MIT experts find a way to reduce video stream buffering on busy WiFi
Now a team from MIT have come up with a tool to help multiple people share a limited WiFi connection. The group from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed the Minerva system which analyzes videos before playing them to check how much they would be impacted by being played at a lower quality.
Traditional protocols for WiFi sharing simply split the available bandwidth by the number of users. So if you’re trying to watch an HD sports match on your TV and one of your kids is trying to watch a cartoon on their smartphone, you’ll each be allocated half the available bandwidth. That’s fine for your kid but terrible for you, as fast-moving videos like sports events suffer more from low bandwidth than other types of videos like cartoons.
Minerva can analyze both videos in an offline phase to see which would benefit from being allocated more bandwidth and which could be served using lower bandwidth without the quality suffering. The protocol then assigns bandwidth based on the needs of the different users, and will adjust itself over time in response to the video content being played.
In real-world tests, Minerva was able to reduce rebuffering time almost by h