Definition of point-to-multipoint in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is point-to-multipoint?

A form of communication that provides a path from one fixed point to a number of other points.

How It Works

A point-to-multipoint (or simply multipoint) wide area network (WAN) consists of more than two end nodes connected using a packet-switching telecommunications network. A number of layer 2, or data-link layer, protocols support multipoint WANs, including frame relay, Switched Multimegabit Data Services (SMDS), Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and X.25 packet-switched networks.

A public or private frame relay network can be used to connect multiple networks into a multipoint WAN configuration, as shown in the following diagram. Each end node is configured with a unique data-link address, which allows any node on the WAN to communicate with any other node.


The various data-link layer protocols can also be used for point-to-point WAN connections, but other layer 2 protocols such as the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) are simpler to implement for point-to-point WAN communication.

Graphic P-9. Point-to-multipoint.

See also: