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Are Layer 3 and multicasting essentially the same thing?

I need to add a multicast-capable switch to my existing group of switches. I am confused though. Are Layer 3 and multicasting essentially the same thing?

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Multicasting and Layer 3 switching are totally different concepts and have nothing in common. So if you are looking for multicast functionality, then you shouldn't necessarily go for a switch with Layer 3 functionality. When you mean you need Layer 2 switches with multicast awareness that means that your switches should be able to run the IGMP protocol. So search for a Layer 2 switch, which supports IGMP, and you will have a multicast aware Layer 2 switch.

This was first published in October 2004

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