The Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) manages host membership in multicast groups. IP multicast groups are groups of devices (typically called hosts) that listen for and receive traffic addressed to a specific, shared multicast IP address. Essentially, IP multicast traffic is sent to a specific MAC address but processed by multiple IP hosts. (As you'll recall from our earlier discussion, each NIC has a unique MAC address, but multicast MAC addresses use a special 24-bit prefix to identify them as such.) IGMP runs on the router, which handles the distribution of multicast packets (often, multicast routing is not enabled on the router by default and must be configured).
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