Internet Video Transmission

Sammanfattning: The Internet has rapidly evolved from being a scientific experiment to a commercial network connecting millions of hosts that carries traffic generated by a large amount of applications with diverse requirements. Its architecture was however designed to enable efficient point-to-point delivery of bulk data, and can not provide statistical guarantees on the timely delivery of delay sensitive data such as streaming and real-time multimedia. Thus, applications that require low loss probabilities in today's Internet have to use some end-to-end error recovery mechanism. For delay sensitive applications the introduced latency by the applied schemes has to be low as well. Traffic control functions such as delay limited shaping and forward error correction (FEC), and multiple description coding (MDC) have been proposed for variable bitrate video. Their major drawback is, however, that it is difficult to predict their efficiency, as it depends on many factors like the characteristics of the stream itself, the characteristics of the traffic in the network and the network parameters. Consequently, it is difficult to decide which control mechanisms to employ, how to combine them and to choose the right parameters (e.g. block length, code rate) for optimal performance. In this thesis we present results on the efficiency of traffic control functions and MDC for video transmission based on mathematical models and simulations. We investigate the efficiency of delay limited traffic shaping and the trade-offs in the joint use of traffic shaping and forward error correction. We identify the packet size distribution of the traffic in the network as an additional factor that may influence the efficiency of FEC, and present a thorough analysis of its possible effects. We present an analytical comparison of MDC versus media-dependent FEC and media-independent FEC, and based on the results we conclude that MDC is a promising error control solution for multimedia communications with very strict delay bounds in an environment with bursty losses. We combine the analytical results with traces from measurements performed on the Internet to evaluate how efficient these error control schemes are under real loss patterns. We compare the efficiency of MDC and media-dependent FEC in the presence of channel estimation errors; we propose a new rate allocation method, which is robust to mis-estimations of the channel state and which improves error resilience on non-stationary channels. Finally we present an analytical model of the performance of an end-point-based multimedia streaming architecture based on multiple distribution trees and forward error correction, and analyze the behavior of the architecture for a large number of nodes.