In computer networking, multicast is the delivery of a message or information to a group of destination computers simultaneously in a single transmission from the source. Copies are automatically created in other network elements, such as routers, but only when the topology of the network requires it.
Multicast is most commonly implemented in IP multicast, which is often employed in Internet Protocol (IP) applications of streaming media and Internet television. In IP multicast the implementation of the multicast concept occurs at the IP routing level, where routers create optimal distribution paths for datagrams sent to a multicast destination address.
At the Data Link Layer, multicast describes one-to-many distribution such as Ethernet multicast addressing, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) point-to-multipoint virtual circuits (P2MP) or Infiniband multicast.