IP multicast sources do not use a signaling mechanism to announce their presence. Sources just send their data into the attached network, as opposed to receivers that use Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) to announce their presence. If a source sends traffic to a multicast group configured in PIM sparse mode (PIM-SM), the Designated Router (DR) leading toward the source must inform the rendezvous point (RP) about the presence of this source. If the RP has downstream receivers that want to receive the multicast traffic (natively) from this source and has not joined the shortest path leading toward the source, then the DR must send the traffic from the source to the RP. The PIM registering process, which is individually run for each (S, G) entry, accomplishes these tasks between the DR and RP.
The registering process begins when a DR creates a new (S, G) state. The DR encapsulates all the data packets that match the (S, G) state into PIM register messages and unicasts those register messages to the RP.
If an RP has downstream receivers that want to receive register messages from a new source, the RP can either continue to receive the register messages through the DR or join the shortest path leading toward the source. By default, the RP will join the shortest path, because delivery of native multicast traffic provides the highest throughput. Upon receipt of the first packet that arrives natively through the shortest path, the RP will send a register-stop message back to the DR. When the DR receives this register-stop message, it will stop sending register messages to the RP.
If an RP has no downstream receivers that want to receive register messages from a new source, the RP will not join the shortest path. Instead, the RP will immediately send a register-stop message back to the DR. When the DR receives this register-stop message, it will stop sending register messages to the RP.
Once a routing entry is established for a source, a periodic reregistering takes place between the DR and RP. One minute before the multicast routing table state times out, the DR will send one dataless register message to the RP each second that the source is active until the DR receives a register-stop message from the RP. This action restarts the timeout time of the multicast routing table entry, typically resulting in one reregistering exchange every 2 minutes. Reregistering is necessary to maintain state, to recover from lost state, and to keep track of sources on the RP. It will take place independently of the RP joining the shortest path.