Internet live streaming has been growing quickly and fulfilling people’s entertainment needs in the last decade. With users’ standards getting higher and higher, whether it is live streaming of sports events or user-generated streams, viewers demand high video resolution, low latency, and no freezing. Stream quality could significantly impact user retention and monetization. Outside of the entertainment sector, live streaming technologies are being put to use in many aspects. Enterprises use webinars for training and marketing purposes; hospitals use video diagnostics to treat patients living across the world; and online learning companies bring top class education resources to underprivileged kids. All of those products need to be supported by a strong infrastructure to deliver their value. Companies doing live streams often struggle to meet the following standards:
- Deliver live streaming content to a large amount of audience with different internet conditions and satisfy viewer experience across multiple screens and devices.
- Fulfill user requests on a large scale smoothly and with stability
- Guarantee the security of the streaming content against unauthorized access
Especially in China, the complex network environment makes quality live streaming even more difficult. The best bet is to get on a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that can help with the stability and the security of the streams.
Getting the Live Streaming Content
To get the live streaming content to ChinaCache CDN upper servers (located near customer origins, which will pass the content to our middle servers and then edge servers, before delivering the content to end users), we provide two methods – pull and push. The pull method is best for customers whose live feed origin is within Mainland China. When the pull method is in use, ChinaCache actively requests the content from origins and “pull” it to our upper servers. This method allows ChinaCache to calculate the best route to go to origin, increasing data transmission efficiency and improving live streaming performance. The push method, on the other hand, requires the customers to “push” the stream from an ingest point to ChinaCache upper servers. It is best for customers with origins outside of Mainland China.
Back-to-origin routing optimization
When end users click on the live stream link, the requests will be sent to CDN edge servers closest to them. ChinaCache’s intelligent CDN network will then calculate the best route to go back to the origin to take the live streams. If the network performance is not satisfactory, ChinaCache will deploy private lines, depending on the location of the origin, to improve the data transmission efficiency.
With the mobile device market growing bigger, viewers of live streams can access the content from any device, and each type of device may only support one kind of live stream format. Since what devices end users will use is unpredictable, companies need to make their streams compatible with all devices. Transmuxing is a process that changes the format of a video while preserving all of the content from the original stream. ChinaCache’s live streaming platform offers transmuxing service which outputs live streams in all major protocols, including HLS, RTMP, MPEG-DASH, and HTTP-FLV, and HTTP-TS.
Not all end users have the internet speed to view the highest resolution streams sent their way. For them still being able to enjoy the stream, customers can either send us streams with various bit rates, or we can perform variable bit rate step-down using the highest resolution stream.
Unauthorized users accessing the live streams not only put extra financial burden on the companies initiating the streams but also creates security risks. To mitigate the risk of illegal user access, ChinaCache offers customizable token authentication methods to validate user requests. Click here to learn more about our hotlinking prevention and user authentication strategy.
If you are interested in trying out the live streaming acceleration solution or have any questions, click here to be connected with one of our experts.