Skyfire - Best-In-Class Optimization For All Video Types 2014
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Does "pacing" network traffic alone solve mobile network operators' congestion and user experience issues? Will ABR video save mobile networks? We believe in optimizing all video types, including ABR ...

Does "pacing" network traffic alone solve mobile network operators' congestion and user experience issues? Will ABR video save mobile networks? We believe in optimizing all video types, including ABR – this paper explains how.

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Skyfire - Best-In-Class Optimization For All Video Types 2014 Document Transcript

  • 1. Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types 2014
  • 2. Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types | 2014 Page 2 Keep in touch Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types The Shortcomings of Pacing A new class of network management solutions have arisen of late that claim that segmenting network traffic into different “buckets” of priority, and then putting those buckets of traffic in appropriate bandwidth lanes (often known as “Pacing”) will somehow solve those mobile network operators’ congestion and user experience issues. At Skyfire, we believe that there are numerous flaws with this argument, and this short paper explains how compression, combined with an intense focus on real- time quality of experience, rather than pacing, delivers a far superior quality of experience to end users, while also keeping those users happy with their operators. Let’s start with the fast lane/slow lane paradigm that is inherent to pacing network traffic. When a network is being heavily utilized by consumers who are watching video, downloading images and reading text- and image-heavy articles, creating a good experience for 10% of those users is, in fact, possible by creating a “fast lane”. Yet this comes at the significant expense of punishing all other users, which becomes a large churn risk for those remaining 90% of users who are suffering from buffering and long start times. The only method to improve experience across the board is to reduce the actual number of bits required to provide a full and robust user experience. Performing video, image and text compression, as opposed to “pacing” that traffic into fast and slow lanes, achieves this. We know that over 50% of data traffic today is video traffic, and that this is projected to grow to 69% traffic of all network traffic by 2018. One problem with the “pacing” approach is that it helps only when video is in ABR (adaptive bit rate) format. Pacing solutions rely on a mistaken assumption that vast majority of the explosion in network traffic will be ABR video, when in fact the majority of global video traffic is, and will for the near future remain encoded in non-ABR formats. Global Operators and Consumers Still Struggling With Mobile Video * Significant stalling is defined as 10% or more of overall video playback time being spent stalling. † Open Signal Data 2013/14 § CiscoVNI Mobile Forecast 2018 ¶ On Device Research Data 2013/14 The global smartphone and mobile video boom is here, and operators and their customers clearly deserve a stalling-free mobile video experience. Targeted, surgical, real-time mobile video optimization will get them there. United States 40.8% of videos stall or rebuffer across 2G, 3G & LTE † 20.1% of videos experience significant stalling or rebuffing † 49.6% of consumers experience mobile video problems 'often' or 'all the time' ¶ Smartphones will be 53%of total mobile data traffic § Mobile video will grow 8-fold by 2018 § 2013 2018 Brazil 62% of videos stall or rebuffer across 2G, 3G & LTE † 29.8% of videos experience significant stalling or rebuffing † 53.6% of consumers experience mobile video problems 'often' or 'all the time' ¶ Smartphones will be 62%of total mobile data traffic § Mobile video will grow 11-fold by 2018 § 2013 2018 Russia 47.4% of videos stall or rebuffer across 2G, 3G & LTE † 24.2% of videos experience significant stalling or rebuffing † 50.4% of consumers experience mobile video problems 'often' or 'all the time' ¶ Smartphones will be 69%of total mobile data traffic § Mobile video will grow 20-fold by 2018 § 20132018 India 73.3% of videos stall or rebuffer across 2G, 3G & LTE † 40% of videos experience significant stalling or rebuffing † 60.8% of consumers experience mobile video problems 'often' or 'all the time' ¶ Smartphones will be 82%of total mobile data traffic § Mobile video will grow 24-fold by 2018 § 2013 2018 Indonesia 47.6% of videos stall or rebuffer across 2G, 3G & LTE † 23.4% of videos experience significant stalling or rebuffing † 57.8% of consumers experience mobile video problems 'often' or 'all the time' ¶ Smartphones will be 77%of total mobile data traffic § Mobile video will grow 16-fold by 2018 § 20132018
  • 3. Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types | 2014 Page 3 Keep in touch Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types What is ABR? When Apple devices began to proliferate and constitute a healthy percentage of mobile web traffic, many began to speculate that Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) technology, used on iPhones and iPads to stream many types of video, was soon to be the dominant streaming video format. As it turns out, we may be waiting a while. While ABR is indeed a popular format, in 2014 it still only constitutes a mere 25% of mobile video traffic, leaving nearly 75% of traffic traveling via other formats, such as progressive download. Clearly, mobile video optimization solutions do need to support ABR streaming protocols, but they will do little to solve the problem of ever-growing mobile video traffic on operator networks – and more important, quality of experience issues faced by individual users (who don’t know nor care how their videos are encoded) - without addressing other types of traffic as well. Some believe that because ABR has grown so quickly, this proves that the entire mobile ecosystem is heading to ABR, and that there’s therefore no need to apply a Quality of Service profile or pace anything but ABR. We respectfully disagree – as do the three-quarters of end-users whose mobile video traffic would continue to suffer from long start times and re-buffering on networks in which this solution might be installed. An ideal solution for managing mobile video traffic will handle ABR and progressive download formats seamlessly. Adopting the ABR fallacy as gospel could have detrimental effects to an operator’s bottom line. In a 2012 survey by Harris Interactive of US smartphone owners, 40% of customers who had switched wireless operators during the previous year said they did so because of “data quality/service”, each having left their current operator in search of better data connections with a new one. This was second only to “price” as a key reason for churning. In the UK, 43% of consumers who had switched operators cited “data quality/service” as a leading reason for having done so; again, this reason for leaving was cited as second only to price. Solutions focused solely on ABR select an appropriate bitrate for ABR delivery, enabling all of it to be paced at a mid-range level, thereby promising a smooth delivery for this type of traffic. With a combination of manifest manipulation and pacing – and an expensive, inflexible, network-installed inline appliance – they claim to deliver effective mobile video optimization on this type of traffic, and alas, on this type of traffic only. Operators who follow this pacing- and ABR-centric optimization model are presented with a dilemma. They can work to prioritize video streams (ABR or not) during periods of congestion, but when towers get too crowded, there will be a few users requesting high bitrate video, which will effectively starve the remaining 90% of users who are trying to browse text or images, or who are downloading files. Or the operator can instead de-prioritize video, on the theory that these are bandwidth-hogging users on the cell tower, who therefore deserve a lower quality of experience. In that case, the touted benefits of 3G and 4G networks for multimedia are compromised, as the user suffers through long load times, stuttering, buffering and stalling. At Skyfire, we believe it’s far smarter to adapt any kind of video to the available bandwidth ceiling in a manner that allows all users to share a limited sector fairly, and still have a seamless app or browsing experience. Non ABR ABR 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Video Volume over Mobile Networks
  • 4. Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types | 2014 Page 4 Keep in touch Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types Beyond video, the pacing approach unfairly requires the mobile operator to decide which data services are important to users, thereby deciding which services deserve the “fast lane”, as well as those that can be relegated to slow lane. Unfortunately, there are now 100,000+ websites and apps, growing in number every day, and it is impossible to predict which are important, are not important, nor will be important to users. There is an exceptionally high risk of getting that classification wrong for a large segment of data users, which needlessly introduces churn risk. A much smarter and more user-friendly way is to provide an across-the-board 60% boost to network capacity, as Skyfire does, so that there are more satisfied users on a given network infrastructure. As the saying goes, there’s no point in robbing Peter to pay Paul. Why Compression and Experience Assurance Works for Operators and their Customers Skyfire’s Rocket Optimizer targets the individual user facing congestion problems at a session level, without the need for an expensive RAN probes or inline appliance solution. Rocket Optimizer measures bandwidth conditions in real time for all subscriber sessions on a network, and detects when a user on a poor connection is trying to stream high-quality video that will likely result in a frustrating experience. This measurement automatically invokes Skyfire’s cloud-based Rocket Optimizer cluster to adapt that video to fit existing capacity - taking into account RF, backhaul and spectrum bottlenecks. The end result is an insurance policy that ensures better QoE for users on crowded towers, inside buildings or at the edge of cells, as well as a solution that can “rescue” users from frustrating stalls, long video start times, and other annoyances. Skyfire’s Rocket Optimizer does, in fact, use a full suite of pacing capabilities as a component of successful mobile video and multimedia optimization. Yet only in conjunction with full transcoding, real-time Experience Assurance and a suite of other robust optimization tools does some degree of pacing make sense as a solution. In order for an operator to even pace ABR correctly, it need to have the sort of intelligence about network conditions that is provided by Rocket Optimizer’s Experience Assurance component. This is best done in the same platform that provides optimization for non-ABR progressive download videos (as opposed to in the gateway, or via DPI – deep packet inspection). 10 10100101 00101001 0100 ..... ..... BEST-IN-CLASS PERFORMANCE FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE CLOUD ECONOMICS EXPERIENCE ASSURANCE SKYFIRE INSTANT OPTIMIZATION 60% BOOST IN BANDWIDTH CAPACITY BROADEST COVERAGE CLOUDCACHE™ FOR BETTER VIDEO DELIVERY CLOUD-BASED SCALABILITY CLOUDBURST™ ELASTIC CAPACITY ON DEMAND NO INLINE PROXY NEEDED CONGESTION-AWARE SUBSCRIBER-AWARE SESSION-AWARE MEASURES & QUANTIFIES REAL-TIME EXPERIENCE INSTANT OPTIMIZATION AS NEEDED
  • 5. Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types | 2014 Page 5 Keep in touch Best-in-Class Optimization For All Video Types Deployed by itself, we believe it is exceptionally ill-suited to the realities of mobile traffic in 2014. Moreover, ABR protocols are designed to use as much network resources as they can swallow, and leave no control for network operator. Skyfire’s Rocket Optimizer solution brings policy control back to the network operator to decide when to implement optimization to combat bandwidth-clogging video. Some vendors purport that RAN-level intelligence can make their fast lane/ slow lane decisioning more intelligent, and we agree that it certainly sounds attractive. Yet the reality is that intelligence is only useful if you can actually do something about the issues detected, most helpfully if they’re mitigated and addressed in real-time. If the tools being offered by the RAN QoS or “outside the SGSN” vendors are really just the same old-fashioned QoS prioritization and pacing at the packet level, rather than having true ability to reshape the content to fit the available bandwidth, the results will be incredibly disappointing to operators and their customers. By picking winners and losers with regard to types of data, pacing-centric solutions only address their defined “winners”, leaving all other traffic – the majority of mobile traffic - on the shelf. Skyfire’s Rocket Optimizer, on the other hand, optimizes the broadest range of video, audio and other data of any solution provider, and instantly creates new capacity for an operator, boosting it by 60% across smartphones, tablets and laptops on any cell tower. Our cloud-based solution offers immense flexibility, elastic capacity and a far lower total cost of ownership than inline appliances do – and we certainly optimize much more than ABR, and until ABR dominates all mobile video traffic, Skyfire will continue to surgically focus on optimizing all congestive traffic, not simply one discrete form of it. Rocket Optimizer is clearly best in class for progressive download and all forms of ABR. About Skyfire Skyfire, an Opera Software company, is dedicated to leveraging the power of cloud computing to radically improve the mobile Internet experience for both operators and their consumers. Skyfire and Opera's innovative, next-generation carrier cloud approach to mobile video and data optimization provides wireless operators with huge cost savings, elastic capacity, and the ability to surgically enhance quality of experience on a per-stream level. The company has also introduced the first mobile browser extension platform to enable robust contextual & social browsing, as well as enhanced monetization opportunities for operators. The company currently counts 4 of the largest mobile operators in the world as customers for its Rocket Optimizer™ and Skyfire Horizon™ solutions. Skyfire was founded in 2007, and is located in Mountain View, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley. We welcome customer inquiries at partners@skyfire.com Visit us at www.skyfire.com and www.operasoftware.com for more information. © 2014 Skyfire, Inc. All rights reserved. Skyfire, the Skyfire logo and other trademarks, service marks, and designs are registered or unregistered trademarks of Skyfire and its subsidiaries in the USA and in foreign countries. All other trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.