CPSC 601.43 Topics in Multimedia Networking (Winter 05)

Recent years have witnessed the growth of networked multimedia applications on the Internet that provide services such as video-on-demand, audio-on-demand, news-on-demand, Internet telephony, audio/video conferencing, interactive television, and multiplayer games. With increases in network coverage and available bandwidth, networked multimedia applications are expected to become even more popular in the future.

This course is primarily concerned with the problems that arise when carrying audio/video content over modern communication networks. The course will present an overview of current multimedia applications (e.g., media-on-demand, Internet Telephony) and discuss deployment problems, and study solutions presented in the literature. The course will also examine emerging technologies and open research problems such as quality of service support for networked multimedia applications and streaming in peer-to-peer networks.

This page provides the following information:

Administrative Details


30/04/05: The projected final grades for the course can be found here (PDF document, 1-page).
08/04/05: Projects due at 16:00 hours on Thursday April 28, 2005.


This course assumes that students have a general background in networking (e.g., CPSC 441 at the University of Calgary or equivalent). Background in computer systems performance evaluation (e.g., simulation, experimental, or analytical approaches) and/or telecommunications networking would be an asset, but is not required. Students who do not have the required background but are willing to independently study additional material to build the required background are welcome. If you have any doubts about the adequacy of your background for this course, you are advised to contact the instructor as soon as possible.


There will be no formal textbook for this course. The primary reading material for this course will be drawn from current research papers and selected chapters of relevant books. These will be provided to you, in advance, either in hardcopy or electronic form. This class will be lecture-driven; however, class participation is an essential component of this course.

Selected chapters from the following texts will be used to complement the material drawn from the research literature:


  1. Critique (10%) Midway through the semester, you will write a short (2 page) critique of a paper related to the topics already covered in the class. This paper will be assigned from the recent literature. The critique will account for 10% of your final grade in the course.
  2. Class Participation (5%) Class participation will be an integral component of the course. Participation in the in-class discussions will account for 5% of the final grade in the course.
  3. Presentation (15%) An in-class presentation of a research paper is required. Each student will be responsible for presenting one paper, and leading discussions on that paper. I will try to assign a paper from the module you are summarizing (see below). Your in-class presentation will account for 15% of your final mark in the course.
  4. Project (40%) Each student is expected to complete a project by the end of the semester. Projects must be completed individually. The project should take the form of a research paper, approximately 15-20 pages in length (using 11 pt font size), including abstract, figures, tables, and bibliography. The paper should demonstrate your creativity, originality, and contributions in the chosen topic. Projects will be mutually agreed upon between the student and the instructor. Note that a survey paper is not acceptable as a project.
    Note that the project accounts for a significant portion (40%) of the final grade for the course, and thus should represent about 1.5 months of significant research effort. It is also important to start thinking about the project early in the semester. A concise (2 page) project proposal will be required by the end of week 4. This proposal should describe the goals and objectives of the project, and why the project is worthwhile doing. The proposal should present the proposed research in the context of previous work in the chosen area. This project proposal will account for 15% of the total marks for the project.
    Potential project topics will be provided in-class.
  5. Module Summary (30%)
  6. As agreed in our first meeting, each student taking this course for credit will prepare a summary of a selected module. You can prepare this summary as a presentation or as a tutorial article. Your summary is due when we finish discussing that module in the class.

Lecture Topics

A tentative outline of topics is provided below. (Notes and electronic copies of research papers will be posted here.) These can be revised, to some extent, to accommodate topics that are of particular interest to the students attending this course.
  1. Introduction (1 week) Overview of multimedia applications on the Internet; Requirements of multimedia applications; Hurdles in the deployment of multimedia application on the current Internet; Compression.
    Slides: Overview (PPT)
  2. Multimedia Networking Performance Issues (1.5 weeks) Performance parameters; Characteristics of multimedia traffic sources; Factors affecting performance; Review of empirical studies of audio/video streaming on the Internet; Video streaming on wireless channels.
  3. Multicast (2 weeks) Overview of IP multicast; Deployment issues with IP multicast; Application-level multicast.
    Slides: Introduction (PPT), IP Multicast Summary by Liqi Shi ( PPT)
  4. Content Distribution (2.5 weeks) Scalable streaming protocols for video-on-demand (periodic broadcast protocols, patching, bandwidth skimming protocols); Scalable bulk data distribution; Content Distribution Networks; Peer-to-peer streaming.
    Slides: Introduction (PPT), Scalable On-demand Media Streaming with Packet Loss Recovery (PPT), PROMISE presentation by Patrick (PPT)
  5. Packet Loss Recovery (2 weeks) Packet loss recovery techniques for unicast audio/video streaming; Parity-Based Loss Recovery for Reliable Multicast Transmission; Reliable Multicast Transport Protocol (RMTP); Reliable Multicast Framework for Light-weight Sessions and Application Level Framing.
    Slides:SRM presentation by Sean (PPT)
  6. Rate Control of Streaming Media (2 weeks) Review of TCP Congestion Control; TCP Vegas; Binomial congestion control; Unicast rate control protocols (e.g., RAP, TFRC); Multicast rate control protocols (e.g., RLM, FLID-DL, WEBRC).
    Slides:TCP Vegas paper presentation by Nadim (PPT)
  7. Quality of Service (1 week) Integrated services; Differentiated services; Active Queue Management.
    Slides:QoS Presentation by HAsib (PPT)
  8. Student Presentations (1 week) Students will present papers selected from the literature (e.g., the papers will be drawn from conferences such as ACM SIGCOMM, ACM SIGMETRICS, IEEE INFOCOM, ACM Multimedia, NCG) . These presentations will be held between week 4 and week 9 of the semester. Approximately 1 week of the semester will be allocated for the student presentations.

Reading List

Empirical Studies of Audio/Video Streaming

  1. M. Li, M. Claypool, R. Kinicki, and J. Nichols, Characteristics of Streaming Media Stored on the Web, to appear in ACM Transactions on Internet Technology.
  2. M. Li, M. Claypool, R. Kinicki, MediaPlayer versus RealPlayer - A Comparison of Network Turbulence, Proc. of ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop 2002.
  3. K. Sripanidkulchai, B. Maggs, and H. Zhang, An Analysis of Live Streaming Workloads on the Internet, Proc. of Internet Measurement Conference 2004.


  1. C. Diot, D. Levine, B. Lyles, H. Kassem, and D. Balensiefen, Deployment Issues for the IP Multicast Service and Architecture, IEEE Network, Vol. 14, No. 1, January/February 2000.
  2. L. Sahasrabuddhe and B. Mukherjee, Multicast Routing Algorithms and Protocols: A Tutorial, IEEE Network, Vol. 14, No. 1, January/February 2000.
  3. H. Holbrook and D. Cheriton, IP Multicast Channels: Express Support for Large-scale Single-source Applications, Proc. of ACM SIGCOMM Conference 1999.
  4. Y. Chu, S. Rao, and H. Zhang, A Case for End System Multicast, Proc. of ACM SIGMETRICS Conference 2000. (obtain paper from ACM digital library)
  5. S. Banerjee, B. Bhattacharjee, and C. Kommareddy, Scalable Application Layer Multicast, Proc. of ACM SIGCOMM Conference 2002. (Reading for Wednesday Feb 9).

Content Distribution

  1. S. Viswanathan and T. Imielinksi, Metropolitan Area Video-on-Demand Using Pyramid Broadcasting, Multimedia Systems, Vol 4, No 4, August 1996. (you can obtain this paper from www.ucalgary.ca/library) Background paper.
  2. K. Hua and S. Sheu, Skyscraper Broadcasting: A New Broadcasting Scheme for Metropolitan Video-on-Demand Systems, Proc. of ACM SIGCOMM Conference 1997.
  3. D. Eager, M. Vernon, and J. Zahorjan, Minimizing Bandwidth Requirements for On-Demand Data Delivery, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 5, September 2001. Background paper.
  4. A. Mahanti, D. Eager, M. Vernon, and D. Sundaram-Stukel, Scalable On-Demand Media Streaming with Packet Loss Recovery, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 11, No. 2, April 2003 (an earlier version appeared in ACM SIGCOMM 2001).
  5. R. Sherwood, R. Braud, and B. Bhattacharjee, Slurpie: A Cooperative Bulk Data Transfer Protocol, Proc. of IEEE INFOCOM 2004.
  6. B. Wang, S. Sen, M. Alder, and D. Towsley, Optimal Proxy Cache Allocation for Efficient Streaming Media Distribution, Proc. of IEEE INFOCOM 2002.
  7. M. Hefeeda, A. Habib, B. Botev, D. Xu, and B. Bhargava, PROMISE:Peer-to-Peer Media Streaming Using CollectCast, Proc. of ACM Multimedia 2003.

Packet Loss Recovery

  1. C. Perkins and V. Hardman, A Survey of Packet Loss Recovery Techniques for Streaming Audio, IEEE Network, Vo. 12, No. 5, September/October 1998. Background paper.
  2. H. Sanneck and G. Carle, A Framework Model for Packet Loss Metrics Based on Loss Runlengths, Proc. of Multimedia Computing and Networking Conference 2000.
  3. J. Nonnemmacher, E. Biersack, and D. Towsley, Parity-Based Loss Recovery for Reliable Multicast Transmissions, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 6, No. 4, 1998.
  4. S. Floyd, V. Jacobson, S. McCanne, and L. Zhang, A Reliable Multicast Framework for Light-weight Sessions and Application Level, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 5, No. 6, December 1997.

Rate Control for Streaming Media

  1. K. Fall and S. Floyd, Simulation-based Comparisons of Tahoe, Reno, and SACK TCP, Computer Communication Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1996. Background paper.
  2. L. Brackmo and L. Peterson, TCP Vegas: End to End Congestion Avoidance on a Global Internet, IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, Vo. 13, No. 8, 1995.
  3. S. Floyd, M. Handley, J. Padhye, and J. Widmer, Equation-Based Congestion Control for Unicast Applications, Proc. of ACM SIGCOMM 2000.
  4. D. Bansal and H. Balakrishnan, Binomial Congestion Control Algorithms, Proc. of IEEE INFOCOM 2001.
  5. S. McCanne, V. Jacobson, and M. Vetterli, Receiver-driven Layered Multicast, Proc. of ACM SIGCOMM 1996.
  6. A. Mahanti, D. Eager, and M. Vernon, Improving Multirate Congestion Control Using a TCP Vegas Throughput Model, to appear in Computer Networks Journal.

Quality of Service

  1. B. Carpenter and K. Nichols, Differentiated Services in the Internet, IEEE Proceedings, Vol 90, No. 9, 2002.
  2. Sam C.M. Lee, John C.S. Lui, David K.Y. Yau, A Proportional-Delay DiffServ-Enabled Web Server: Admission Control and Dynamic Adaptation, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Vol 15, No 5, pp. 385-400, May, 2004.
  3. S. Gollapudi and D. Sivakumar, A Mechanism for Equitable Bandwidth Allocation Under QoS and Budget Constraints, Proc. of IWQoS, 2004.