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> Chapter 20 - Networking > Multicast forwarding > Dense mode

Dense mode

The packet organization used in sparse mode is also used in dense mode. When a multicast source begins to send IP traffic and dense mode is enabled, the closest PIM router registers the IP traffic from the multicast source (S) and forwards multicast packets to the multicast group address (G). All PIM routers initially broadcast the multicast packets throughout the PIM domain to ensure that all receivers that have requested traffic for multicast group address G can access the information if needed.

To forward multicast packets to specific destinations afterward, the PIM routers build distribution trees based on the information in multicast packets. Upstream PIM routers depend on prune/graft messages from downstream PIM routers to determine if receivers are actually present on directly connected network segments. The PIM routers exchange state refresh messages to update their distribution trees. FortiGate units store this state information in a Tree Information Base (TIB), which is used to build a multicast forwarding table. The information in the multicast forwarding table determines whether packets are forwarded downstream. The forwarding table is updated whenever the TIB is modified.

PIM routers receive data streams every few minutes and update their forwarding tables using the source (S) and multicast group (G) information in the data stream. Superfluous multicast traffic is stopped by PIM routers that do not have downstream receivers—PIM routers that do not manage multicast groups send prune messages to the upstream PIM routers. When a receiver requests traffic for multicast address G, the closest PIM router sends a graft message upstream to begin receiving multicast packets.

FortiGate units operating in NAT mode can also be configured as multicast routers. You can configure a FortiGate unit to be a Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) router operating in Sparse Mode (SM) or Dense Mode (DM).