Media-specific rate allocation in heterogeneous wireless networks
We address the problem of joint path selection and rate allocation in multipath wireless streaming, in order to optimize a media specific quality of service. We leverage on the existence of multiple parallel wireless services, in order to enhance the received video quality at a wireless client. An optimization problem is proposed, aimed at minimizing a video distortion metric based on sequence-dependent parameters, and transmission channel characteristics, for a given wireless network infrastructure. Even if joint optimal path selection and rate allocation is in general an NP complete problem, an in-depth analysis of the media distortion evolution allows defining a low complexity optimal streaming strategy, under reasonable network assumptions. In particular, we show that a greedy allocation of rates along paths with increasing error probability leads to an optimal solution. We argue that a network path should not be chosen for transmission, unless all other available paths with lower error probability have been chosen. Moreover, the chosen paths should be used at their maximum end-to-end bandwidth. These results are demonstrated for both independent network paths, and non-disjoint channel segments, in generic network topologies. Simulation results showed that the optimal rate allocation carefully trades off total encoding/transmission rate, with the end-to-end transmission error probability and the number of chosen paths. In many cases, the optimal rate allocation provides more than 20% improvement in received video quality, compared to heuristic-based algorithms.