Rapid growth in mobile traffic demand from smart phones, tablets and from bandwidth-hungry video applications have strained today’s networks. This significant challenge especially affects networks with licensed spectrum, which is costly scarce and technology for its efficient use is nearly reaching its theoretical limits. From the user’s perspective, network congestion leads to negative experience especially for video applications.
Looking at the next generation of wireless technologies, here at Intel, we are searching for disruptive methods to add network capacity with a focus on greater efficiency in multimedia content delivery that enhances user experience. Amongst the key technologies under research are: 1) optimized compression of video content to reduce network traffic, 2) intelligent aggregation of capacity across multiple radio networks, and 3) video quality aware optimization for wireless network.
At the 2011 Fall IDF, we are showing a demo [Scalable Video Over Multi-Radio Networks] that illustrates the gains possible by combining these technologies. We employ optimized video compression with Scalable Video Coding (H.264 SVC) to establish different resolutions: a base layer, which provides a baseline level of video QoE; and one or more enhancement layers that build upon the base layer with increasing levels of quality of experience (QoE) – in any combination of temporal, spatial, or picture quality dimensions.
We then show how content delivery is judiciously balanced over different radio networks (cellular and WiFi). While the base layer is continuously transmitted over cellular, the enhancement layers are opportunistically delivered when available capacity is present at WiFi hotspots, providing the user with better quality of video. Figure below illustrates this concept. The advantage for service providers is that this offers a way to balance load across different kinds of spectrum – licensed/unlicensed, WAN/LAN, etc. For users, the benefit is a flexible, or scalable QoE based on their local access to different spectrum bands.