Multicast data check with Perl IO::Socket::Multicast

I spend a lot of time dealing with multicast, and one of the more tedious tasks is verifying that I’m receiving data across all of the groups I need. Whether it’s setting a baseline prior to a network change, or verifying everything works after the change, it’s an important task that gets more and more tedious as the number of groups increases.

I’m not a programmer, but I play one on TV.

I decided to try to write something in Perl, which is no small task considering I’ve never excelled when it comes to coding/scripting. Fortunately I know enough to be dangerous, and by combining some elements I’ve seen across various forums and reading the perl documentation, I was able to cobble together something that accomplishes the task of automating my tests.

In my first version I was able to successfully read in group information from a file, and wait for data on each line. The problem was that the program executed serially, so if I had a list of 50 groups, and I needed to wait a full 60 seconds for line, I could potentially wait 50 minutes for the test to complete.

The second version forks those tests out to individual child processes, dramatically decreasing the time it takes to verify a large list of groups.

I’m posting the code here in case someone out there is struggling with a similar issue, and is also not a programmer by nature. I’m sure there are lots of better ways to accomplish this in code. As I said, I’m not a programmer. But this seems to work. If you have any comments on ways to make it more efficient or handle something better, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.



use strict;
use warnings;
use IO::Socket::Multicast;

my $grouplist = $ARGV[0];

my $GROUP = '';
my $PORT = '';
my @childproc;
my $data;
print "Parsing File...\n";

##Attempt to open the file provided on the CLI
open(FILE, $grouplist) || die "can't open file: $!";

my @list = ;

print "Contents: \n", @list;

print "Processed Data:\n";
foreach (@list) {
        ($GROUP, $PORT) = split (':',$_);
        my $pid = fork();
        if ($pid) {
                push(@childproc, $pid);
        } elsif ($pid == 0) {
                datacheck ($GROUP, $PORT);
                exit 0;
        } else {
                die "Couldn't Fork: $!\n";


foreach (@childproc) {
        my $tmp = waitpid($_, 0);

print "End of Testing\n";

sub datacheck {
        my $GROUPSUB = $_[0];
        my $PORTSUB = $_[1];
        my $msock = IO::Socket::Multicast->new(Proto=>'udp',LocalAddr=>$GROUPSUB,LocalPort=>$PORTSUB,ReuseAddr=>1);
        $msock->mcast_add($GROUPSUB) || die "Couldn't set group: $!\n";

    eval {
        $SIG{ALRM} = sub { die "timeout" };
        ## The Alarm value decides how long to wait before giving up on each test

        if ($@) {
                print "$GROUPSUB:$PORTSUB -- No data received\n";
        } else {
                print "$GROUPSUB:$PORTSUB  -- Data received\n";


I’ve tested this on CentOS with Perl 5.8.8. This script requires the IO::Socket::Multicast perl module, so be sure to install that before you attempt to run it.

The script expects you to provide the name of a text file that contains a group:port mapping per line.

Update: I discovered that I could run into problems if my list ever contained more than one of the same group, or more than one of the same port. After consulting the module documentation, I realized that I needed to add the LocalAddr and the ReuseAddr options to the constructor code.

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