Experiments in Best-Effort Multimedia Networking for a Distributed Virtual Environment

T. Hudson, M.C. Weigle, K. Jeffay, and R.M. Taylor II
Proceedings, Multimedia Computing and Networking 2001
SPIE Proceedings Series, Volume 4312
San Jose, CA, January 2001
pp. 88-98.

ABSTRACT: Until there is greater consensus on proposals for realizing better-than-best-effort services on the Internet, developers of multimedia and distributed virtual environment applications must rely on best-effort media adaptations to ameliorate the effects of network congestion. We present the results of a study on the use of adaptations originally developed for audio and video applications for the data-flows generated by the UNC nanoManipulator. The nanoManipulator is a virtual environment interface to a scanned-probe microscope that has been used by scientists as a tool for basic research in the material and biological sciences. We are building a distributed version of the system for operation over the Internet and are investigating media adaptations for realizing application performance requirements. The results of early experiments with audio and video-centric media adaptations applied to the flows generated by a microscope and a haptic force feedback device are promising. A simple forward error correction scheme provides good recovery from packet loss and an elastic display-queue management scheme limits the impact of delay-jitter and results in more continuous playout of media samples. These preliminary results provide evidence that a sophisticated virtual environment interface can operate over modest distances over the Internet to control a remote microscope in real-time.

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