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Software-Defined Multicast for Over-the-Top and Overlay-based Live Streaming in ISP Networks

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The increasing amount of over-the-top (OTT) live streams and the lack of global network layer multicast support poses challenges for a scalable and efficient streaming over the Internet. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) help by delivering the streams to the edge of almost every Internet Service Provider (ISP) network of the world but usually also end there. From there on, the streams are to be delivered to the clients using IP unicast, although an IP multicast functionality would be desirable to reduce the load on CDN nodes, transit links, and the ISP infrastructure. IP multicast is usually not available due to missing control and management features of the protocol. Alternatively, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) mechanisms can be applied to extend the overlay multicast functionality of the CDN towards the clients. Unfortunately, P2P only improves the situation for the CDN but makes it more challenging for the ISP as even more unicast flows are generated between clients inside and outside the ISP network. To tackle this problem, a Software-Defined Networking-based cross-layer approach, called Software-Defined Multicast (SDM), is proposed in this paper, enabling ISPs to offer network layer multicast support for OTT and overlay-based live streaming as a service. SDM is specifically tailored towards the needs of P2P-based video stream delivery originating from outside the ISP network and can easily be integrated with existing streaming systems. Prototypical evaluations show significantly improved network layer transmission efficiencies when compared to other overlay streaming mechanisms, down to a level as low as for IP multicast, at linearly bounded costs.

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This work has been funded in parts by the European Union (FP7/ #317846, SmartenIT and FP7/#318398, eCOUSIN) and the DFG as part of the CRC 1053 MAKI.

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Correspondence to Julius Rückert.

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Rückert, J., Blendin, J. & Hausheer, D. Software-Defined Multicast for Over-the-Top and Overlay-based Live Streaming in ISP Networks. J Netw Syst Manage 23, 280–308 (2015).

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