CStream: Neighborhood Bandwidth Aggregation for Better Video Streaming

CStream: Neighborhood Bandwidth Aggregation for Better Video Streaming

Thangam Seenivasan and Mark Claypool

In Springer Multimedia Tools and Applications (MTAP)
DOI: 10.1007/s11042-011-0812-3
Volume 70, Issue 1,
Pages 379-408

Despite the popularity of watching videos online, challenges still remain in video streaming in many scenarios. Limited home broadband and mobile phone 3G bandwidths mean many users stream videos at compromised quality. To provide additional bandwidth for streaming, we propose CStream, a system that aggregates bandwidth from multiple cooperating users in a neighborhood environment for better video streaming. CStream exploits the fact that wireless devices have multiple network interfaces and connects cooperating users with a wireless ad-hoc network to aggregate their unused downlink Internet bandwidth. CStream dynamically generates a streaming plan to stream a single video using multiple connections, continuously adapting to changes in the neighborhood and variations in the available bandwidth. CStream is developed and evaluated on a test bed of computers, allowing for a detailed, controlled evaluation of performance. Analysis of the results shows a linear increase in throughput over single-connection streaming and improved video quality as the number of cooperating users in a neighborhood increase.