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Multicast Address

Definition - What does Multicast Address mean?

A multicast address is a single IP data packet set that represents a network host group. Multicast addresses are available to process datagrams or frames intended to be multicast to a designated network service. Multicast addressing is applied in the link layer (Layer 2 of the OSI Model) and the Internet layer (Layer 3 of the OSI Model) for IP versions 4 (IPv4) and 6 (IPv6).

Techopedia explains Multicast Address

Datagrams with multicast address are simultaneously transmitted to one or more multicast host groups or networked computers.

Multicast addresses range from 224.0.0.0 to 239.255.255.255. Examples for IPV4-reserved addresses for multicasting are as follows:

  • 224.0.0.0: Base address reserved
  • 224.0.0.1: Used for all multicasting host groups
  • 224.0.0.2: Used for all subnet routers
  • 224.0.0.5 and 224.0.0.6: Used by Open Shortest Path First, an interior gateway protocol for all network segment routing information

Multicast addresses in IPV4 are defined using leading address bits of 1110, which originate from the classful network design of the early Internet when this group of addresses was designated as Class D. Multicast addresses in IPV6 have the prefix ff00::/8. IPv6 multicast addresses are generally formed from four-bit groups.

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