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Faster Paths For Streaming Videos

Kim Hart

Earlier this week, eMarketer reported that 70 percent of all Internet users watch online video. But your average uploaded video is considered old-fashioned. Now it's all about streaming live video to consumers anytime, anywhere.

But streaming high-quality video takes a lot of bandwidth, and live feeds often get interrupted on congested networks. Asankya is a company here at DEMO trying to find a way around that. It finds the quickest paths across eight different commercial broadband networks to deliver content to your computer. If a file is being stored on a server in Los Angeles, some packets may get routed over networks through Dallas up to Washington. If a faster path opens up going through a network in Chicago, some of the packets are rerouted there in order to deliver the entire file to you as quickly as possible. And its two-way capabilities improve the quality of video conferencing.

Asankya's technology is up and running in the Washington area. And it has some other DC connections. Among its investors are In-Q-Tel, a Washington-based fund, Frank Bonsal, a co-founder of NEA and a well-known investor in the Washington region, as well as Steve Chaddick, a co-founder of Ciena Corp., a telecom firm in Linthicum.

By Kim Hart  |  January 31, 2008; 8:05 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
Previous: Who's Actually Watching All Those Online Videos? | Next: Minimum Price for FCC's Airwaves Met

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Internap has been claiming route-optimization for a long time.
What is missing is monitoring and control of the reverse path (the path taken by the "acks" that flow back towards Internap; they could control this by changing the route-announcements that they make to their providers, but they only do this manually in exceptional situations; they have no automated control system for the reverse path)

Internap purchased VitalStream a while ago. Vitalstream is a CDN specializing in video.

Limelight has recently offered pre-push (not demand cached) video CDN. Big Dog Akamai has also recently conducted a demo of HD streaming in conjunction with Verizon (FIOS).

P2P is unsustainable in a high-bandwidth environment once business booms, because of the asymmetry in last-mile bandwidth. P2P works only so long as the majority of users don't use it :-) If we try to stream 4 or 8Mbps down, and users are only able to achieve 1Mbps upstream, then it takes four to 8 (or more) peers to supply one viewer. Once active viewership grows beyond 1 in 4 (or so) the system collapses. But, by then all the P2P guys will have sold their companies and made their money. This type of short sighted (get rich quick) business mentality is why american business is in decline.

Hats off to Seidenberg of Verizon for actually making an investment in America by installing fiber optic cables. That's concrete, sustainable bandwidth, not smoke and mirrors. Now if only he would switch to point-to-point, home-run fibers instead of PON...

Posted by: Bob | February 4, 2008 3:39 PM

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