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Hybrid Multicast-Unicast Streaming over Mobile Networks

Since the introduction of touch screen and smart phones, the load on wireless networks has dramatically increased. A large portion of this traffic load is due to the increased consumption of mobile video. This trend of consuming more videos on mobile devices is expected to continue and accelerate in the coming few years. This creates a challenge for wireless network operators, because of the limited wireless bandwidth of their networks and the substantial bandwidth requirements for each video session. Thus, some wireless network operators are starting to limit the amount of data that mobile subscribers can consume in order to reduce the load on their networks.

We propose a new method of streaming videos to large-scale subscriber base in a bandwidth and energy efficient manner. Our method uses:

(i) burst transmission of videos to reduce energy consumption of mobile devices,

(ii) unicast streaming to serve on-demand requests of videos to individual subscribers,

(iii) multicast streaming to serve (concurrent) requests of the same videos by many subscribers. Concurrent requests such as news and sports events are supposed to be delivered synchronously (all subscribers receive the same data at the same time).

(iv) hybrid of unicast and multicast to serve on-demand requests of popular streams. These requests come asynchronously, i.e., subscribers request to watch a popular video clip at different times. The idea is to group requests that come in close time in a multicast session. Some requests may come slightly after the multicast session starts. We create a temporary unicast session for that new session. This unicast session is used to make the new session catch up with the multicast session. That is, the mobile subscriber opens two connections: one unicast and multicast.



  • Cheng-Hsin Hsu (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan)
  • Ahmad AbdAllah Hassan (Taibah University, Saudi Arabia)
  • Saleh Almowuena (PhD student)
  • Md. Mahfuzur Rahman (MSc student)


  • M. Rahman, A. Hasib, C. Hsu, and M. Hefeeda, Hybrid Multicast-Unicast Streaming over Mobile Networks, In Proc. of IFIP Networking (Networking’14) Conference, Trondheim, Norway, June 2014. (Acceptance: 25%)

On-going Research Problems

  • Supporting Single Frequency Networks
  • Building an LTE Testbed

Software and Data

  • Stand-alone Implementation of our Algorithms (SCG, SCOPT, SFNG). In order to use the stand-alone version of the code, one should customize the inputs in acceptable format of the code so that it can be passed to the code without any errors. Further details can be found in the Documentation.

References and Links