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    IGMP Snooping on EX Series Switches Overview

    Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping constrains the flooding of IPv4 multicast traffic on VLANs on a switch. When IGMP snooping is enabled on a VLAN, a Juniper Networks EX Series Ethernet Switch examines IGMP messages between hosts and multicast routers and learns which hosts are interested in receiving traffic for a multicast group. Based on what it learns, the switch then forwards multicast traffic only to those interfaces in the VLAN that are connected to interested receivers instead of flooding the traffic to all interfaces.

    IGMP snooping on EX Series switches supports IGMP version 1 (IGMPv1), IGMPv2, and IGMPv3. For details on IGMP, see the following standards:

    • IGMPv1—See RFC 1112, Host extensions for IP multicasting.
    • IGMPv2—See RFC 2236, Internet Group Management Protocol, Version 2.
    • For IGMPv3—See RFC 3376, Internet Group Management Protocol, Version 3.

    This topic covers:

    How IGMP Snooping Works

    A Layer 2 switch usually learns unicast media access control (MAC) addresses by checking the source address field of the frames it receives. However, a multicast MAC address can never be the source address for a packet. As a result, the switch floods multicast traffic on the VLAN, consuming significant amounts of bandwidth.

    You can enable IGMP snooping on a switch to avoid this flooding. When IGMP snooping is enabled, the switch monitors IGMP messages between receivers and multicast routers and uses the content of the messages to build an IPv4 multicast forwarding table—a database of multicast groups and the interfaces that are connected to members of the groups. When the switch receives multicast traffic for a multicast group, it uses the forwarding table to forward the traffic only to interfaces that are connected to receivers that belong to the multicast group.

    Figure 1 shows an example of multicast traffic flow with IGMP snooping enabled.

    Figure 1: Multicast Traffic Flow with IGMP Snooping Enabled

    Multicast Traffic Flow with
IGMP Snooping Enabled

    IGMP Message Types

    Multicast routers use IGMP to learn, for each of their attached physical networks, which groups have interested listeners. In any given subnet, one multicast router acts as an IGMP querier. The IGMP querier sends out the following types of queries to hosts:

    • General query—Asks whether any host is listening to any group.
    • Group-specific query—(IGMPv2 and IGMPv3 only) Asks whether any host is listening to a specific multicast group. This query is sent in response to a host leaving the multicast group and allows the router to quickly determine if any remaining hosts are interested in the group.
    • Group-and-source-specific query—(IGMPv3 only) Asks whether any host is listening to group multicast traffic from a specific multicast source. This query is sent in response to a host indicating that it is not longer interested in receiving group multicast traffic from the multicast source and allows the router to quickly determine any remaining hosts are interested in receiving group multicast traffic from that source.

    Hosts that are multicast listeners send the following kinds of messages:

    • Membership report—Indicates that the host wants to join a particular multicast group.
    • Leave report—(IGMPv2 and IGMPv3 only) Indicates that the host wants to leave a particular multicast group.

    How Hosts Join and Leave Multicast Groups

    Hosts can join multicast groups in either of two ways:

    • By sending an unsolicited IGMP join message to a multicast router that specifies the IP multicast group that the host is attempting to join.
    • By sending an IGMP join message in response to a general query from a multicast router.

    A multicast router continues to forward multicast traffic to a VLAN provided that at least one host on that VLAN responds to the periodic general IGMP queries. For a host to remain a member of a multicast group, therefore, it must continue to respond to the periodic general IGMP queries.

    Hosts can leave a multicast group in either of two ways:

    • By not responding to periodic queries within a set interval of time. This results in what is known as a “silent leave.” This is the only method available to IGMPv1 hosts.
    • By sending a leave report. This method can be used by IGMPv2 and IGMPv3 hosts.

    Note: If a host is connected to the switch through a hub, the host does not automatically leave the multicast group if it disconnects from the hub. The host remains a member of the group until group membership times out and a silent leave occurs. If another host connects to the hub port before the silent leave occurs, the new host might receive the group multicast traffic until the silent leave, even though it never sent an membership report.

    Support for IGMPv3 Multicast Sources

    In IGMPv3, a host can send a membership report that includes a list of source addresses. When the host sends a membership report in INCLUDE mode, the host is interested in group multicast traffic only from those sources in the source address list. If host sends a membership report in EXCLUDE mode, the host is interested in group multicast traffic from any source except the sources in the source address list. A host can also send an EXCLUDE report in which the source-list parameter is empty, which is known as an EXCLUDE NULL report. An EXCLUDE NULL report indicates that the host wants to join the multicast group and receive packets from all sources.

    EX Series switches support IGMPv3 membership reports that are in INCLUDE and EXCLUDE mode. However, EX Series switches do not support forwarding on a per-source basis. Instead, a switch consolidates all INCLUDE and EXCLUDE mode reports it receives on a VLAN for a specified group into a single route that includes all multicast sources for that group, with the next hop being all interfaces that have interested receivers for the group. As a result, interested receivers on the VLAN can receive traffic from a source that they did not include in their INCLUDE report or from a source they excluded in their EXCLUDE report. For example, if Host 1 wants traffic for G from Source A and Host 2 wants traffic for G from Source B, they both receive traffic for G regardless of whether A or B sends the traffic.

    IGMP Snooping and Forwarding Interfaces

    To determine how to forward multicast traffic, a switch with IGMP snooping enabled maintains information about the following interfaces in its multicast forwarding table:

    • Multicast-router interfaces—These interfaces lead toward multicast routers or IGMP queriers.
    • Group-member interfaces—These interfaces lead toward hosts that are members of multicast groups.

    The switch learns about these interfaces by monitoring IGMP traffic. If an interface receives IGMP queries or Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) updates, the switch adds the interface to its multicast forwarding table as a multicast-router interface. If an interface receives membership reports for a multicast group, the switch adds the interface to its multicast forwarding table as a group-member interface.

    Table entries for interfaces that the switch learns about are subject to aging. For example, if a learned multicast-router interface does not receive IGMP queries or PIM hellos within a certain interval, the switch removes the entry for that interface from its multicast forwarding table.

    Note: For a switch to learn multicast-router interfaces and group-member interfaces, an IGMP querier must exist in the network. For the switch itself to function as an IGMP querier, IGMP must be enabled on the switch.

    You can statically configure an interface to be a multicast-router interface or a group-member interface. The switch adds a static interface to its multicast forwarding table without having to learn about the interface, and the entry in the table is not subject to aging. You can have a mix of statically configured and dynamically learned interfaces on a switch.

    General Forwarding Rules

    Multicast traffic received on a switch interface in a VLAN on which IGMP snooping is enabled is forwarded according to the following rules.

    IGMP traffic is forwarded as follows:

    • IGMP general queries received on a multicast-router interface are forwarded to all other interfaces in the VLAN.
    • IGMP group-specific queries received on a multicast-router interface are forwarded to only those interfaces in the VLAN that are members of the group.
    • IGMP reports received on a host interface are forwarded to multicast-router interfaces in the same VLAN, but not to the other host interfaces in the VLAN.

    Multicast traffic that is not IGMP traffic is forwarded as follows:

    • A multicast packet with a destination address of 233.252.0.0/24 is flooded to all other interfaces on the VLAN.
    • An unregistered multicast packet—that is, a packet for a group that has no current members—is forwarded to all multicast-router interfaces in the VLAN.
    • A registered multicast packet is forwarded only to those host interfaces in the VLAN that are members of the multicast group and to all multicast-router interfaces in the VLAN.

    Examples of IGMP Snooping Multicast Forwarding

    The following examples are provided to illustrate how IGMP snooping forwards multicast traffic in different topologies:

    Scenario 1: Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic to a Multicast Router and Hosts

    In the topology shown in Figure 2, a switch acting as a Layer 2 device receives multicast traffic belonging to multicast group 233.252.0.1 from Source A, which is connected to the multicast router. It also receives multicast traffic belonging to multicast group 233.252.0.50 from Source B, which is connected directly to the switch. All interfaces on the switch belong to the same VLAN.

    Because the switch receives IGMP queries from the multicast router on interface P1, IGMP snooping learns that interface P1 is a multicast-router interface and adds the interface to its multicast cache table. It forwards any IGMP general queries it receives on this interface to all host interfaces on the switch, and, in turn, forwards membership reports it receives from hosts to the multicast-router interface.

    In the example, Hosts A and C have responded to the membership queries with membership reports for group 233.252.0.1. IGMP snooping adds interfaces P2 and P4 to its multicast cache table as member interfaces for group 233.252.0.1. It forwards the group multicast traffic received from Source A to Hosts A and C, but not to Hosts B and D.

    Host B has responded to the membership queries with a membership report for group 233.252.0.50. The switch adds interface P3 to its multicast cache table as a member interface for group 233.252.0.50 and forwards multicast traffic it receives from Source B to Host B. The switch also forwards the multicast traffic it receives from Source B to the multicast-router interface P1.

    Figure 2: Scenario 1: Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic to a Multicast Router and Hosts

    Scenario 1: Switch Forwarding
Multicast Traffic to a Multicast Router and Hosts

    Scenario 2: Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic to Another Switch

    In the topology show in Figure 3, a multicast source is connected to Switch A. Switch A in turn is connected to another switch, Switch B. Hosts on both Switch A and B are potential members of the multicast group. Both switches are acting as Layer 2 devices and all interfaces on the switches are members of the same VLAN.

    Switch A receives IGMP queries from the multicast router on interface P1, making interface P1 a multicast-router interface for Switch A. Switch A forwards all general IGMP queries it receives on this interface to the other interfaces on the switch, including the interface connecting Switch B. Because Switch B receives the forwarded IGMP queries on interface P6, P6 is the multicast-router interface for Switch B. Switch B forwards the group membership report it receives from Host C to Switch A through its multicast-router interface. Switch A forwards the membership report to its multicast-router interface, includes interface P5 in its multicast cache table as a group-member interface, and forwards multicast traffic from the source to Switch B.

    Figure 3: Scenario 2: Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic to Another Switch

    Scenario 2: Switch Forwarding
Multicast Traffic to Another Switch

    In certain implementations, you might have to configure P6 on Switch B as a static multicast-router interface to avoid a delay in a host receiving multicast traffic. For example, if Switch B receives unsolicited membership reports from its hosts before it learns which interface is its multicast-router interface, it does not forward those reports to Switch A. If Switch A then receives multicast traffic, it does not forward the traffic to Switch B, because it has not received any membership reports on interface P5. This issue will resolve when the multicast router sends out its next general query; however, it can cause a delay in the host receiving multicast traffic. You can statically configure interface P6 as a multicast-router interface to solve this issue.

    Scenario 3: Switch Connected to Hosts Only (No IGMP Querier)

    In the topology shown in Figure 4, a switch is connected to a multicast source and to hosts. There is no multicast router in this topology—hence there is no IGMP querier. Without an IGMP querier to respond to, a host does not send periodic membership reports. As a result, even if the host sends an unsolicited join to join a multicast group, its membership in the multicast group times out.

    For IGMP snooping to work correctly in this network so that the switch forwards multicast traffic to Hosts A and C only, you can either:

    • Configure interfaces P2 and P4 as static group-member interfaces.
    • Configure a routed VLAN interface (RVI) on the VLAN and enable IGMP on it. In this case, the switch itself acts as an IGMP querier, and the hosts can dynamically join the multicast group and refresh their group membership by responding to the queries.

    Figure 4: Scenario 3: Switch Connected to Hosts Only (No IGMP Querier)

    Scenario 3: Switch Connected
to Hosts Only (No IGMP Querier)

    Scenario 4: Layer 2/Layer 3 Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic Between VLANs

    In the topology shown in Figure 5, a multicast source, Multicast Router A, and Hosts A and B are connected to the switch and are in VLAN 10. Multicast Router B and Hosts C and D are also connected to the switch and are in VLAN 20.

    In a pure Layer 2 environment, traffic is not forwarded between VLANs. For Host C to receive the multicast traffic from the source on VLAN 10, RVIs must be created on VLAN 10 and VLAN 20 to permit routing of the multicast traffic between the VLANs. In addition, PIM must be enabled on the switch to perform the multicast routing.

    Figure 5: Scenario 4: Layer 2/Layer 3 Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic Between VLANs

    Scenario 4: Layer 2/Layer
3 Switch Forwarding Multicast Traffic Between VLANs

    Modified: 2016-06-23