Infoscience

Journal article

MicroCast: Cooperative Video Streaming Using Cellular and Local Connections

We consider a group of mobile users, within proximity of each other, who are interested in watching the same online video. The common practice today is that each user downloads the video independently on her mobile device using her own cellular connection, which wastes access bandwidth and may also lead to poor video quality. We propose a novel cooperative system where each mobile device uses simultaneously two network interfaces: (i) cellular to connect to the video server and download parts of the video and (ii) WiFi to connect locally to all other devices in the group to exchange those parts. Devices cooperate to efficiently utilize all network resources and to adapt to varying wireless network conditions. In the local WiFi network, we exploit overhearing, which we further combine with network coding. The end result is savings in cellular bandwidth and improved user experience. We follow a complete approach, from theory to practice. First, we formulate the problem using a network utility maximization (NUM) framework, decompose the problem, and provide a distributed solution. Then, based on the structure of the NUM solution, we design a system called MicroCast, and we implement a prototype as an Android application. We provide both simulation results of the NUM solution and experimental evaluation. We demonstrate that the proposed approach brings significant performance benefits (namely, faster download on the order of the group size) without battery penalty.

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