Aiming to bring to live video streaming the bandwidth-saving benefits it has historically brought to Internet-delivered on-demand content, Qwilt has introduced a software upgrade for its transparent caching system that helps MSOs and other network operators keep bandwidth in check when shuttling in both managed- and unmanaged live video streams.
The new feature, called Qwilt Live Stream Cache, hooks into the vendor’s flagship product, the QB-Series Video Fabric Controller. As designed, those caches monitor video traffic on operator networks, identify popular and trending video titles, and store them at the edge of the operator's network. The aim is to produce a higher-quality stream, reduce buffering and dropped sessions while also helping carriers reduce online video transport costs.
The system is “transparent” in the sense that it can monitor the streams of a wide range of sources, including Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube, and is generally viewed as an alternative to single-purpose edge caches being pitched to ISPs by Netflix, Google and other OTT video players.
Qwilt’s original product supported on-demand transparent caching, but claims it has solved the harder problem of monitoring and caching live video streams, a category that includes this Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, NBCUniversal’s coming, widespread live streaming coverage of the Sochi Games, TV Everywhere apps such as Watch ESPN, and Twitch, a popular service that lets consumers broadcast their live video gaming sessions over the Internet.
Qwilt said it has its live caching system has been modified to handle adaptive bit rate streams that slice and dice video feeds into small chunks at a variety of bit rates and resolutions. While the full files of on-demand titles can stored on disks at the edge, the real-time nature of live streams require that they are held and managed within the memory of the transparent cache.
To enable that, Qwilt has developed FastCache, a dedicated control and storage path optimized for the rapid delivery of live streams. The live stream cache, meanwhile, tries to relieve the bandwidth strain on the network by creating a local, live video transmission point in a given neighborhood that can then shuttle streams to nearby customers.
Qwilt, which has raised about $40 million and counts PeerApp among its competitors, claims to have more than 40 deployments and trials underway around the world. Mediacom Communications is Qwilt's sole announced U.S. MSO customer.