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Service Aware Network Tests and Trials

The service aware network is able to dynamically build a network of linked nodes with different functionalities that will effectively mediate group based video communications. The emergence of trends such as cloud based computing and network function virtualisation give us the options to instantiate network functionality at a distance. This work demonstrates how such trends can allow the intelligent dynamic set up of network topologies that support group based video communications. 

In order to test whether MCU functionality can be instantiated using cloud based computing infrastructure, a proof of principle was carried out using 6 endpoints located across Europe and linked using MCU capability instantiated on a cloud computing platform at locations determined by assessing network delay measured between the end points on establishing the call.

Screen capture of a live video chat call enabled using Vconect components and transmitted over the Internet.

Service Aware Network Tests and Trial - Results

We have achieved the first deployment of video routers on a commercial cloud based computing platforms (Amazon’s EC2 platform). This is a significant milestone towards the practical implementation of the Service-Aware Network. By implementing RTCP monitoring and firewall traversal within the prototype Vconect platform components, it has been possible to set up a distributed network of Video Routers in data centres across the globe. These Video Routers acted as interconnected relays for video streams in a group chat session, and the whole system was configured to automatically maintain a high Quality of Experience (in this case by maintaining a low delay) while reducing the transmission cost (by splitting the streams out to each client as close to the destination as possible).

Schematic of the stream flows, between end-clients and video routers, during the live network test.

 Exploitation

These tests and trials act as important milestones for the project.  They help tease out unexpected "gochas" and help prove the necessary engineering elements (scalability, stabilty and for example NAT traversal) required to complete the use cases.