Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol

Definition of Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol

The Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) is a multicast routing technique used in computer networks for efficient data distribution to multiple recipients simultaneously. It employs a distance-vector algorithm based on the Routing Information Protocol (RIP) to share information about multicast group membership and network topology. DVMRP periodically exchanges routing updates between routers, allowing them to build their routing tables and delivering multicast traffic only to the branches of the network where receivers reside.


Distance: /ˈdɪstəns/Vector: /ˈvektər/Multicast: /ˈmʌltɪkæst/Routing: /ˈruːtɪŋ/ or /ˈraʊtɪŋ/Protocol: /ˈprəʊtəkɒl/ or /ˈprəʊtəkəl/

Key Takeaways

  1. Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) is an early multicast routing protocol that utilizes distance-vector algorithms to calculate the most efficient routes for data dissemination within multicast groups.
  2. DVMRP employs Reverse Path Forwarding (RPF) for building multicast distribution trees, ensuring that multicast packets are only forwarded along the paths leading to the hosts requesting the data, which helps avoid loops and reduce network congestion.
  3. Despite its historical significance and widespread initial adoption, DVMRP has been largely replaced by more advanced and scalable multicast routing protocols, such as Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) and Multicast OSPF (MOSPF).

Importance of Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol

The Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) is a significant technology term as it plays a crucial role in the efficient distribution of multicast data across networks.

With the growing popularity of group-oriented and multimedia applications, delivering data packets to multiple recipients simultaneously has become increasingly important.

DVMRP, as an early multicast routing protocol, achieves this by using distance-vector algorithms, constructing multicast distribution trees, and disseminating routing information through the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). By adopting reverse-path multicasting techniques, DVMRP ensures the swift and effective transfer of multicast traffic while reducing network congestion and conserving bandwidth.

Consequently, this protocol is essential for the successful implementation of time-sensitive and data-intensive applications across networks.


Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) is a technology that primarily facilitates efficient data communication within a network, specifically for multicast data transmission. The primary purpose of DVMRP is to ensure that data packets are delivered to all intended recipients within a network with minimal latency and resource consumption. This is particularly crucial in applications such as live video streaming, video conferencing, and online gaming, where it is essential for all parties to receive the same data simultaneously.

By using this protocol, networks can achieve lower bandwidth consumption and improve overall system performance when compared to traditional unicast or broadcast methods. DVMRP is essentially based on the Routing Information Protocol (RIP), a distance-vector routing protocol. It makes use of a routing algorithm called Truncated Reverse Path Broadcasting (TRPB) to dynamically build and maintain multicast distribution trees.

This approach allows the protocol to efficiently propagate data packets from a source to multiple receivers across various routes while preventing duplication or looping. Furthermore, DVMRP routers periodically exchange routing table information with their neighboring routers, thereby adapting to changes in the network topology and maintaining an up-to-date understanding of the overall network structure. Consequently, this enables DVMRP to achieve efficient multicast communication, ensuring that the intended recipients receive the data without causing unnecessary network congestion.

Examples of Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol

The Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) is an early multicast routing protocol developed primarily for the Multicast Backbone (MBONE), which is a virtual network built on top of the Internet. Here are three real-world examples of the technology:

MBONE (Multicast Backbone): Initially developed in the early 1990s for the efficient transmission of multicast data over the Internet, MBONE deployed DVMRP as the forefront routing protocol. This virtual network was utilized for various multicast applications, such as video and audio conferences, software distribution, and real-time data transmissions. DVMRP enabled the dissemination of multicast packets across routers and local area networks (LANs), facilitating the sharing of information across distinct networks.

Video and Audio Conferencing: Video and audio conferencing applications, such as Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) audio meetings and early videoconferencing tools, utilized DVMRP to enable multicast packet delivery across networks. In these applications, DVMRP allowed the transmission of real-time audio and video data to multiple recipients simultaneously without generating substantial network traffic, ensuring the efficient use of network resources.

Internet Radio Broadcasting: Internet radio services, such as early multicast-based stations, employed DVMRP for routing multicast packets containing audio streams to listeners. DVMRP ensured that the distribution of audio streams supported a large audience without congesting the network or requiring separate unicast streams for each listener. This efficient transmission process enabled radio stations to reach audiences worldwide with minimal impact on network resources.

Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) FAQ

What is Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP)?

Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol (DVMRP) is a multicast routing protocol specifically designed to optimize multicast delivery within a network. It is based on the Routing Information Protocol (RIP) and utilizes distance-vector algorithms to determine the most efficient multicast routes.

How does DVMRP work?

DVMRP works by creating multicast distribution trees and then relaying datagrams along these trees. These trees are created using the Reverse Path Forwarding (RPF) mechanism, which constructs routes in reverse, from receivers back to the source. To maintain and update the multicast trees, routers exchange Multicast Extensions to RIP (M-RIP) messages, allowing them to detect topology changes and adjust routes accordingly.

What are the main advantages of DVMRP?

DVMRP offers several advantages such as providing efficient multicast delivery, reducing network traffic, conserving bandwidth, and minimizing packet replication. By using distance-vector algorithms, DVMRP enables optimal and efficient delivery of multicast packets and automatically adapts to network topology changes.

What are the limitations of DVMRP?

Some limitations of DVMRP include scalability issues, slow convergence time, and a lack of support for classless inter-domain routing (CIDR). DVMRP can be resource-intensive, particularly in large networks, as it requires routers to maintain multicast routing tables. Additionally, the slow convergence time can lead to temporary routing loops and packet loss in case of network topology changes.

What are some alternatives to DVMRP?

Several alternative multicast routing protocols can be used instead of DVMRP, such as Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM), Multicast Open Shortest Path First (MOSPF), and Border Gateway Multicast Protocol (BGMP). Each of these protocols has its own strengths and limitations, and their suitability will depend on the specific requirements and characteristics of the network environment.

Related Technology Terms

  • Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
  • Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
  • Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)
  • Multicast Open Shortest Path First (MOSPF)
  • Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vector (AODV)

Sources for More Information


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