internet architecture; network protocol; streaming
The current Internet architecture, embodied in the Internet Protocol (IP) network protocol, offers a very simple service model: point-to-point best-effort service. In recent years, several new classes of distributed applications have been developed, such as remote video, multimedia conferencing, data fusion, visualization, and virtual reality. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Internet’s primitive service model is inadequate for these new applications. This inadequacy stems from the failure of the point-to-point best-effort service model to address two application requirements. First, many of these applications are very sensitive to the quality of service their packets receive. For a network to deliver the appropriate quality of service, it must go beyond the best-effort service model and allow flows (which is the generic term we will use to identify data traffic streams in the network) to reserve network resources. Second, these new applications are not solely point-to-point, with a single sender and a single receiver of data; instead, they are often multipoint-to-multipoint, with several senders and receivers of data. Multipoint-to-multipoint communication occurs, for example, in multiparty conferencing where each participant is both a sender and a receiver of data, and also in remote learning applications, although in the latter case there are typically many more receivers than senders.
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