We review active networks as an approach to the layered multicast congestion control protocols. This work involves the performance comparison of two multirate multicast congestion control protocols; Packet Pair Receiver-driven Layered Multicast (PLM) and Active Layered Multicast Adaptation (ALMA) protocols. ALMA is an active networks (AN) based protocol, which uses capsules (active packets) to perform bandwidth adaptation; whereas PLM is a representative of a classical layered multicast congestion control protocol. The aim of the work is to assess the AN-based layered multicast protocol by performing simulation on ns network simulator, as well as to reveal the advantages and drawbacks of the ALMA protocol, which focuses on the implication of the microeconomic theory to bandwidth adaptation. Some performance evaluation properties of congestion control protocols such as stability, efficiency, fairness, scalability, and feasibility are discussed. We conclude that ALMA’s performance is comparable with PLM, but offers the use of active packets to implement the protocol. ALMA provides flexibility to manage the network using the price function. We find that ALMA has a fast convergence property and is relatively unfriendly towards TCP.