Evaluation of a comprehensive P2P video-on-demand streaming system
Video-on-demand (VoD) streaming has recently become a popular service on the Internet, with several companies offering videos to a global audience. However, traditional client/server based VoD streaming systems can be very bandwidth intensive and expensive to maintain, especially for high quality video content. To improve the scalability these systems, the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking has been proposed, but despite the efficiency of applications such as BitTorrent for downloading of large files, it is not simple to use P2P techniques for streaming. Problems such as firewalls and freeloaders reduce the efficiency of both types of P2P systems, but for real-time services such as streaming, the result can be reduced playback quality. Other issues include the traffic load imposed on ISPs by P2P networks, which can motivate ISPs to interfere with the P2P traffic. Finally, protecting against malicious modification of content can increase overhead, response times, and startup delays. We consider these issues to be fundamental to the problem of P2P based VoD, but despite the large amount of research that has been done in this field, these issues have largely been ignored. To address this, we present an evaluation of the Streaming P2P Protocol (SPP) architecture. By studying the problem as a whole we have found a simple and comprehensive solution that addresses all the four issues listed above. To show that the system is not only scalable, but also that it can be implemented efficiently, we have used both simulations and experiments on PlanetLab for evaluation. The results show that the combination of cache nodes and use of end-user resources found in the SPP architecture can give a low load on servers and ISPs, even when firewalls are taken into consideration. Furthermore, we observed low startup delays and few playback errors during the PlanetLab experiments. The scalable and low-cost distribution of content possible with the SPP architecture should be suitable for both large-scale commercial distributors and users of community networks with limited resources.