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The Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) is an Internet protocol that provides a way for an Internet computer to report its multicast group membership to adjacent routers. Multicasting allows one computer on the Internet to send content to multiple other computers that have identified themselves as interested in receiving the originating computer's content. Multicasting can be used for such applications as updating the address books of mobile computer users in the field, sending out company newsletters to a distribution list, and "broadcasting" high-bandwidth programs of streaming media to an audience that has "tuned in" by setting up a multicast group membership.
Using the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) communication model, IGMP is part of the Network layer. IGMP is formally described in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 2236.
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- Ohio State University provides an illustrated discussion of "IP Multicasting: Concepts, Algorithms, and Protocols."