I'm looking at some traces where a TTL exceeded in transit ICMP message with ipsrc as mcast is captured. The ICMP message is referencing the original ip header with a correct structure [ipsrc ucast, ipdst mcast, TTL=1]. My only assumption is that the original L3 box is doing a TTL into L3 lookup on a ucast ipsrc address to which it does not provide a gateway - thus when generating the TTL exceeded message (TTL=1) it reverses the ipsrc/ipdst.

Have you ever encountered an ipsrc/ipdst rewrite like this?

  • Are you using PIM or are you trying to forward multicast as unicast? Please add relevant configuration details to your question.
    – Zac67
    Nov 18, 2022 at 19:17
  • The trace is being generated on the IPS when the packet is dropped. The IPS being quite "deep" in the forwarding path - does not help me identify the endhost where the mcast originates or the L3 box which in-answer generates the ICMP message. This is the crux of why my question is so vaguely defined. I cannot really answer if PIM or multicast routing is being utilized (generally it is not), because I cannot identify where the traffic is from - the actual hits on the IPS are with the mcast ipsrc / ucast ipdst, thus are forwarded as ucast traffic in the environment.
    – nseu
    Nov 18, 2022 at 20:11
  • Where's the problem tracing it back? The traffic originates from the source IP address in the ICMP message's header reference.
    – Zac67
    Nov 18, 2022 at 21:09
  • Yes right, however, that IP address has no gateway in our environment, thus no arp record, but importantly the IP address matches a summary prefix in our routing tables and this makes my only assumption for now - The original correct mcast (as destination) is sent > an L3 box for some reason does a L3 lookup > TTL check which fails > TTL exceeded message is being generated > L3 lookup gets a match on summary prefix (route towards the IPS) > the L3 box incorrectly uses the original mcast ipdst as ipsrc > ipsrc mcast hit on IPS.
    – nseu
    Nov 18, 2022 at 21:27
  • Then you'll need to trace the original packet and backtrace using the MAC source address.
    – Zac67
    Nov 18, 2022 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Multicast groups can only be used as destination addresses, not source addresses. If an application or device is using a multicast group as a source address, it is non-standard and incorrect.

Sending a packet to a multicast (or even unicast) destination where the TTL expires should generate an ICMP timeout with the source address of the device where the TTL expired, and a destination address of the original source address. There will be more information in the ICMP message.

  • In general ICMP time-exceeded isn't sent for forwarded multicast, since multicast doesn't have the same "hard destination" as unicast.
    – Ricky
    Nov 18, 2022 at 19:56
  • yes Ron, I agree with what you stated .. I only wanted to know if anyone encountered a device which would process a TTL exceeded like what i described (the process being incorrect or unexpected is obvious)
    – nseu
    Nov 18, 2022 at 20:02
  • Such a device is either off-topic here, or there is a bug that needs to be reported for an on-topic device. In neither case can we help. You have not given us the specific device and software, so all we can answer is to the protocol theory.
    – Ron Maupin
    Nov 18, 2022 at 20:06
  • yes I understand, this was more of a shot in the dark - that someone with tens of years of experience could have encountered such buggy behaviors and would point me to a software family or vendor where he seen it etc. (as I cannot identify the device in question)
    – nseu
    Nov 18, 2022 at 20:15

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