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Application Flow Control in YouTube Video Streams




This paper presents the results of an investigation into the application flow
control technique utilised by YouTube. We reveal and describe the basic
properties of YouTube application flow control, which we term block
sending, and show that it is widely used by YouTube servers. We also
examine how the block sending algorithm interacts with the flow control
provided by TCP and reveal that the block sending approach was responsible for
over 40% of packet loss events in YouTube flows in a residential DSL dataset
and the retransmission of over 1% of all YouTube data sent after the
application flow control began. We conclude by suggesting that changing
YouTube block sending to be less bursty would improve the performance and
reduce the bandwidth usage of YouTube video streams.

Shane Alcock
Richard Nelson
youtube_ccr.pdf1.72 MB