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Executive Summary

Multicasting is the transmission of packet to group of hosts identified by destination address. A multicast datagram is typically delivered to all members of its destination host group with the same reliability as regular unicast datagrams. In the case of IP, for example, the datagram is not guaranteed to arrive intact at all members of the destination group or in the same order relative to other datagrams. Multicasting is intended for group-oriented computing. There are more and more applications in which one-to-many dissemination is necessary. The multicast service is critical in applications characterized by the close collaboration of teams (e.g., rescue patrols, military battalions, scientists, etc.) with requirements for audio and video conferencing and sharing of text and images.

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