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USENIX 2004 Annual Technical Conference, General Track — Abstract

Pp. 155–170 of the Proceedings

Early Experience with an Internet Broadcast System Based on Overlay Multicast

Yang-hua Chu and Aditya Ganjam, Carnegie Mellon University; T.S. Eugene Ng, Rice University; Sanjay G. Rao, Kunwadee Sripanidkulchai, Jibin Zhan, and Hui Zhang, Carnegie Mellon University


In this paper, we report on experience in building and deploying an operational Internet broadcast system based on Overlay Multicast. In over a year, the system has been providing a cost-effective alternative for Internet broadcast, used by over 4000 users spread across multiple continents in home, academic and commercial environments. Technical conferences and special interest groups are the early adopters. Our experience confirms that Overlay Multicast can be easily deployed and can provide reasonably good application performance. The experience has led us to identify first-order issues that are guiding our future efforts and are of importance to any Overlay Multicast protocol or system. Our key contributions are (i) enabling a real Overlay Multicast application and strengthening the case for overlays as a viable architecture for enabling group communication applications on the Internet, (ii) the details in engineering and operating a fully functional streaming system, addressing a wide range of real-world issues that are not typically considered in protocol design studies, and (iii) the data, analysis methodology, and experience that we are able to report given our unique standpoint.
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