This is an introduction to HowTo run pimd on OpenBSD. I keep it around mostly as a reminder to myself when testing new pimd releases, maybe someone else can make use of it as well.

First of all, my sincere thanks to the OpenBSD team for, not just an awesome UNIX distribution, but also for their good taste in shipping a MULTICAST enabled kernel in the base distribution! On both NetBSD and FreeBSD there is a bit of work to get multicast support, which is one of the reasons for my not writing a HowTo for either of them atm.

Now, OpenBSD already ships mrouted, which is an older flood and prune based protocol called DVMRP. Their version is a few years older than the mrouted I maintain. The DVMRP protocol in mrouted uses a sort of built-in RIP to figure out how to route multicast. This was one of the first things they ripped out when creating PIM.

PIM stands for Protocol Independent Multicast, so you need to run RIP or OSPF (or BGP or IS-IS) or whatever unicast routing protocol first so that regular traffic works. Which is kind of useful since you can test the network with simple ping before trying to get any multicast routing to work …

My topology for testing pimd often looks something like the following. In this HowTo the OpenBSD router is R3:

.--------.    .----.    .----.    .----.    .----------.
| Sender |----| R1 |----| R2 |----| R3 |----| Receiver |
'--------'    '----'    '----'    '----'    '----------'

So, starting out with a clean OpenBSD install we begin by setting up the basics:

  • Activate unicast & multicast routing in the kernel
  • Enable ripd and set system up as a multicast router
  • Configure ripd
  • Download & build pimd
  • Run pimd
  • Troubleshooting

Enable Unicast & Multicast Routing in the Kernel

cp /etc/examples/sysctl.conf /etc/

Uncomment the following two lines

net.inet.ip.forwarding=1        # 1=Permit forwarding (routing) of IPv4 packets
net.inet.ip.mforwarding=1       # 1=Permit forwarding (routing) of IPv4 multicast packets

Enable ripd and set System up as Multicast Router

Create the file /etc/rc.conf.local, unless you already have it. Add the following lines to enable ripd and enable the use of a multicast routing daemon:

# Enable ripd, also edit /etc/ripd.conf
ripd_flags=""           # for normal use: ""

# Multicast routing configuration
# Please look at netstart(8) for a detailed description if you change these
multicast_host=NO       # Route all multicast packets to a single interface
multicast_router=YES    # A multicast routing daemon will be run, e.g. mrouted

Configure ripd

Create the file /etc/ripd.conf by using the template

cp /etc/examples/ripd.conf /etc/

Edit the file and add interface sections to all the interfaces you want ripd to operate on, or to not operate on. Here is my ripd.conf:

fib-update yes
redistribute connected
split-horizon poisoned
triggered-updates yes

# Do not use the WAN interface
interface pcn0 {

# This interface is connected to R2
interface pcn1 {
        cost 1

# This interface is connected to the client/receiver
interface pcn2 {
        cost 1

Notice how I have redistribute connected instead of the default.

Download & Build pimd

GitHub is the home for pimd development, the latest release is always available on the releases page. For convenience I also provide an FTP, so it is simple enough to use OpenBSD without any additional tools.

$ ftp
$ tar xfz pimd-2.3.0.tar.gz
$ cd pimd-2.3.0/
$ ./configure; make

You may want to install pimd to your system when done, but you can also run it from the build directory if you like. The default install path is /usr/local/sbin/pimd and /etc/pimd.conf. Use the --prefix and --sysconfdir command line options to the configure script to set other install directories. See the file for more info.

That’s it!

Run pimd

The default settings in /etc/pimd.conf should work for almost all use cases, but it is good practise to at least disable PIM on interfaces out to the Internet, or your local office network. In my case, like in the case with ripd above, it is pcn0.

Uncomment and edit the line #phyint eth0 disable in /etc/pimd.conf:

phyint pcn0 disable

Then you can start pimd:


To see what it is doing you can run it in the foreground with the debug command:

pimd -d

or if you simply want to see the current state. Notice how it says DISABLED on VIF 0, which is pcn0:

pimd -r
Virtual Interface Table ======================================================
Vif  Local Address    Subnet              Thresh  Flags      Neighbors
---  ---------------  ------------------  ------  ---------  -----------------
0   192.168.123              1  DISABLED
1        20.30/24                 1  DR PIM      
2     10.141.1/24              1  DR NO-NBR
3        register_vif0            1 

Vif  SSM Group        Sources             

Multicast Routing Table ======================================================
----------------------------------- (*,G) ------------------------------------
Source           Group            RP Address       Flags
---------------  ---------------  ---------------  ---------------------------
Joined   oifs: ....                
Pruned   oifs: ....                
Leaves   oifs: ..l.                
Asserted oifs: ....                
Outgoing oifs: ..o.                
Incoming     : .I..                

TIMERS:  Entry    JP    RS  Assert VIFS:  0  1  2  3
0    40     0       0        0  0  0  0
----------------------------------- (S,G) ------------------------------------
Source           Group            RP Address       Flags
---------------  ---------------  ---------------  ---------------------------        CACHE SG
Joined   oifs: ....                
Pruned   oifs: ....                
Leaves   oifs: ..l.                
Asserted oifs: ....                
Outgoing oifs: ..o.                
Incoming     : .I..                

TIMERS:  Entry    JP    RS  Assert VIFS:  0  1  2  3
150     5     0       0        0  0  0  0
--------------------------------- (*,*,G) ------------------------------------
Number of Groups: 1
Number of Cache MIRRORs: 1

You may also want to see what the OpenBSD kernel thinks about the situation when everything is working:

# netstat -g

Virtual Interface Table
Vif  Thresh  Limit  Local-Address    Remote-Address   Pkt_in  Pkt_out
1       1                           8052        0
2       1                           0     8052
3       1                              0        0

Multicast Forwarding Cache
Hash  Origin           Mcastgroup       Traffic  In-Vif  Out-Vifs/Forw-ttl
  1  2/1

Total no. of entries in cache: 1

IPv6 Multicast Interface Table is empty
IPv6 Multicast Routing Table is empty


The number one problem in multicast routing is the TTL of the multicast stream from the sender. In this example I use simple ping, but tweak the TTL and force the output interface:

root@sender:~# ping -I eth1 -t 10           # Linux

The second most common problem is with equipment between the sender or the receiver and the closes router. Usually some infrastructure like a simple switch, or as in the case with virtual setups, a software bridge. Any one of these semi-intelligent devices can make a mess of your day. If you suspect trouble, use ping from the receiver (or the sender) and use tcpdump on the closest router. You should be able to see the ICMP frames. If not, try disabling IGMP snooping on the swithc or software bridge. On a Linux host system this is done by:

echo 0 > /sys/devices/virtual/net/virbr*/bridge/multicast_snooping

The third most common problem is actually the firewall in your system. On Linux systems you get EPERM – “Operation not permitted”, and on OpenBSD you likely get EHOSTUNREACH – “No route to host” all over the logs, usually for the IGMP traffic that pimd generates. On OpenBSD this is due to pf by default filtering all frames with IP options set. I added support for the “Router Alert” IP option to IGMP frames in v2.2.0, this is recommended per RFC. Add this to your /etc/pf.conf to allow IGMP frames to be sent by pimd:

# Enable IGMP with Router Alert IP option
pass proto igmp allow-opts