Streaming video from a remote location to a main office, or directly to a video server or CDN (Content Delivery Network), is now possible with the recent advancements in video streaming technology. Bringing the complete robust solution together, however, can require some research. Let’s start with the basics.
Your video source, i.e. your camera, would normally provide raw video from its output port. This can be one of the legacy analog outputs (such as S-Video, composite, or component), or some of the newer digital outputs (such as HDMI, SD-SDI, HD-SDI or 3G-SDI). The raw video out of your camera is not compressed and therefore is too large to push through any of the Internet connectivity options available today. However, video encoding technologies, such as h.264, has been successful in compressing raw video into much smaller digitized video packets without losing much of the video quality. Once the video is encoded, you can inject the video into a video server (such as Flash Media Server, Windows Media Server, Wowza, etc.) that can ingest the encoded video IP stream and then can push it or it can be pulled by viewers, over the Internet. Usually the browser, or a video player application, then will take the encoded video and decode it to display on the user’s screen. So in summary, the flowchart of IP video streaming traverses the following components: camera, IP encoder, transfer over the Internet, Video Server / CDN, end-user decoder.
If you have a fast enough Internet connection that transmits the encoded video to the CDN, you are all set to stream live. For the components from the video camera into the video server, you have various options, namely:
– Using a software-based encoder on a laptop. You can use various free or paid software applications to accomplish the encoding into the video format you choose. Some examples are, Flash Live Video Encoder, Windows Video Encoder, Wirecast, and various other similar encoders. We recommend the highly efficient H.264 codec or H.265 codec.
– Using a dedicated hardware based encoder. There are various devices that you can connect your camera to, encode your video, and to stream into a CDN. As examples, Tricaster, Touchstream (now part of Imagine Communications) and others.
For Internet connectivity, ideally you want to use a wired and dedicated Internet connection. Any unmanaged line can introduce latency, jitter and loss that can adversely affect your video stream. Ideally you should use a Broadband Bonded set of Internet lines to make sure you have the reliability and jitter mitigation built into your live video streaming solution.
We recommend Portabella, Streamer PRO or Teleporter type devices. Such devices can provide you bonded 3G/4G LTE/5G for optimal video streaming connectivity, or some solutions can go even further to integrate the video encoder into the system (i.e. Teleporter) so that the video encoding is also adapting to the bonded Internet connection. Video streaming over bonded 3G, 4G and 5G wireless can be very reliable and high quality, as long as the fluctuations, outages, and jitter are managed intelligently by the broadband bonding appliance.
In terms of video servers / CDNs, you can use an ad-supported CDN (such as Livestream, Ustream, Twitch, etc.) or you can use a white-label/paid CDN such as Akamai, StreamGuys, Limelight, DaCast, etc. Most of these CDNs will be compatible with the video streaming standards being used today.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.