To support the reception of multicast IP datagrams, the IP module must be extended to maintain a list of host group memberships associated with each network interface. An incoming datagram destined to one of those groups is processed exactly the same way as datagrams destined to one of the host's individual addresses.
Incoming datagrams destined to groups to which the host does not belong are discarded without generating any error report or log entry. On hosts with more than one network interface, if a datagram arrives via one interface, destined for a group to which the host belongs only on a different interface, the datagram is quietly discarded. (These cases should occur only as a result of inadequate multicast address filtering in a local network module.)
An incoming datagram is not rejected for having an IP time-to-live of 1 (i.e., the time-to-live should not automatically be decremented on arriving datagrams that are not being forwarded). An incoming datagram with an IP host group address in its source address field is quietly discarded. An ICMP error message (Destination Unreachable, Time Exceeded, Parameter Problem, Source Quench, or Redirect) is never generated in response to a datagram destined to an IP host group.
The list of host group memberships is updated in response to JoinHostGroup and LeaveHostGroup requests from upper-layer protocols. Each membership should have an associated reference count or similar mechanism to handle multiple requests to join and leave the same group. On the first request to join and the last request to leave a group on a given interface, the local network module for that interface is notified, so that it may update its multicast reception filter (see section 7.3).
The IP module must also be extended to implement the IGMP protocol, specified in Appendix I. IGMP is used to keep neighboring multicast routers informed of the host group memberships present on a particular local network. To support IGMP, every level 2 host must join the "all-hosts" group (address 188.8.131.52) on each network interface at initialization time and must remain a member for as long as the host is active.
(Datagrams addressed to the all-hosts group are recognized as a special case by the multicast routers and are never forwarded beyond a single network, regardless of their time-to-live. Thus, the all- hosts address may not be used as an internet-wide broadcast address. For the purpose of IGMP, membership in the all-hosts group is really necessary only while the host belongs to at least one other group. However, it is specified that the host shall remain a member of the all-hosts group at all times because (1) it is simpler, (2) the frequency of reception of unnecessary IGMP queries should be low enough that overhead is negligible, and (3) the all-hosts address may serve other routing-oriented purposes, such as advertising the presence of gateways or resolving local addresses.)