Frequently asked questions about Peer-2-Peer

Here's a list of frequently asked questions about Peer-to-Peer technology, its applications, and the use case for your company.

StriveCast's P2P CDN Technology

Use Case

StriveCast product-specific questions

What benefits do you promise?

By integrating connected devices into your video delivery process, StriveCast can help you to reduce up to 90% of your live video CDN cost at peak times and 70% on average. The StriveCast client SDK turns every data consumer into a data provider. Thus, users who watch the same content at the same time can share this content and offload your server infrastructure. By providing multiple data sources for each viewer, StriveCast also shortens the distance between your users and your content. The shortened distance improves the average bitrate and reduces rebuffering on the client-side.

How does your technology work?

A broadcaster has to install a small piece of software (the “StriveCast SDK”) on their website or native streaming app to make use of StriveCast's P2P technology. When users consume live video traffic through this application, the StriveCast SDK will connect to our backend servers and transmit information about the user (location and bandwidth statistics). Based on this information, our backend servers calculate which users could help with the distribution of content. The servers then instruct the StriveCast SDK to connect with other end devices via WebRTC directly. Now, these users start sharing their content, offloading the broadcaster's CDN infrastructure.

Do I have to change anything in my video streaming infrastructure?

Almost no. StriveCast requires a piece of software to be installed in your web or native application (the "StriveCast Client SDK"). Integrating the StriveCast Client SDK is very easy and requires only a small number of steps. Furthermore, the StriveCast Client SDK will not interfere with any existing software like your video player, ad service, DRM protection, or analytics software. You can integrate the Client SDK in your application without touching any pre-installed software.

After a successful Client SDK integration, users will still connect to your CDN infrastructure. However, the data requested will be much less than before, as users will share content within their cluster. The traffic reduction is achieved by so-called HTTP range requests. Range requests enable clients to request only a fraction of a file (for example the first half of an existing video segment). There might be some minor additional configuration to be done on the CDN side to support range requests. For a detailed description of how to configure your CDN correctly, check out our list of supported software and services.

How many viewers do I need until StriveCast OTT works?

StriveCast connects up to 10 end devices with each other to form a cluster in which data can be shared. From a CDN perspective, each cluster behaves like a single user.

A cluster of 4 devices can take care of 3/4 (75%) of required bandwidth; 5 devices can save 4/5 (80%). In the best-case scenario, a cluster contains ten devices, saving 9/10 (90%) of the required bandwidth on the CDN side.

strivecast_clusters

As more and more users consume data, more and more clusters emerge. The resulting total saving ratio is equal to the average of all clusters' saving ratio. One of StriveCast's main components is a collection of algorithms that decide how to cluster end devices to achieve the highest saving ratio possible.

strivecast_multiple_clusters

While the final result always depends on a lot of external factors like geographical density, network capacity, and session length of devices, we typically see the following results:

Devices Savings
<10 (Lab Test) 50% - 90%
<50 ~65%

<500
~75%
<5,000 ~80%
50,000+ ~85%

 

Do you add additional latency to my stream, or are there other potential problems?

No, StriveCast does not add additional latency to your stream. However, low latency environments can cause a drop in saving ratio when using StriveCast. We recommend the following setup for your HLS / Dash streaming playlist:

Segment length: at least 2 seconds

Playlist length: at least 4 segments

What if viewers do not have enough uplink bandwidth?

StriveCast comes with an intelligent fallback system. Each end device keeps an open connection to the original content source (the CDN). The StriveCast Client SDK measures local bandwidth capacities and decides in real-time whether or not to use a WebRTC connection for content delivery. That means if viewers do not have enough bandwidth capacities to share content, they simply won't.

With this approach, StriveCast guarantees the optimal ratio between regular CDN traffic and WebRTC traffic between users. Furthermore, as StriveCast adapts to bandwidth changes in real-time, the network will always converge to this optimal state.

Can I test your software?

After your platform account has been set up, you are ready to use StriveCast in a sandbox-environment without additional payment data or any other commitment. We do not limit trial phases. Therefore, you will have to get in contact with us if you want to go from trial mode to production mode.

By default, each platform account is hosted inside our test cloud environment. This infrastructure provides you with all the available features of StriveCast. However, the available resources (CPU, RAM, processing time, concurrent users) are limited. While this setup works great for demonstration and testing purposes, it will not hold up to the requirements of a large scale production environment.

Whenever you feel comfortable enough to move from trial to production mode, contact us via email or give us a call. We are happy to provide you with an in-depth offer that perfectly fits your requirements.

I only want to test your technology for a percentage of my audience. Is this possible?

Yes. You can configure your swarms so that they become active based on a set of rules (random, client device information, geoinformation).

How can I verify that my infrastructure works with StriveCast?

You can check out the StriveCast integration article, for all necessary integration steps. Steps 1 - 4 cover the verification of your infrastructure configuration. If you pass step 4, you are ready to integrate the StriveCast Client SDK into your web or native application.

How can I verify the benefits of StriveCast during a live stream?

You can either do a lab test with our partner's demo page or, after completing the StriveCast integration guide, you can check the reporting guide to get a better understanding of the data collected by the StriveCast Client SDK.

I have multiple apps, streams, CDNs, and platforms. Can StriveCast work with all of them?

Yes. StriveCast's swarm & configuration concept allows optimizing multiple streams and applications in a multi-CDN environment.

Isn't this P2P technology?

Yes and no. StriveCast OTT is a new generation of peer to peer network software. The main difference lies in the control and communication of the system. Older technologies like BitTorrent come with a decentralized approach.

strivecast_client_vs_server_management

Client-side-managed networks offer stronger decentralization and the prevention of shutting down the entire network. On the other hand, server-side-managed networks trade this feature for higher network control, less overhead inside the network, and more security.

The following table shows the pros and cons of both sides from the perspective of a live broadcasting company. The evaluation of both sides features assumes that the broadcaster wants to optimize video streaming infrastructure for large scale OTT and enterprise video streaming events.

 

Client-Side-Managed P2P Networks Server-Side-Managed P2P Networks
Highly decentralized (no central component available) Central management component with control of the entire Peer-To-Peer network
❌ No control over the network.

Once users have connected, the entire network management is up to their peers.
✅ Fully controllable network.

Peers act according to the server's instructions. Since the server has information about every single peer, network management can be done based on complete information.
❌ Inefficient communication.

As there is no central management unit, peers have to manage their network topology by themselves. Managing a network only on a peer-base often includes long delays due to pings and health checks within a peer-to-peer network.
✅ Optimal network management.

As a management server has a full overview of the entire P2P network, along with geo and bandwidth information of each peer, network management becomes very easy. The server can send "connect" and "disconnect" events to shape the peer-to-peer network in the most efficient way.
❌ Insecure data exchange.

Without a central point of trust, peers are unable to detect if the content from other peers is compromised or not, causing a big security breach.
✅ Full security via signatures.

A peer-to-peer management server sends instructions to each peer whose data should be shared and received. Thus, the server knows what content each peer should receive. Thus, the server can add hash values to each peer's received command. If the peer receives content that doesn't match the server's hash, it can report the peer and re-fetch the compromised data from the fallback CDN.

 

While the final result always depends on a lot of external factors like geographical density, network capacity, and session length of devices, we typically see the following results:

Devices Savings
<10 50% - 90%
<50 ~65%
<500 ~75%
<5,000 ~80%
50,000+ ~85%

Where do you host your technology?

StriveCast is hosted in the Google Cloud Platform (GCE), Amazon Webservices (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. However, for large scale projects, StriveCast can run on-premise within any containerized environment.

Does your technology work with Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

Yes, StriveCast is 100% DRM compatible and does not interfere with the security layers added by a DRM system. Additionally, all information that is exchanged between end devices or between end devices and our servers is 100% protected and TLS encrypted.

strivecast_drmStriveCast works in a network layer to optimize the way segments are distributed between end devices. While doing this, all segments remain decrypted. As each segment is encrypted the same way for each user, there is no problem in exchanging those segments. Once a segment reaches an end device, the DRM service, that runs in a local application layer starts decrypting the segment.

Which streaming servers, CDNs, and protocols do you support?

StriveCast is a highly adaptable software that generally adapts to every server infrastructure, CDN, protocols, or players. If you want to make sure StriveCast supports your setup, you can check out our list of supported software and services for StriveCast.

How can I use your technology?

The easiest way to get started with StriveCast's services is to follow the registration and login process, followed by the Integration Guide.

What is your business model?

StriveCast offers a daily, monthly, or yearly license model. Along with service and set-up fees (if applicable), your license is priced based on the number of concurrent users in your network. Based on this number, we calculate a fixed license fee for your license period (day, month, year).

If you exceed the number of concurrent users, overage fees might apply.

Please note: Your license will never be priced based on traffic. Once you agree to a certain number of maximum concurrent users, you can generate an arbitrary amount of traffic with these users - pricing will not change.