We consider the distribution of channels of live multimedia content (e.g., radio or TV broadcasts) via multiple content aggregators. In our work, an aggregator receives channels from content sources and redistributes them to a potentially large number of mobile hosts. Each aggregator can offer a channel in various configurations to cater for different wireless links, mobile hosts, and user preferences. As a result, a mobile host can generally choose from different configurations of the same channel offered by multiple alternative aggregators, which may be available through different interfaces (e.g., in a hotspot). A mobile host may need to handoff to another aggregator once it receives a channel. To prevent service disruption, a mobile host may for instance need to handoff to another aggregator when it leaves the subnets that make up its current aggregator’s service area (e.g., a hotspot or a cellular network). In this paper, we present the design of a system that enables (multi-homed) mobile hosts to seamlessly handoff from one aggregator to another so that they can continue to receive a channel wherever they go. We concentrate on handoffs between aggregators as a result of a mobile host crossing a subnet boundary. As part of the system, we discuss a lightweight application-level protocol that enables mobile hosts to select the aggregator that provides the ‘best’ configuration of a channel. The protocol comes into play when a mobile host begins to receive a channel and when it crosses a subnet boundary while receiving the channel. We show how our protocol can be implemented using the standard IETF session control and description protocols SIP and SDP. The implementation combines SIP and SDP’s offer-answer model in a novel way.
- Multimedia content distribution - wireless networking - mobility