM-SM or PIM-SSM operation, or you can use both PIM-SM and PIM-SSM together in your network.
IPv6 multicast provides support for intradomain multicast routing using PIM-SM. PIM-SM uses unicast routing to provide reverse-path information for multicast tree building, but it is not dependent on any particular unicast routing protocol.
PIM-SM is used in a multicast network when relatively few switches are involved in each multicast and these switches do not forward multicast packets for a group, unless there is an explicit request for the traffic. PIM-SM distributes information about active sources by forwarding data packets on the shared tree. PIM-SM initially uses shared trees, which requires the use of an RP.
Requests are accomplished via PIM joins, which are sent hop by hop toward the root node of the tree. The root node of a tree in PIM-SM is the RP in the case of a shared tree or the first-hop switch that is directly connected to the multicast source in the case of a shortest path tree (SPT). The RP keeps track of multicast groups and the hosts that send multicast packets are registered with the RP by that host's first-hop switch.
As a PIM join travels up the tree, switches along the path set up multicast forwarding state so that the requested multicast traffic will be forwarded back down the tree. When multicast traffic is no longer needed, a switch sends a PIM prune up the tree toward the root node to prune (or remove) the unnecessary traffic. As this PIM prune travels hop by hop up the tree, each switch updates its forwarding state appropriately. Ultimately, the forwarding state associated with a multicast group or source is removed.
A multicast data sender sends data destined for a multicast group. The designated switch (DR) of the sender takes those data packets, unicast-encapsulates them, and sends them directly to the RP. The RP receives these encapsulated data packets, de-encapsulates them, and forwards them onto the shared tree. The packets then follow the (*, G) multicast tree state in the switches on the RP tree, being replicated wherever the RP tree branches, and eventually reaching all the receivers for that multicast group. The process of encapsulating data packets to the RP is called registering, and the encapsulation packets are called PIM register packets.
IPv6 BSR: Configure RP Mapping
PIM switches in a domain must be able to map each multicast group to the correct RP address. The BSR protocol for PIM-SM provides a dynamic, adaptive mechanism to distribute group-to-RP mapping information rapidly throughout a domain. With the IPv6 BSR feature, if an RP becomes unreachable, it will be detected and the mapping tables will be modified so that the unreachable RP is no longer used, and the new tables will be rapidly distributed throughout the domain.
Every PIM-SM multicast group needs to be associated with the IP or IPv6 address of an RP. When a new multicast sender starts sending, its local DR will encapsulate these data packets in a PIM register message and send them to the RP for that multicast group. When a new multicast receiver joins, its local DR will send a PIM join message to the RP for that multicast group. When any PIM switch sends a (*, G) join message, the PIM switch needs to know which is the next switch toward the RP so that G (Group) can send a message to that switch. Also, when a PIM switch is forwarding data packets using (*, G) state, the PIM switch needs to know which is the correct incoming interface for packets destined for G, because it needs to reject any packets that arrive on other interfaces.
A small set of switches from a domain are configured as candidate bootstrap switches (C-BSRs) and a single BSR is selected for that domain. A set of switches within a domain are also configured as candidate RPs (C-RPs); typically, these switches are the same switches that are configured as C-BSRs. Candidate RPs periodically unicast candidate-RP-advertisement (C-RP-Adv) messages to the BSR of that domain, advertising their willingness to be an RP. A C-RP-Adv message includes the address of the advertising C-RP, and an optional list of group addresses and mask length fields, indicating the group prefixes for which the candidacy is advertised. The BSR then includes a set of these C-RPs, along with their corresponding group prefixes, in bootstrap messages (BSMs) it periodically originates. BSMs are distributed hop-by-hop throughout the domain.
Bidirectional BSR support allows bidirectional RPs to be advertised in C-RP messages and bidirectional ranges in the BSM. All switches in a system must be able to use the bidirectional range in the BSM; otherwise, the bidirectional RP feature will not function.
PIM-Source Specific Multicast
PIM-SSM is the routing protocol that supports the implementation of SSM and is derived from PIM-SM. However, unlike PIM-SM where data from all multicast sources are sent when there is a PIM join, the SSM feature forwards datagram traffic to receivers from only those multicast sources that the receivers have explicitly joined, thus optimizing bandwidth utilization and denying unwanted Internet broadcast traffic. Further, instead of the use of RP and shared trees, SSM uses information found on source addresses for a multicast group. This information is provided by receivers through the source addresses relayed to the last-hop switches by MLD membership reports, resulting in shortest-path trees directly to the sources.
In SSM, delivery of datagrams is based on (S, G) channels. Traffic for one (S, G) channel consists of datagrams with an IPv6 unicast source address S and the multicast group address G as the IPv6 destination address. Systems will receive this traffic by becoming members of the (S, G) channel. Signaling is not required, but receivers must subscribe or unsubscribe to (S, G) channels to receive or not receive traffic from specific sources.
MLD version 2 is required for SSM to operate. MLD allows the host to provide source information. Before SSM can run with MLD, SSM must be supported in the Cisco IOS IPv6 switch, the host where the application is running, and the application itself.
Routable Address Hello Option
When an IPv6 interior gateway protocol is used to build the unicast routing table, the procedure to detect the upstream switch address assumes the address of a PIM neighbor is always same as the address of the next-hop switch, as long as they refer to the same switch. However, it may not be the case when a switch has multiple addresses on a link.
Two typical situations can lead to this situation for IPv6. The first situation can occur when the unicast routing table is not built by an IPv6 interior gateway protocol such as multicast BGP. The second situation occurs when the address of an RP shares a subnet prefix with downstream switches (note that the RP switch address has to be domain-wide and therefore cannot be a link-local address).
The routable address hello option allows the PIM protocol to avoid such situations by adding a PIM hello message option that includes all the addresses on the interface on which the PIM hello message is advertised. When a PIM switch finds an upstream switch for some address, the result of RPF calculation is compared with the addresses in this option, in addition to the PIM neighbor's address itself. Because this option includes all the possible addresses of a PIM switch on that link, it always includes the RPF calculation result if it refers to the PIM switch supporting this option.
Because of size restrictions on PIM messages and the requirement that a routable address hello option fits within a single PIM hello message, a limit of 16 addresses can be configured on the interface.
PIM IPv6 Stub Routing
The PIM stub routing feature reduces resource usage by moving routed traffic closer to the end user.
In a network using PIM stub routing, the only allowable route for IPv6 traffic to the user is through a switch that is configured with PIM stub routing. PIM passive interfaces are connected to Layer 2 access domains, such as VLANs, or to interfaces that are connected to other Layer 2 devices. Only directly connected multicast receivers and sources are allowed in the Layer 2 access domains. The PIM passive interfaces do not send or process any received PIM control packets.
When using PIM stub routing, you should configure the distribution and remote routers to use IPv6 multicast routing and configure only the switch as a PIM stub router. The switch does not route transit traffic between distribution routers. You also need to configure a routed uplink port on the switch. The switch uplink port cannot be used with SVIs.
You must also configure EIGRP stub routing when configuring PIM stub routing on the switch. For more information, see the EIGRPv6 Stub Routing section.
The redundant PIM stub router topology is not supported. The redundant topology exists when there is more than one PIM router forwarding multicast traffic to a single access domain. PIM messages are blocked, and the PIM assert and designated router election mechanisms are not supported on the PIM passive interfaces. Only the non-redundant access router topology is supported by the PIM stub feature. By using a non-redundant topology, the PIM passive interface assumes that it is the only interface and designated router on that access domain.
In the figure shown below, Switch A routed uplink port 25 is connected to the router and PIM stub routing is enabled on the VLAN 100 interfaces and on Host 3. This configuration allows the directly connected hosts to receive traffic from multicast source. See the Configuring PIM IPv6 Stub Routing section for more information.
IPv6 static mroutes behave much in the same way as IPv4 static mroutes used to influence the RPF check. IPv6 static mroutes share the same database as IPv6 static routes and are implemented by extending static route support for RPF checks. Static mroutes support equal-cost multipath mroutes, and they also support unicast-only static routes.
The Multicast Routing Information Base (MRIB) is a protocol-independent repository of multicast routing entries instantiated by multicast routing protocols (routing clients). Its main function is to provide independence between routing protocols and the Multicast Forwarding Information Base (MFIB). It also acts as a coordination and communication point among its clients.
Routing clients use the services provided by the MRIB to instantiate routing entries and retrieve changes made to routing entries by other clients. Besides routing clients, MRIB also has forwarding clients (MFIB instances) and special clients such as MLD. MFIB retrieves its forwarding entries from MRIB and notifies the MRIB of any events related to packet reception. These notifications can either be explicitly requested by routing clients or spontaneously generated by the MFIB.
Another important function of the MRIB is to allow for the coordination of multiple routing clients in establishing multicast connectivity within the same multicast session. MRIB also allows for the coordination between MLD and routing protocols.
The MFIB is a platform-independent and routing-protocol-independent library for IPv6 software. Its main purpose is to provide a Cisco IOS platform with an interface with which to read the IPv6 multicast forwarding table and notifications when the forwarding table changes. The information provided by the MFIB has clearly defined forwarding semantics and is designed to make it easy for the platform to translate to its specific hardware or software forwarding mechanisms.
When routing or topology changes occur in the network, the IPv6 routing table is updated, and those changes are reflected in the MFIB. The MFIB maintains next-hop address information based on the information in the IPv6 routing table. Because there is a one-to-one correlation between MFIB entries and routing table entries, the MFIB contains all known routes and eliminates the need for route cache maintenance that is associated with switching paths such as fast switching and optimum switching.
Distributed MFIB has its significance only in a stacked environment where the active switch distributes the MFIB information to the other stack's member switches. In the following section the line cards are nothing but the member switches in the stack.
Distributed MFIB (dMFIB) is used to switch multicast IPv6 packets on distributed platforms. dMFIB may also contain platform-specific information on replication across line cards. The basic MFIB routines that implement the core of the forwarding logic are common to all forwarding environments.
dMFIB implements the following functions:
Distributes a copy of the MFIB to the line cards.
Relays data-driven protocol events generated in the line cards to PIM.
Provides an MFIB platform application program interface (API) to propagate MFIB changes to platform-specific code responsible for programming the hardware acceleration engine. This API also includes entry points to switch a packet in software (necessary if the packet is triggering a data-driven event) and to upload traffic statistics to the software.
Provides hooks to allow clients residing on the RP to read traffic statistics on demand. (dMFIB does not periodically upload these statistics to the RP.)
The combination of dMFIB and MRIB subsystems also allows the switch to have a "customized" copy of the MFIB database in each line card and to transport MFIB-related platform-specific information from the RP to the line cards.
IPv6 Multicast Process Switching and Fast Switching
A unified MFIB is used to provide both fast switching and process switching support for PIM-SM and PIM-SSM in IPv6 multicast. In process switching, the Route Processor must examine, rewrite, and forward each packet. The packet is first received and copied into the system memory. The switch then looks up the Layer 3 network address in the routing table. The Layer 2 frame is then rewritten with the next-hop destination address and sent to the outgoing interface. The RP also computes the cyclic redundancy check (CRC). This switching method is the least scalable method for switching IPv6 packets.
IPv6 multicast fast switching allows switches to provide better packet forwarding performance than process switching. Information conventionally stored in a route cache is stored in several data structures for IPv6 multicast switching. The data structures provide optimized lookup for efficient packet forwarding.
In IPv6 multicast forwarding, the first packet is fast-switched if the PIM protocol logic allows it. In IPv6 multicast fast switching, the MAC encapsulation header is precomputed. IPv6 multicast fast switching uses the MFIB to make IPv6 destination prefix-based switching decisions. In addition to the MFIB, IPv6 multicast fast switching uses adjacency tables to prepend Layer 2 addressing information. The adjacency table maintains Layer 2 next-hop addresses for all MFIB entries.
The adjacency table is populated as adjacencies are discovered. Each time an adjacency entry is created (such as through ARP), a link-layer header for that adjacent node is precomputed and stored in the adjacency table. Once a route is determined, it points to a next hop and corresponding adjacency entry. It is subsequently used for encapsulation during switching of packets.
A route might have several paths to a destination prefix, such as when a switch is configured for simultaneous load balancing and redundancy. For each resolved path, a pointer is added for the adjacency corresponding to the next-hop interface for that path. This mechanism is used for load balancing across several paths.