So we all know that Cisco is big on IP and Ethernet Multicast in their certification programs. In real life, we don’t actually get to see a lot of use for Multicast. In the main, the the main application for Multicast would be for watching Television, but the current consumer doesn’t want to watch content at a ‘programmed’ time, they want to stream content according to their own timetable.
Here in the UK, the BBC streams most television shows for seven to fourteen days after they have aired using their iPlayer HTTP streaming client. This means that you can sit down at anytime and watch a particular show when you want. This service has been hugely popular (the sound of Service Providers whining about bandwidth is quite loud) and gives a good guide to future of the Media Content as a unicast data source.
If the only people using Multicast are financial trading applications, and Cable Companies in just a few countries, why are we bothering ? I don’t have any good answers.
Why is Cisco into it ?
Cisco LOVES Multicast because it sells bigger routers and switches. Most importantly, it makes them a key supplier in any debate / discussion / plan at the CIO level in organisations. Networking is often ignored because it’s not visible at CIO level and getting exposure means that you can control / participate the sales cycle for upcoming projects.
So we suffer
I’m speculating that Cisco makes sure that Multicast is in the curriculum to ensure that any customer deciding to use Multicast as a key technology can feel confident that engineers have the knowledge.
And many people suffer with learning irrelevant material. And so the IETF continues to push out Multicast protocols. If anyone know why we bother with this, except as an academic exercise, please get in contact or email myetherealmind — at __ gmail-com, I’d love to find out more.
RFC 5790 – Lightweight Internet Group Management Protocol Version 3 (IGMPv3) and Multicast Listener Discovery Version 2 (MLDv2) Protocols: ” Lightweight Internet Group Management Protocol Version 3 (IGMPv3) and Multicast Listener Discovery Version 2 (MLDv2) Protocols”