Unicast and multicast streaming

December 26th, 2009 - Posted by Catalin in HD streaming

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Unicast streaming is a 1 to 1 connection between a server and a client, meaning each client gets a sepparate stream and only if they request it. Unicast streaming works either for live streaming or on demand streaming.

Here is how unicast streaming works:

Unicast streaming
Unicast streaming 11

Unicast is the way being used by a WM server to serve content and the middle factor between a player and a server. It also supports multiple bit rate streaming features. There are 2 factors limiting the audience size when receiving unicast signals:

a. The bit rate of the video content being streamed
b. The speed of the server.

Unicast streaming is a good solution if:

1. You want to encode with multiple-bit-rate

2. The network you are using is not multicast-enabled;

3. The size of your audience and your content bit rate are estimated according to your server and network capabilities.

Unicast is suitable when a private resource is demanded in a network process that is why applications created for mass content distribution are using multicast (this happens also because each network connection will consume its own bandwidth for data transmission).

Multicast streaming is the opposite technology for delivering datas to more than one sources at the same time, creating copies only when the links to the multiple destinations split.
Multicast is most of the time used to speak about IP multicast (used in the streaming media sector and Internet TV solutions).

Multicast streaming is basicly the communication between a WM server and many clients capturing the stream. The server uses a single IP address to deliver the content then clients are able to access it by subscribing to that specific IP. Everybody receives the same content and cannot control the playback.

Basicly this type of connection reduces the network bandwidth needed to stream over the network so a very good solution for low bandwidth LAN’s.

Multicast streaming
Multicast streaming 11

For delivering multicast content the routers you are using must be multicast-enabled (this means that it can transmit IP addresses class D.

Multicast is suitable in the situations when:

1. You have a large audience and bandwidth and server limits;

2. The network you are using is multicast-enabled;

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