Multimedia Tools and Applications

Columbia's VoD and Multimedia Research Testbed with Heterogeneous Network Support

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This paper reports our progress in developing an advanced video-on-demand (VoD) testbed, which will be used to accommodate various multimedia research and applications such as Electronic News on Demand, Columbia's Video Course Network, and Digital Libraries. The testbed supports delivery of MPEG-2 audio/video stored as transport streams over various types of networks, e.g., ATM, Ethernet, and wireless. Both software and hardware video encoders/decoders are used in the testbed. A real-time video pump and a distributed application control protocol (MPEG-2's DSM-CC) have been incorporated. Hardware decoders and set-tops are being used to test wide-area video interoperability. Our VoD testbed also provides an advanced platform for implementing proof-of-concept prototypes of related research. Our current research focus covers video transmission with heterogeneous quality-of-service (QoS) provision, variable bitrate (VBR) traffic modeling, VBR server scheduling, video over Internet, and video transmission over IP-ATM hybrid networks. An important aim is to enhance interoperability. Accommodation of practical multimedia applications and interoperability testing with external VoD systems has also been undertaken.