Multicast File Distribution Overview

Topics related primarily to multicast file distribution on satellite and other IPMC-enabled networks.

Multicast File Distribution Overview

Postby Cilutions Support » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:51 am

For customers that are running on multicast enabled networks, or hybrid networks supporting both multicast and unicast destination platforms, Cilutions offers a content and video distribution set of software products useful for transmitting files and video streams from a sending machine to multiple IP-based multicast and unicast receiving machines. Detailed user information is available in the Content Delivery section here:

These content distribution software products include a robust set of features which not only guarantee reliable delivery of files but also, just as importantly, lets a user establish operation profiles which manage file delivery bandwidth usage in an enterprise network.

Features include:

Multi-Customer Operation

An administrator can configure two or more customers on a sending platform, each with its own login credentials and controls.

Transmission Channels

Each Sender can be configured to support up to 10 transmission channels each with its own transmission attributes (e.g., guaranteed minimum bandwidth). A channel is typically assigned to a customer (i.e., a content class) in a group of customers using the same Sender platform for content distribution in a network.


Each Sender can be configured to support up to 20 sub-channels each capable of transmitting a single file. This is useful, as an example, for transmitting multiple files simultaneously to multiple sets of Receivers if the aggregate transmission rate of all the files is less than the total amount of bandwidth available at the Sender.

Retransmit Channels

The Sender supports off loading any and all retransmission traffic from a primary channel (that is, a channel carrying the initial transmission of a package) onto a retransmission channel. In this way an administrator can offer a dedicated channel for primary delivery of files and guarantee the initial transmission schedule time of any and all deliveries on this channel.

Any retransmission, caused either by a poorly performing receiver or packet loss in the network, can be redirected to another channel for service.

Retransmit Priority Adjustment

The Sender supports the automatic adjustment of the priority of a package to be either lower or higher than its registered priority. This lets an administrator create a channel of traffic where, for example, any retransmissions should take precedence over initial transmissions if it is determined that older content in the system has a higher priority than newly registered content; and vice versa.

Intelligent Retransmission

The Sender and Receiver platforms coordinate any retransmission requests so only missing content is retransmitted to complete a file transfer. In addition, the Sender advertises any pending retransmission to the network so those receivers needing retransmission will refrain from making requests thereby suppressing unnecessary return traffic from Receivers back to the Sender.

Unicast Channels

The Sender also supports redirecting content to dedicated Unicast channels thereby permitting content distribution to both multicast (e.g., satellite-based) and unicast (e.g., DSL-based) receivers simultaneously and directing transmissions to the appropriate channel (i.e., network path) automatically for each. Here the Sender administrator simply configures receivers as either multicast or unicast accessible and the Sender routes to the multicast or unicast channel when transmitting.

Variable Transmission Rates and Time-of-Day Bandwith

With time-of-day scheduling the administrator can configure the Sender to dynamically modify the bandwidth available on each channel. That is, the bandwidth is no longer fixed. The transmission rate can change automatically while the file is in progress. In addition, the bandwidth schedule can be set either ahead of time, say, according to a regular weekly or monthly frequency or set on-demand in response to an unplanned bandwidth requirement (e.g., the immediate need to send a high priority package without impacting the current package transmissions). With this feature the Sender lets an administrator set a profile for each customer to control how much bandwidth is available at any minute over the week, month or year.

Opportunistic Bandwidth Allocation

The Sender administrator can configure external bandwidth monitoring. If enabled, the Sender will perform periodic SNMP polling of an external device (e.g., a switch) to determine the real-time rate of all traffic on a shared multicast/unicast uplink (e.g., a transponder).

If the aggregate real-time rate of all traffic is below the configured maximum rate of the uplink then the Sender will take the bandwidth opportunity to increase its package transmissions thereby making use of the available bandwidth. The Sender will also automatically scale back package transmissions if the bandwidth becomes unavailable.

Bandwidth Sharing Pools

A Sender administrator can configure one or more bandwidth pools intended to be shared among multiple customers. With bandwidth pools multiple package delivery customers on a single Sender can each be guaranteed a minimum transmission bandwidth. In addition, each customer will automatically scale up and allocate bandwidth that is unused by other customers in the same pool. The minimum guaranteed rate for each customer and the maximum aggregate rate for each pool are settable by time-of-day.

Data Compression

Our content distribution products include support for optional, built-in, lossless real-time compression of file payloads (especially useful when transmitting data files) where the payload is compressed on the sender, during packet transmission, and decompressed on the receiver in real-time. So there are no delays during the delivery process and files arrive at the receiver immediately and intact. The compression algorithm in this case is built into the sender and receiver and is transparent to the user.

Package Delivery also support compression add-ons implemented as automatic pre-processing at the sender and post-processing at the receiver. In this method the sender administrator can designate any command line utility to execute on a file scheduled for transmission. This utility, independent of package delivery, can perform any pre-processing suitable to the customer application (e.g., compression) before the sender transmits the file. The receiver, in like manner, launches an automatic post-processing utility to execute as a command line program on the receiver before delivering the file to its ultimate destination. This method offers the most flexibility by letting a user or administrator select the optimum compression tool for the content being transmitted and configuring the sender and receiver to use it automatically, without any special work-flow demands placed on the user after initial set-up.
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