Today, we take a look at the reason why web-based streaming services fail: bandwidth. Streaming live video across the corporate wide area network (WAN) presents a significant challenge in terms of managing and optimizing the finite resource of network bandwidth.
Web-based Streaming Services Don’t Consider Your Network
One of the biggest challenges companies face in streaming live video is the efficient use of bandwidth and the distribution of content across their own network, securely, behind their own firewall. Web-based streaming services leave the connection challenge to the end user, which usually means that each viewer goes out over the public internet and draws down a unicast stream. Imagine the catastrophic consequences when hundreds, or thousands, of these unicast streams are summoned at the same time, such as when employees company-wide try to access the CEO’s town hall webcast. The available bandwidth is quickly used up, which impacts audio and visual quality and limits how many viewers can join the event at all. Often, the user authentication process alone can place exceptional stress on the corporate network, resulting in only a fraction of participants who are able to join the webcast.
The Solution – An Intelligent Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN)
Luckily, there is a solution that enables you to leverage your own network securely and efficiently. By implementing an Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) within your organization, you can deliver live video to mass, globally distributed audiences on multiple device types without overwhelming your company’s WAN. An eCDN uses intelligent zoning technology to match end user information – including the user’s location and viewing permissions – with an intelligent media server that routes and relays video content to the network’s edge, closest to the user, thus ensuring optimal bandwidth use. This technology provides further bandwidth optimization by intelligently providing media redistribution (either unicast or multicast), media transmuxing, media transrating, and the serving and storage of video-on-demand. Transmuxing converts a digital bit stream from one file format or streaming protocol to another without changing the compression method. An example is when a unicast stream is converted to multicast or when an RTP stream is converted to RTMP. Transrating converts a digital bit stream from one bit rate to another without changing the compression. An example is when a high bit rate stream is converted into multiple lower bit rate streams for delivery to mobile devices.
Finally, while unicast streams may work for allowing users to access video-on-demand assets, this method can’t scale to meet the demands of a live webcast for thousands of simultaneous participants. Multicasting provides a better, more reliable and scalable option for allowing unlimited participants to simultaneously access the live webcast stream. It’s easy to see from the chart below how leveraging multicast technology, where possible, will help your organization optimize the use of available network bandwidth.
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