Sunday, November 14, 2010

Streaming Modes

Now you can select which of the three streaming modes to send your video & audio to others.  When you switch mode, the receiving side automatically follows you.  Note: the owner (publisher) of the webcam controls the streaming mode.  So while you elected to send your video via P2P, you may be receiving video from someone who is sending their video via the Server, P2P-Assist, or just P2P.  In other words, sending and receiving modes are independent of each other.

P2P Assist mode requires user confirmation in a dialog box.  This is because in this mode, you allow the software to receive video streams, AND possibly forward those streams to others that are interested in them as well.  Of course, it also means you may be the recipient of streams forwarded from another receiver, instead of from the sender directly.  Basically, the software determines what is the optimal path to send to each receiver, given it has access to each receiver's uplink bandwidth.

NOTE:  if you choose DENY in the dialog box, you will not be able to send or receive any stream via P2P Assist for the entire session.  The dialog box only appeared once per session.  To get the dialog box back, you must RESTART the session, and sign on again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New feature: Peer-2-Peer (P2P) Streaming

This new version now supports both Client/Server and Peer-2-Peer (P2P) topologies.  You can mix and match them.  That is, user A, who has limited uplink bandwidth, can choose to send his webcam video to the Server, which will distribute it to user B and user C.  Meanwhile, user B, with unlimited uplink bandwidth, can choose to send his webcam video directly to user A and user C (using P2P), bypassing the Server.  In this case, user B doubles his uplink bandwidth usage, but his stream gets to user A and user C faster.

If you are in a 2-party conversation, P2P is the best option, because it will be faster and your bandwidth usage is the same as Client/Server mode.  If there are more than 2, you would need to consider your uplink bandwidth before choosing P2P.

The third option, Peer-Assisted Streaming, is currently in the works.  This mode allows user A to send his webcam video stream directly to user B, who has unlimited uplink bandwidth, would forward user A's video stream to user C.  The Server is not used, and user A didn't double his uplink bandwidth usage.