MROUTED(8) System Manager's Manual MROUTED(8)
mrouted -- IP multicast routing daemon
mrouted [-c config_file] [-d debug_level] [-p]
mrouted is an implementation of the Distance-Vector Multicast Routing
Protocol (DVMRP), an earlier version of which is specified in RFC 1075.
It maintains topological knowledge via a distance-vector routing protocol
(like RIP, described in RFC 1058), upon which it implements a multicast
datagram forwarding algorithm called Reverse Path Multicasting.
mrouted forwards a multicast datagram along a shortest (reverse) path
tree rooted at the subnet on which the datagram originates. The
multicast delivery tree may be thought of as a broadcast delivery tree
that has been pruned back so that it does not extend beyond those
subnetworks that have members of the destination group. Hence, datagrams
are not forwarded along those branches which have no listeners of the
multicast group. The IP time-to-live of a multicast datagram can be used
to limit the range of multicast datagrams.
In order to support multicasting among subnets that are separated by
(unicast) routers that do not support IP multicasting, mrouted includes
support for "tunnels", which are virtual point-to-point links between
pairs of mrouted daemons located anywhere in an internet. IP multicast
packets are encapsulated for transmission through tunnels, so that they
look like normal unicast datagrams to intervening routers and subnets.
The encapsulation is added on entry to a tunnel, and stripped off on exit
from a tunnel. By default, the packets are encapsulated using the IP-in-
IP protocol (IP protocol number 4). Older versions of mrouted tunnel
using IP source routing, which puts a heavy load on some types of
routers. This version does not support IP source route tunneling.
The tunneling mechanism allows mrouted to establish a virtual internet,
for the purpose of multicasting only, which is independent of the
physical internet, and which may span multiple Autonomous Systems. This
capability is intended for experimental support of internet multicasting
only, pending widespread support for multicast routing by the regular
(unicast) routers. mrouted suffers from the well-known scaling problems
of any distance-vector routing protocol, and does not (yet) support
hierarchical multicast routing.
mrouted handles multicast routing only; there may or may not be unicast
routing software running on the same machine as mrouted. With the use of
tunnels, it is not necessary for mrouted to have access to more than one
physical subnet in order to perform multicast forwarding.
If no -d option is given, or if the debug level is specified as 0,
mrouted detaches from the invoking terminal. Otherwise, it remains
attached to the invoking terminal and responsive to signals from that
terminal. If -d is given with no argument, the debug level defaults to
2. Regardless of the debug level, mrouted always writes warning and
error messages to the system log daemon. Non-zero debug levels have the
1 all syslog'ed messages are also printed to stderr.
2 all level 1 messages plus notifications of "significant"
events are printed to stderr.
3 all level 2 messages plus notifications of all packet
arrivals and departures are printed to stderr.
Upon startup, mrouted writes its pid to the file /var/run/mrouted.pid.
mrouted automatically configures itself to forward on all multicast-
capable interfaces, i.e., interfaces that have the IFF_MULTICAST flag set
(excluding the loopback "interface"), and it finds other mrouted directly
reachable via those interfaces. To override the default configuration,
or to add tunnel links to other mrouted configuration commands may be
placed in /etc/mrouted.conf (or an alternative file, specified by the -c
option). There are four types of configuration commands:
phyint <local-addr> [disable] [metric <m>]
[threshold <t>] [rate_limit <b>]
tunnel <local-addr> <remote-addr> [metric <m>]
[threshold <t>] [rate_limit <b>]
name <boundary-name> <scoped-addr>/<mask-len>
The file format is free-form; whitespace (including newlines) is not
significant. The boundary and altnet options may be specified as many
times as necessary.
The phyint command can be used to disable multicast routing on the
physical interface identified by local IP address <local-addr>, or to
associate a non-default metric or threshold with the specified physical
interface. The local IP address <local-addr> may be replaced by the
interface name (e.g., le0). If a phyint is attached to multiple IP
subnets, describe each additional subnet with the altnet keyword. Phyint
commands must precede tunnel commands.
The tunnel command can be used to establish a tunnel link between local
IP address <local-addr> and remote IP address <remote-addr>, and to
associate a non-default metric or threshold with that tunnel. The local
IP address <local-addr> may be replaced by the interface name (e.g.,
le0). The remote IP address <remote-addr> may be replaced by a host
name, if and only if the host name has a single IP address associated
with it. The tunnel must be set up in the mrouted.conf files of both
routers before it can be used.
The cache_lifetime is a value that determines the amount of time that a
cached multicast route stays in kernel before timing out. The value of
this entry should lie between 300 (5 min) and 86400 (1 day). It defaults
The pruning option is provided for mrouted to act as a non-pruning
router. It is also possible to start mrouted in a non-pruning mode using
the -p option on the command line. It is expected that a router would be
configured in this manner for test purposes only. The default mode is
You may assign names to boundaries to make configuration easier with the
name keyword. The boundary option on phyint or tunnel commands can
accept either a name or a boundary.
The metric is the "cost" associated with sending a datagram on the given
interface or tunnel; it may be used to influence the choice of routes.
The metric defaults to 1. Metrics should be kept as small as possible,
because mrouted cannot route along paths with a sum of metrics greater
The threshold is the minimum IP time-to-live required for a multicast
datagram to be forwarded to the given interface or tunnel. It is used to
control the scope of multicast datagrams. (The TTL of forwarded packets
is only compared to the threshold, it is not decremented by the
threshold. Every multicast router decrements the TTL by 1.) The default
threshold is 1.
In general, all mrouted connected to a particular subnet or tunnel should
use the same metric and threshold for that subnet or tunnel.
The rate_limit option allows the network administrator to specify a
certain bandwidth in Kbits/second which would be allocated to multicast
traffic. It defaults to 500Kbps on tunnels, and 0 (unlimited) on
The boundary option allows an interface to be configured as an
administrative boundary for the specified scoped address. Packets
belonging to this address will not be forwarded on a scoped interface.
The boundary option accepts either a name or a boundary spec.
mrouted will not initiate execution if it has fewer than two enabled
vifs, where a vif (virtual interface) is either a physical multicast-
capable interface or a tunnel. It will log a warning if all of its vifs
are tunnels; such an mrouted configuration would be better replaced by
more direct tunnels (i.e., eliminate the middle man).
This is an example configuration for a mythical multicast router at a big
# mrouted.conf example
# Name our boundaries to make it easier.
name LOCAL 188.8.131.52/16
name EE 184.108.40.206/16
# le1 is our gateway to compsci, don't forward our
# local groups to them.
phyint le1 boundary EE
# le2 is our interface on the classroom net, it has four
# different length subnets on it.
# Note that you can use either an ip address or an
# interface name
phyint 172.16.12.38 boundary EE altnet 172.16.15.0/26
altnet 172.16.15.128/26 altnet 172.16.48.0/24
# atm0 is our ATM interface, which doesn't properly
# support multicasting.
phyint atm0 disable
# This is an internal tunnel to another EE subnet.
# Remove the default tunnel rate limit, since this
# tunnel is over ethernets.
tunnel 192.168.5.4 192.168.55.101 metric 1 threshold 1
# This is our tunnel to the outside world.
# Careful with those boundaries, Eugene.
tunnel 192.168.5.4 10.11.12.13 metric 1 threshold 32
boundary LOCAL boundary EE
mrouted responds to the following signals:
HUP restarts mrouted. The configuration file is reread every time this
signal is evoked.
INT terminates execution gracefully (i.e., by sending good-bye messages
to all neighboring routers).
TERM same as INT
USR1 dumps the internal routing tables to /var/tmp/mrouted.dump.
USR2 dumps the internal cache tables to /var/tmp/mrouted.cache.
QUIT dumps the internal routing tables to stderr (only if mrouted was
invoked with a non-zero debug level).
For convenience in sending signals, mrouted writes its pid to
/var/run/mrouted.pid upon startup.
The routing tables look like this:
Virtual Interface Table
Vif Local-Address Metric Thresh Flags
0 220.127.116.11 subnet: 36.2 1 1 querier
pkts in: 3456
pkts out: 2322323
1 18.104.22.168 subnet: 36.11 1 1 querier
pkts in: 345
pkts out: 3456
2 22.214.171.124 tunnel: 126.96.36.199 3 1
peers: 188.8.131.52 (2.2)
pkts in: 34545433
pkts out: 234342
3 184.108.40.206 tunnel: 220.127.116.11 3 16
Multicast Routing Table (1136 entries)
Origin-Subnet From-Gateway Metric Tmr In-Vif Out-Vifs
36.2 1 45 0 1* 2 3*
36.8 18.104.22.168 4 15 2 0* 1* 3*
36.11 1 20 1 0* 2 3*
In this example, there are four vifs connecting to two subnets and two
tunnels. The vif 3 tunnel is not in use (no peer address). The vif 0
and vif 1 subnets have some groups present; tunnels never have any
groups. This instance of mrouted is the one responsible for sending
periodic group membership queries on the vif 0 and vif 1 subnets, as
indicated by the "querier" flags. The list of boundaries indicate the
scoped addresses on that interface. A count of the number of incoming
and outgoing packets is also shown at each interface.
Associated with each subnet from which a multicast datagram can originate
is the address of the previous hop router (unless the subnet is directly-
connected), the metric of the path back to the origin, the amount of time
since we last received an update for this subnet, the incoming vif for
multicasts from that origin, and a list of outgoing vifs. "*" means that
the outgoing vif is connected to a leaf of the broadcast tree rooted at
the origin, and a multicast datagram from that origin will be forwarded
on that outgoing vif only if there are members of the destination group
on that leaf.
mrouted also maintains a copy of the kernel forwarding cache table.
Entries are created and deleted by mrouted.
The cache tables look like this:
Multicast Routing Cache Table (147 entries)
Origin Mcast-group CTmr Age Ptmr IVif Forwvifs
13.2.116/22 22.214.171.124 3m 2m - 0 1
138.96.48/21 126.96.36.199 5m 2m - 0 1
128.9.160/20 188.8.131.52 3m 2m - 0 1
198.106.194/24 184.108.40.206 9m 28s 9m 0P
Each entry is characterized by the origin subnet number and mask and the
destination multicast group. The 'CTmr' field indicates the lifetime of
the entry. The entry is deleted from the cache table when the timer
decrements to zero. The 'Age' field is the time since this cache entry
was originally created. Since cache entries get refreshed if traffic is
flowing, routing entries can grow very old. The 'Ptmr' field is simply a
dash if no prune was sent upstream, or the amount of time until the
upstream prune will time out. The 'Ivif' field indicates the incoming
vif for multicast packets from that origin. Each router also maintains a
record of the number of prunes received from neighboring routers for a
particular source and group. If there are no members of a multicast
group on any downward link of the multicast tree for a subnet, a prune
message is sent to the upstream router. They are indicated by a "P"
after the vif number. The Forwvifs field shows the interfaces along
which datagrams belonging to the source-group are forwarded. A "p"
indicates that no datagrams are being forwarded along that interface. An
unlisted interface is a leaf subnet with are no members of the particular
group on that subnet. A "b" on an interface indicates that it is a
boundary interface, i.e., traffic will not be forwarded on the scoped
address on that interface. An additional line with a ">" as the first
character is printed for each source on the subnet. Note that there can
be many sources in one subnet.
map-mbone(8), mrinfo(8), mtrace(8)
DVMRP is described, along with other multicast routing algorithms, in the
paper "Multicast Routing in Internetworks and Extended LANs" by S.
Deering, in the Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM '88 Conference.
Steve Deering, Ajit Thyagarajan, Bill Fenner
NetBSD 6.1.5 May 8, 1995 NetBSD 6.1.5