IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications

Networking Requirements for Interactive Video on Demand

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A significant driver for the consumer use of high bandwidth in the near future will be interactive video on demand (IVOD). A range of service types can be deployed, based on a differing sophistication, which must be traded against the network costs (bandwidth) and component costs (switch complexity and memory). The potential aggregate bandwidth required is huge (O(1Pb/s)), and thus it is essential to properly engineer the network to reduce the bandwidth required. This paper describes a variety of IVOD scenarios, and introduces a cost function that captures the combined bandwidth and storage requirements of the network. This cost function is used to compare different network engineering alternatives, particularly program caching and stream sharing. The effects of nonlinear pricing and differing weights of bandwidth and storage are also reflected by the cost function. This cost function can be used by network designers to determine optimal topology, sharing, and caching strategies for desired bandwidth versus memory costs in a particular network deployment. In addition, a simulation model is used to evaluate caching of programs or windows within programs. We show that there are some results that are widely applicable. In particular, the level in the network at which caching should take place is at approximately 80% depth in the distribution tree, above the head end switch in the network hierarchy. We also observe that the bandwidth savings in sharing streams (actually buffered windows of program content) is fairly small for user behavior based on Zipf's law. The overall intent of this work is to evaluate the effects of various server, cache, and sharing strategies on the bandwidth and storage requirements of the network and their proper placement within the network. © 1995 IEEE