The current IP multicast infrastructure in the Internet and many enterprise intranets is based on the PIM-SM protocol and Multicast Source Discovery Protocol (MSDP). These protocols have the limitations of the Internet Standard Multicast (ISM) service model. For example, with ISM, the network must maintain knowledge about which hosts in the network are actively sending multicast traffic.
The ISM service consists of the delivery of IP datagrams from any source to a group of receivers called the multicast host group. The datagram traffic for the multicast host group consists of datagrams with an arbitrary IP unicast source address (S) and the multicast group address (G) as the IP destination address. Systems receive this traffic by becoming members of the host group. Membership in a host group simply requires signaling the host group through IGMP version 1, 2, or 3.
In SSM, delivery of datagrams is based on (S, G) channels. In both SSM and ISM, no signaling is required to become a source. However, in SSM, receivers must subscribe or unsubscribe to (S, G) channels to receive or not receive traffic from specific sources. In other words, receivers can receive traffic only from (S, G) channels to which they are subscribed, whereas in ISM, receivers need not know the IP addresses of sources from which they receive their traffic. The proposed standard approach for channel subscription signaling uses IGMP and includes modes membership reports, which are supported only in IGMP version 3.