January 28, 2013 - 5:31pm

Internet video -- better known as over-the-top (OTT) or adaptive bit rate streaming -- is quickly becoming the path of the future and will be the way the majority of TV content will be consumed. While OTT technology is fairly mature and has developed robust standards, the concept of monitoring is often an overlooked necessity. When developing an OTT network, it’s important to keep in mind that monitoring has equal importance to the network itself. Customer expectations are high and providing the highest quality content is paramount.

KEY VARIABLES OF A SUCCESSFUL OTT NETWORK

Everything starts with the URL. The URL acts as the address location of the content. It is a public facing address that points to the server where the content can be found. Verification of the URL is the first step in making sure your digital assets are available to the end user. If your URL is not mapping to your content, your customer is not going to be able to view your content. Once the health of the URL is verified, attention then moves to the Stream’s Manifest file.
The Manifest file provides the customer’s device with knowledge of the available stream profiles. To properly check the manifest file, the file must be parsed to determine that each profile is available and where to find each asset. After identifying the available profiles, the next step is to mimic customer devices and to download chunks from each available profile. Downloading chunks from the OTT content makes it possible to report critical metrics allowing the provider the ability to re-allocate bandwidth or change QoE metrics to meet the needs of their network – these metrics include:
• Defined stream bitrate
• Actual bitrate
• Download bps
• Downloaded chunk; size, length and age
• Encryption
• Size of the manifest
Profile health and performance metrics - depicting three currently “healthy streams” and one faulty stream coming from a live broadcast.
Deeper into the faulty stream - shows four different profiles reporting that the profiles’ manifest is outdated and multiple service interruptions have been experienced
 
IMPLEMENTING AN OTT/ADAPTIVE BIT RATE MONITORING SOLUTION 
When choosing a monitoring solution for your network, flexibility is critical. As each network is different and is subject to dynamic change, a “probe” based OTT solution provides a flexible architecture for almost all types of applications. Probes can be portable or part of dense rack mount chassis’. These probes can be placed near the origin point as well as at CDN locations (internal or external to the network) or anywhere the OTT asset can be consumed, including at the set-top-box and mobile device. For the best network insight and site-to-site comparison, each device should be capable of reporting its’ metrics to the central management server for comparison and analysis. This type of architecture provides the operator with the ability to place probes anywhere they want to have “eyes in the field” or advance notification to network congestion and profile problems.
 
 
OTT Solution
You can guarantee the availability and quality of your OTT assets. Whether you want to monitor one stream or thousands -- each probe is easily adaptable to most any network structure and supports:
• Monitoring of one stream to hundreds
• Virtually unlimited profiles
• HLS, Smooth Streaming, Adobe HDS and MPEG Dash
• Central management
• Probes for network management from Origin to client
• Flexible architecture
• Intuitive data
The VB12, VB12RF, VB120, VB20 and VB220 each have a 1Gb interface capable of monitoring up to 50 OTT streams. Each stream can have a virtually unlimited number of profiles. The VB330 is Sencore’s flagship 10Gbit probe and can monitor up to 500 streams with virtual profiles. Contact us to learn more info@sencore.com 

Internet video -- better known as over-the-top (OTT) or adaptive bit rate streaming -- is quickly becoming the path of the future and will be the way the majority of TV content will be consumed. While OTT technology is fairly mature and has developed robust standards, the concept of monitoring is often an overlooked necessity. When developing an OTT network, it’s important to keep in mind that monitoring has equal importance to the network itself. Customer expectations are high and providing the highest quality content is paramount.