Scalable Overlay Multicast Tree Construction for QoS-Constrained Media Streaming
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Overlay networks have become popular in recent times for content distribution and end-system multicasting of media streams. In the latter case, the motivation is based on the lack of widespread deployment of IP multicast and the ability to perform end-host processing. However, constructing routes between various end-hosts, so that data can be streamed from content publishers to many thousands of subscribers, each having their own QoS constraints, is still a challenging problem. First, any routes between end-hosts using trees built on top of overlay networks can increase stress on the underlying physical network, due to multiple instances of the same data traversing a given physical link. Second, because overlay routes between end-hosts may traverse physical network links more than once, they increase the end-to-end latency compared to IP-level routing. Third, algorithms for constructing efficient, large-scale trees that reduce link stress and latency are typically more complex. This paper therefore compares various methods to construct multicast trees between end-systems, that vary in terms of implementation costs and their ability to support per-subscriber QoS constraints. We describe several algorithms that make trade-offs between algorithmic complexity, physical link stress and latency. While no algorithm is best in all three cases we show how it is possible to efficiently build trees for several thousand subscribers with latencies within a factor of two of the optimal, and link stresses comparable to, or better than, existing technologies.