Adaptive Video Streaming for Wireless Networks With Multiple Users and Helpers

Adaptive Video Streaming for Wireless Networks With Multiple Users and Helpers We consider the design of a scheduling policy for video streaming in a wireless network formed by several users and helpers (e.g., base stations). In such networks, any user is typically in the range of multiple helpers. Hence, an efficient policy should allow the users to dynamically select the helper nodes to download from and determine adaptively the quality level of the requested video segment. In order to obtain a tractable formulation, we follow a “divide and conquer” approach. First, we formulate a network utility maximization (NUM) problem where the network utility function is a concave and component-wise nondecreasing function of the time-averaged users’ requested video quality index, and maximization is subject to the stability of all queues in the system. Second, we solve the NUM problem by using a Lyapunov drift plus penalty approach, obtaining a dynamic adaptive scheme that decomposes into two building blocks: 1) adaptive video quality and helper selection (run at the user nodes); and 2) dynamic allocation of the helper-to-user transmission rates (run at the help nodes). Our solution provably achieves NUM optimality in a strong per-sample path sense (i.e., without assumptions of stationarity and ergodicity). Third, we observe that, since all queues in the system are stable, all requested video chunks shall be eventually delivered. Fourth, in order to translate the requested videoquality into the effective video quality at the user playback, it is necessary that the chunks are delivered within their playback deadline. This requires that the largest delay among all queues at the helpers serving any given user is less than the pre-buffering time of that user at its streaming session startup phase. In order to achieve this condition with high probability, we propose an effective and decentralized (albeit heuristic) scheme to adaptively calculate the pre-buffering and re-buffering time at each user. In this way, the system is forced to wor- in the “smooth streaming regime,” i.e., in the regime of very small playback buffer underrun rate. Through simulations, we evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithm under realistic assumptions of a network with densely deployed helper and user nodes, including user mobility, variable bit-rate video coding, and users joining or leaving the system at arbitrary times.