Multicast Router

What Does Multicast Router Mean?

A multicast router sorts out the two kinds of of signaling packets, multicast and unicast. The multicast router then determines the distribution of the data to their intended destinations in the Multicast Internet, also known as Multicast Backbone or MBone. Mrouters use a combination of algorithms in order to quickly and efficiently initiate sending orders to the applicable switches to facilitate delivery of the data packets.


A multicast router is also called an mrouter.

Techopedia Explains Multicast Router

Multcast routers work in conjunction with unicast routers to make up the bigger Backbone. Multiple mrouters can be found together with unicast routers along the structure of the Backbone and will disguise multicast packets as unicast ones so that the unicast routers will accept them.

The data packets are passed to other multicast routers using the unicast routers as pathways or conduits. This process is called IP tunneling.

There are two protocols involved in multicast routing: dense-mode routing and sparse-mode routing. These protocols are used in distributing multicast packets. The protocol to be used depends on the available bandwidth and the different distributions of end-users across the network.

Dense-mode routing is used when there is a large number of end-users and the bandwidth is enough to cater them. Meanwhile, sparse-mode routing is used when there is limited bandwidth and end-users are thinly distributed.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.