MBONE: Multicasting Tomorrow's Internet

What skills are needed to participate and how much time might have to be devoted to this?

The person supporting a network's participation in the MBONE should have the skills of a network engineer, but a fairly small percentage of that person's time should be required. Activities requiring this skill level would be choosing a topology for multicast distribution with in the provider's network and analyzing traffic flow when performance problems are identified.

To set up and run an mrouted machine will require the knowledge to build and install operating system kernels. If you would like to use a hardware platform other than those currently supported, then you might also contribute some software implementation skills!

We will depend on participants to read mail on the appropriate mbone mailing list and respond to requests from new networks that want to join and are "nearby" to coordinate the installation of new tunnel links. Similarly, when customers of the network provider make requests for their campus nets or end systems to be connected to the MBONE, new tunnel links will need to be added from the network provider's multicast routers to the end systems (unless the whole network runs MOSPF).

Part of the resources that should be committed to participate would be for operations staff to be aware of the role of the multicast routers and the nature of multicast traffic, and to be prepared to disable multicast forwarding if excessive traffic is found to be causing trouble. The potential problem is that any site hooked into the MBONE could transmit packets that cover the whole MBONE, so if it became popular as a "chat line", all available bandwidth could be consumed. Steve Deering plans to implement multicast route pruning so that packets only flow over those links necessary to reach active receivers; this will reduce the traffic level. This problem should be manageable through the same measures we already depend upon for stable operation of the Internet, but MBONE participants should be aware of it.

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