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Communications of the ACM

Reverse path forwarding of broadcast packets


A broadcast packet is for delivery to all nodes of a network. Algorithms for accomplishing this delivery through a store-and-forward packet switching computer network include (1) transmission of separately addressed packets, (2) multidestination addressing, (3) hot potato forwarding, (4) spanning tree forwarding, and (5) source based forwarding. To this list of algorithms we add (6) reverse path forwarding, a broadcast routing method which exploits routing procedures and data structures already available for packet switching. Reverse path forwarding is a practical algorithm for broadcast routing in store-and-forward packet switching computer networks. The algorithm is described as being practical because it is not optimal according to metrics developed for its analysis in this paper, and also because it can be implemented in existing networks with less complexity than that required for the known alternatives.

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