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Multicasting is emerging as an enabling technology for multimedia transmissions over wireless networks to support several groups of users with flexible quality of service (QoS) requirements. Although multicast has huge potential to push the limits of next generation communication systems; it is however one of the most challenging issues currently being addressed. In this survey, we explain multicast group formation and various forms of group rate determination approaches. We also provide a systematic review of recent channel-aware multicast scheduling and resource allocation (MSRA) techniques proposed for downlink multicast services in OFDMA based systems. We study these enabling algorithms, evaluate their core characteristics, limitations and classify them using multidimensional matrix. We cohesively review the algorithms in terms of their throughput maximization, fairness considerations, performance complexities, multi-antenna support, optimality and simplifying assumptions. We discuss existing standards employing multicasting and further highlight some potential research opportunities in multicast systems.
Date of Publication: First Quarter 2013