Efficient content distribution in IPTV environments
Abstract: Existing VoD solutions often rely on unicast to distribute content, which leads to a higher load on the VoD server as more nodes become interested in the content. In such case, P2P is an alternative way of distributing content since it makes better use of available resources in the network. In this report, several P2P structures are evaluated from an operators point of view. We believe BitTorrent is the most adequate protocol for a P2P solution in IPTV environments. Two BitTorrent clients have been implemented on an IP-STB as proof of concept to find out whether P2P is suited for IPTV environments. Several tests were conducted to evaluate the performance of both clients and to see if they were able to reach a sufficient throughput on the IP-STB. Based upon the tests and the overall impressions, we are convinced that this particular P2P protocol is well suited for IPTV environments. Hopefully, a client developed from scratch for the IP-STB will offer even greater characteristics. Further, we have studied how to share recorded content among IP-STBs. Such a design would probably have many similarities to BitTorrent since a central node needs to keep track of content; the IP-STBs take care of the rest. The report also brings up whether BitTorrent is suitable for streaming. We believe that the necessary changes required to obtain such functionality will disrupt the strengths of BitTorrent. Some alternative solutions are presented where BitTorrent has been extended with additional modules, such as a server.
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