Network Optimization for B2B Streaming Using Signiant
Do Signiant Products Support Streaming?
Yes: Signiant’s proven network optimization technology speeds up file or stream transfers over public and private networks. Capable of multi-Gbps transfer rates, Signiant products are orders of magnitude faster than standard methods (such as FTP). Our patented technology effectivity eliminates the impact of latency and jitter to achieve maximum network utilization.
Historically, Signiant has been used to move files but now this same technology is available for streaming. Some organizations need to move both files and streams as part of their workflows and Signiant can do both.
The Difference Between a File and a Stream
A common question we hear at Signiant is “What’s the difference between files and streams?” It’s really about content stored on persistent vs non-persistent storage. Keeping it simple, a file is data that is stored on persistent storage e.g. a hard disk or solid-state drive. For example, an attachment in an email is a file and it can be stored on persistent storage. However with streaming, a system receives portions of data at a time cached on non-persistent storage. Watching Netflix is an example of streaming, the data on the receiving end is never stored on a drive.
B2B Streaming Use Cases: Contribution vs. Distribution
Two simple consumer examples were used above to highlight the difference between files and streams. It’s important to note that files can originate as streams and streams can originate as files, a difference that is referenced in the two B2B use cases below.
Streaming Contribution for Live Events (Stream to File)
Live events are increasingly going the way of REMI (REMote Integration) or what some would call “At Home” Production. This requires support for broadcast quality mezzanine content to be streamed live from the venue to a centralized production facility.
The robustness of the network is very important to delivering high quality content. Traditionally, dedicated networks engineered specifically for video were used, but they can be very expensive. With advancements in commodity infrastructure and cloud technology, the use of the public Internet is now a reality.
As illustrated in Figure 1, installing Signiant in the streaming path from the venue to the production location can provide a secure “engineered network experience” over the public Internet without the cost of a dedicated network. Signiant’s patented network optimization software eliminates the impact of network jitter, latency and loss and supports a more consistent bit rate. A more consistent bit rate enables the Encoder(s) to operate at a much higher bit rate – delivering the highest quality end-to-end stream ultimately benefiting the consumer. Streaming over IP networks traditionally equated to lower quality, by using Signiant in the path this is no longer true.
For additional detail on Signiant’s support for REMI read Producing Live Streaming Coverage of Remote Events: A Cloud-Based Approach.
Streaming Distribution (File to Stream)
It’s very common for Signiant clients to use file-based transfers for delivering content to media ecosystem partners for localization, dailies etc. However, some organizations have workflows which deliver content as a stream as illustrated in Figure 2. This could be for a variety of reasons often when specialized applications which require a unique stream. This is common for security or efficiency reasons. For example, the ability to watermark each stream as it is sent and not incur the delay of waiting for the entire file. It’s also much harder to pirate streaming content because the “bits coming across the wire” are not stored on persistent storage (disks or solid-state drive) providing an extra level of security.
Signiant product portfolio can optimize any IP network including the public Internet for both files and/or streams, supporting many of the workflows in the industry. Signiant streaming supports any HTTP(S) streaming protocol to include HLS, HDS and MPEG-DASH. To discuss your specific workflow, contact Signiant.