RealTracer - Tools for Measuring the Performance of RealVideo on the Internet

RealTracer - Tools for Measuring the Performance of RealVideo on the Internet

Yubing Wang and Mark Claypool

Kluwer Multimedia Tools and Applications
Volume 27, Number 3
December 2005

The increase in high-bandwidth connections and high-speed computers has spurred the growth of streaming media across the Internet. While there have been a number of studies measuring the performance of traditional Internet traffic, there has not been sufficient wide-scale empirical measurement of video performance across the Internet. The lack of empirical work that measures streaming video traffic may arise from the lack of effective video performance measurement tools. In this paper, we present RealTracer, a set of tools for measuring the performance of RealVideo. RealTracer includes RealTracker, a customized video player that plays RealVideo from pre-selected playlist and records user-centric video performance information. RealTracer also includes RealData, a data analysis tool that helps manage, parse and analyze data captured by RealTracker. We describe the software architecture and usage of RealTracker and the usage of RealData, both publicly available for download. To illustrate the use of RealTracer, we present some results from a previous study that used RealTracker to measure RealVideo performance across the Internet. Using RealData, that study made several contributions to better understanding the performance of streaming video on the Internet. Using RealTracer, we find typical RealVideos to have high quality, achieving an average frame rate of 10 frames per second and very smooth playout, but very few videos achieve full-motion frame rates. Overall video performance is most influenced by the bandwidth of the end-user connection to the Internet, but high-bandwidth Internet connections are pushing the video performance bottleneck closer to the server.


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