, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 535-549

Explicit Multicasting for Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

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In this paper we propose an explicit multicast routing protocol for mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). Explicit multicasting differs from common approaches by listing destination addresses in data packet headers. Using the explicit destination information, the multicast routing protocol can avoid the overhead of employing its own route construction and maintenance mechanisms by taking advantage of unicast routing table. Our protocol – termed Differential Destination Multicast (DDM) – is an explicit multicast routing protocol specifically designed for MANET environment. Unlike other MANET multicasting protocols, instead of distributing membership control throughout the network, DDM concentrates this authority at the data sources (i.e. senders) thereby giving sources knowledge of group membership. In addition, differentially-encoded, variable-length destination headers are inserted in data packets which are used in combination with unicast routing tables to forward multicast packets towards multicast receivers. Instead of requiring that multicast forwarding state to be stored in all participating nodes, this approach also provides the option of stateless multicasting. Each node independently has the choice of caching forwarding state or having its upstream neighbor to insert this state into self-routed data packets, or some combination thereof. The protocol is best suited for use with small multicast groups operating in dynamic MANET environment.