When deploying PIM ASM, the Designated Router (DR) role plays a significant part in how PIM ASM works. The DR on a segment is responsible for registering mulicast sources with the Rendezvous Point (RP) and/or sending PIM Joins for the segment. Routers with PIM enabled interfaces send out PIM Hello messages every 30 seconds by default.


After missing three Hellos the secondary router will take over as the DR. With the standard timer value, this can take between 60 to 90 seconds depending on when the last Hello came in. Not really acceptable in a modern network.

The first thought is to lower the PIM query interval, this can be done and it supports sending PIM Hellos at msec level. In my particular case I needed convergence within two seconds. I tuned the PIM query interval to 500 msec meaning that the PIM DR role should converge within 1.5 seconds. The problem though is that these Hellos are sent at process level. Even though my routers were barely breaking a sweat CPU wise I would see PIM adjacencies flapping.

The answer to my problems would be to have Bidirectional Forwarding Dectection (BFD) for PIM but it’s only supported on a very limited set of platforms. I already have BFD running for OSPF and BGP but unfortunately it’s not supported for PIM. The advantage of BFD is that the Hellos are more light weight and they are sent through interrupt instead of process level. This provides more deterministic behavior than than the regular PIM Hellos.

So how did I solve my problem? I need something that detects failure, I need BFD. Hot Standby Routing Protocol (HSRP) detects failures, HSRP has support for BFD. I could then use HSRP to detect the failure and act on the Syslog message generated by HSRP. Even though I didn’t really need HSRP on that segment it helped me in moving the PIM DR role which I wrote this Embedded Event Manager (EEM) applet for. A thank you to Peter Paluch for providing this idea and support 🙂

The configuration of the interface is this:

BFD is sending Hellos every 300 msec so it will converge within 900 msec. The key is then to find the Syslog message that HSRP generates when it detects a failure. These messages look like this:

It is then possible to write an EEM applet acting on this message and setting the DR priority on the secondary router.

When HSRP has detected the failure, the EEM apple will trigger very quickly and set the priority.

It took 60 msec from HSRP detecting the failure through BFD until the DR role had converged. It’s then possible to recover from a failure within a second.

It’s also important to set the DR priority back after the network converges. We use another applet for this:

This works very well. There are some considerations when running EEM. Firstly, if you are running AAA then the EEM applet will fail authorization. This can be bypassed with the following command:

It’s also important to note that the EEM applet will use a VTY line when executing so make sure that there are available VTY’s when the applet runs.

After the PIM DR role has converged, the router will send out a PIM Join and the multicast will start flowing to the receiver.

Using EEM to Speed up Multicast Convergence when Receiver is Dually Connected
Tagged on:             

4 thoughts on “Using EEM to Speed up Multicast Convergence when Receiver is Dually Connected

  • November 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Good work, really interesting way to solve the issue.

    • November 25, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      I have but unfortunately I’m not seeing the DR role being moved even though HSRP has changed state. Most scenarios I see with that feature is when you are peering with a router and you are running HSRP and not on the receiver side so I’m not sure if it covers all scenarios.

  • August 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Hello Daniel,

    Please could I ask you to explain how “The answer to my problems would be to have Bidirectional Forwarding Dectection (BFD) for PIM”would be preferable to the solution you have detailed?

    Thank you,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: