Surfing Peer-to-Peer IPTV: Distributed Channel Switching
It is now common for IPTV systems attracting millions of users to be based on a peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture. In such systems, each channel is typically associated with one P2P overlay network connecting the users. This significantly enhances the user experience by relieving the source from dealing with all connections. Yet, the joining process resulting in a peer to be integrated in channel overlay usually requires a significant amount of time. As a consequence, switching from one channel to another is far to be as fast as in IPTV solutions provided by telco operators. In this paper, we tackle the issue of efficient channel switching in P2P IPTV system. This is to the best of our knowledge the first study on this topic. First, we conducted and analyzed a set of measurements of one of the most popular P2P systems (PPlive). These measurements reveal that the set of contacts that a joining peer receives from the central server are of the utmost importance in the start-up process. On those neigbors, depends the speed to acquire the first video frames to play. We then formulate the switching problem, and propose a simple distributed algorithm, as an illustration of the concept, which aims at leveraging the presence of peers in the network to fasten the switch process. The principle is that each peer maintains as neighbors peers involved in other channels, providing peers with good contacts upon channel switching. Finally, simulations show that our approach leads to substantial improvements on the channel switching time. As our algorithmic solution does not have any prerequisite on the overlays, it appears to be an appealing add-on for existing P2P IPTV systems.
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