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Path Diversity for Enhanced Media Streaming

Apostolopoulos, John G.; Trott, Mitchell, D.


Keyword(s): video streaming; path diversity; multipath streaming; multiple description coding

Abstract: Media streaming over best-effort packet networks such as the Internet is quite challenging because of the dynamic and unpredictable available bandwidth, loss rate, and delay. Recently, streaming over multiple paths to provide path diversity has emerged as an approach to help overcome these problems. This paper provides an overview of the benefits and use of path diversity for media streaming. The different approaches for media coding and streaming over multiple paths are examined, together with architectures for achieving path diversity between single or multiple senders and a single receiver. Important examples include using the distributed servers in a content delivery network to provide path diversity to a requesting client, using multiple 802.11 wireless access points to provide path diversity to a mobile client, and using relays to provide low-latency media communication. The design, analysis, and operation of media streaming systems that use path diversity are considered, with emphasis on the accurate performance models needed to select the best paths or best servers. Notes: Copyright IEEE. To be published in IEEE Communications Magazine, special issue on Proxy Support for Streaming on the Internet, August 2004.

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