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(1) To transmit data to multiple recipients on the network at the same time using one transmission stream to the switches, at which point data are distributed out to the end users on separate lines.

Contrast with Unicast
A "unicast" is a separate transmission stream from source to destination for each recipient. When sending large volumes of data, multicast saves considerable bandwidth over unicast.

Contrast with Broadcast
A "broadcast" is a transmission to every node reachable on the network or subnet, rather than to a specific list of nodes as in a multicast. See IP multicast, IGMP and SRM.

(2) In digital television broadcasting, to send multiple standard TV (SDTV) programs in the allotted bandwidth, rather than one high-definition TV (HDTV) program.

References in periodicals archive ?
First phase: RP Tree: Destinations express interest in receiving traffic for a certain multicast group.
A potential receiver node wishing to join the multicast group broadcasts a RREQ message.
The Manager Node is a client that has the responsibility for managing a Multicast group, because it has full member information.
Assuming the same channel model among the whole multicast group the highest PER will be at the station where frames transmitted by the access point are received whit the lowest signal to noise ratio.
In many-to-many applications, hosts can both send to and receive from the multicast group.
This is advantageous for highly dynamic multicast groups.
Multicast group management: optimizes delivery to only those virtual ports whose clients are members of the multicast group, reducing network waste both wirelessly and on the wired network.
It supports Dynamic Host Protocol as well as IP multicast group subscription services.
The advantages for implementing a DMA-based multicast scheme include support for an unlimited number of multicast groups (each descriptor ring represents a multicast group), a reliable multicast scheme (status for each copy made can be provided by a DMA engine), that multicast transfers are not limited to posted transactions, and most importantly, DMA-based multicast from PLX provides a PCIe multicast solution today.
Report Customization: Customizable multicast group labels helps customers manage and organize large transport streams.
In addition to these features, the MB87Q3140 also supports differentiated services (Diffserv) for IPv4 and IPv6, along with Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping for IPv4 and Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) snooping for IPv6, which enable connected routers to discover multicast group members.

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