Beyond 1Mbps Global Overlay Live Streaming
ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications (TOMCCAP)
and Technology In order to provide live streaming over the global Internet, a content provider often deploys an overlay network consisting of distributed proxies placed close to user pools. Streaming of multi-Mbps video over such an overlay is challenging because of bandwidth bottlenecks in paths. To effectively overcome these bottlenecks, we consider employing proxy helpers in the overlay to provide rich path diversity. The helpers do not have any attached users, and hence may forward partial
... ay forward partial video streams (or not at all) if necessary. In this way, the helpers serve as stepping stones to supply full streams to the servers. The issue is how to involve the helpers in the overlay to achieve low streaming delay meeting a certain high streaming bitrate requirement. To address the issue, we first formulate the problem which captures various delay and bandwidth components, and show that it is NP-hard. We then propose an efficient algorithm called Stepping-Stones (SS) which can be efficiently implemented in a controller. Given the encouraging simulation results, we develop a novel streaming testbed for SS and explore, through sets of Internet experiments, the effectiveness of helpers to achieve high bitrate (multi-Mbps) global live streaming. In our experiments, proxies are deployed with a reasonably wide global footprint. We collect more than a hundred hours of streaming traces with bitrate ranging from 500kbps to a few Mbps. Our experimental data validates that helpers indeed play an important role in achieving high bitrate in today's Internet. Global multi-Mbps streaming is possible due to their multihop and multipath advantages. Our experimental trials and data also provide valuable insights on the design of a global push-based streaming network. There are strong benefits of using proxy helpers to achieve high bitrate and low delay.