Home media servers, AUPs, and upstream bandwidth utilization.
rdobbins at cisco.com
Mon Dec 25 00:24:26 UTC 2006
I recently purchased a Slingbox Pro, and have set it up so that I can
remotely access/control my home HDTV DVR and stream video remotely.
My broadband access SP specifically allow home users to run servers,
as long as said servers don't cause a problem for the SP
infrastructure nor for other users or doing anything illegal; as long
as I'm not breaking the law or making problems for others, they don't
The Slingbox is pretty cool; when I access it, both the video and
audio quality are more than acceptable. It even works well when I
access it via EVDO; on average, I'm pulling down about 450kb/sec up
to about 580kb/sec over TCP (my home upstream link is a theoretical
768kb/sec, minus overhead; I generally get something pretty close to
What I'm wondering is, do broadband SPs believe that this kind of
system will become common enough to make a signficant difference in
traffic paterns, and if so, how do they believe it will affect their
access infrastructures in terms of capacity, given the typical
asymmetries seen in upstream vs. downstream capacity in many
broadband access networks? If a user isn't doing something like
breaking the law by illegally redistributing copyrighted content, is
this sort of activity permitted by your AUPs? If so, would you
change your AUPs if you saw a significant shift towards non-
infringing upstream content streaming by your broadband access
customers? If not, would you consider changing your AUPs in order to
allow this sort of upstream content streaming of non-infringing
content, with the caveat that users can't caused problems for your
infrastructure or for other users, and perhaps with a bandwidth cap?
Would you police down this traffic if you could readily classify it,
as many SPs do with P2P applications? Would the fact that this type
of traffic doesn't appear to be illegal or infringing in any way lead
you to treat it differently than P2P traffic (even though there are
many legitimate uses for P2P file-sharing systems, the presumption
always seems to be that the majority of P2P traffic is in illegally-
redistributed copyrighted content, and thus P2P technologies seem
to've acquired a taint of distaste from many quarters, rightly or
Also, have you considered running a service like this yourselves, a
Vidoeconferencing is somewhat analogous, but in most cases,
videoconference calls (things like iChat, Skype videoconferencing,
etc.) generally seem to use a less bandwidth than the Slingox, and it
seems to me that they will in most cases be of shorter duration than,
say, a business traveler who wants to keep up with Lost or 24 and so
sits down to stream video from his home A/V system for 45 minutes to
an hour at a stretch.
Sorry to ramble, this neat little toy just sparked a few questions,
and I figured that some of you are dealing with these kinds of issues
already, or are anticipating doing so in the not-so-distant future.
Any insight or informed speculation greatly appreciated!
Roland Dobbins <rdobbins at cisco.com> // 408.527.6376 voice
All battles are perpetual.
-- Milton Friedman
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