Empirical evaluation of H.264/SVC streaming in resource-constrained multihomed mobile networks

James Nightingale, Qi Wang, Christos Grecos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Nomadic users of streamed multimedia content in mobile networks are often faced with resource-constrained network paths that suffer from low bandwidth. Streaming high-quality video in such a challenging scenario demands a set of highly adaptive schemes, which have not been sufficiently explored in particular for the emerging H.264 Scalable Video Coding (H.264/SVC) standard. In this paper, we empirically investigate the performance of streaming H.264/SVC scalable video streams to users in multihomed mobile networks containing multiple available transmission paths. Previous work has demonstrated the feasibility of aggregating bandwidth of multiple paths to deliver video streams when no single, sufficiently high bandwidth path is available. We focus on evaluating the enhanced performance of multipath bandwidth-aggregation streaming by exploiting a quality-layers based, H.264/SVC-specific packet prioritisation scheme for quality-aware multipath packet scheduling and selective packet dropping in case of bandwidth shortage even after aggregation. Additionally, we explore a base-layer rate control scheme for H.264/SVC delivery in ultra-low bandwidth environments. Through extensive experimentation on a realistic hardware-based testbed, we obtain a comprehensive and insightful understanding of the behaviour of H.264/SVC streams when transmitted across multiple paths in mobile networks. We quantify the improvements offered by the use of H.264/SVC-specific packet prioritisation schemes compared with an existing generic scalable video prioritisation scheme, and the benefits by the use of base-layer rate control in ultra-low bandwidth situations. The performance of the multipath streaming schemes is further compared with that of an ideal single high bandwidth path. We also identify the remaining challenges that must be overcome if such streaming schemes are to offer performance close to that of the ideal single high bandwidth path.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2011-2035
Number of pages25
JournalMultimedia Tools and Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2014


  • H.264/SVC
  • scalable video streaming
  • mobile networks
  • multihoming
  • mobile multimedia
  • performance evaluation


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