WebRTC, and Peer-Assisted, Streaming Delivery Networks
When most people think P2P, they think Napster, Kazaa or BitTorrent. These trail blazing, first-gen P2P pioneers brought the music industry to its knees, more than a decade ago, with their contentious file-sharing apps. Used mainly to ‘exchange’ MP3’s, videos, applications, and documents over the internet.
Whilst P2P streaming is not new (Akamai experimented with P2P multicasting back in 2007 with its acquisition of Red Swoosh), one of the main hurdles of first generation P2P, was that it required users to download, and install, a dedicated application/client.
Unlike traditional CDN’s where all users connect to an Edge node/server, leveraging a P2P approach, only some users connect to the CDN. These users in-turn, fetch and share the content directly from their machines/devices (effectively becoming an Edge node).
Using a hybrid P2P/HTTP switching algorithm, Peer5 shards load across a mesh network WebRTC enabled clients. Optimising offload, saving bandwidth, and improving end-user, quality of service (QoS). If no peers are available, or QoS deteriorates, Peer5 falls back to HTTP delivery.
Peer5 CTO, and Co-Founder, Shachar Zohar said “we’re seeing cases such as one publisher, who broadcasts live streams with a bitrate of 1Mbps, owning 6 origin servers (each capable of 500Mbps upstream), being limited to 3,000 concurrent viewers. With Peer5’s technology we’ve managed to scale them to 40,000 concurrent viewers at peak“.
Earlier this month, Dailymotion, one of the biggest video hosting platforms in the world, announced a partnership wherein they will deploy Peer5’s peer-to-peer video delivery technology to enhance the streaming of live video content on Dailymotion.
Dailymotion recently investigated new technologies to manage the exponential growth of live video streaming across its various distribution channels.
“In order to grow our audience and exceed our current 300 million viewers, we need to think beyond traditional HTTP-based CDN services”, said Pierre-Yves Kerembellec, Head of Architecture at Dailymotion. “We chose Peer5 because their WebRTC-based peer-to-peer solution solves our three biggest live streaming challenges – capacity, quality and cost-efficiency – while requiring no end-user software installation.”
Bulgaria based,Viblast, is another peer-assisted delivery network (PDN) that adds an additional video transport layer for video delivery. To complement, and extend, the traditional server-to-client model.
Winner of Best Innovation 2014 at WebRTC Global Summit 2014, and Winner of the Best Delivery Network category at the 2015 European Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards. Viblast optimises video delivery to large numbers of simultaneous viewers through patent-pending peer-assisted technology. With the ability to dynamically scale in real-time, Viblast improves QoE and relieves last-mile video traffic congestion, while reducing reliance on costly streaming infrastructure.
Targeted at primarily at broadcasters and content providers, Viblast PDN enables the delivery of live, and on-demand, high-definition video to any device and platform in a massively scalable and cost-effective way, achieving bandwidth savings of up to 70%. The technology is designed to seamlessly complement existing delivery solutions (CDN/in-house deployments).
Finally, given i’m a Senior (Media) Engagement Manager with Akamai (full disclosure), it would be remiss of me to not to mention Octoshape, who were one of the pioneers of peer assisted streaming, and were acquired by Akamai in April 2015.
Octoshape’s patented video and network optimisation technologies, focused on Multicast, UDP and peer assisted solutions. Designed specifically to offer highly-efficient, transport methods for the delivery of video streams, using standard media formats and players.
Octoshape’s technology stack is currently being integrated/rebranded under the Akamai Infinite Media Acceleration product suite.