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GMU C4I Center Seminar

The Development of Multicast on the Internet

Marshall Eubanks

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Nguyen Engineering building, Room 4705


The original Internet was not designed to support many-to-many communications, with the original "unicast" service model supporting only point-to-point communications. In 1989 Steve Deering (RFC 1112) created Internet Protocol, or IP, Multicast, introducing the idea of a "multicast group." In IP Multicast, there is a "multicast group," using a multicast IP address; sources send packets to that address, and interested receivers "subscribe" to the group (i.e., express interest in receiving data sent to that address). By 1992, there was the first multicast routing protocol and a multicast overlay network, the MBONE (for Multicast Backbone), with the first live audio and video multicasts being conducted in early 1992 and mid-1992. By the middle of the 1990's, it seemed fairly clear that IP Multicast would become the preferred mechanism for distributing real-time data over the Internet; a number of fairly sophisticated software tools being developed to support group communication assuming its universal deployment.

Eubanks will review the history of multicast, provide a description of the Internet protocols that define IP multicasting, including PIM, IGMP, MLD, AMT, and the new translation work, and explore the future of IP multicast.


MARSHALL EUBANKS was educated as a physicist at MIT, and was the technical lead of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's TEMPO Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) program, and then technical head of the U.S. Navy's VLBI Program. In private industry he helped create Internet video as CEO of Multicast Technologies and AmericaFree.TV and helped develop the first immersive Telepresence as CTO of TeleSuite. In the course of his scientific research he has been published in various publications including Science and Nature, and was recognized by having an asteroid, (6696) Eubanks, named in his honor. He also won the Naval Observatory's Newcomb Medal. He is Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Trust and a co-chair of the IETF Layer 3 VPN Working Group.

Last updated: 06/09/2014