Protocol considerations for a prefix-caching proxy for multimedia streams

Stephane Gruber, Jennifer L. Rexford, Andrea Basso

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The increasing popularity of multimedia streaming applications introduces new challenges in content distribution. Web-initiated multimedia streams typically experience high start-up delay, due to large protocol overheads and the poor delay, throughput, and loss properties of the Internet. Internet service providers can improve performance by caching the initial segment (the prefix) of popular streams at proxies near the requesting clients. The proxy can initiate transmission to the client while simultaneously requesting the remainder of the stream from the server. This paper analyzes the challenges of realizing a prefix-caching service in the context of the IETF's Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), a multimedia streaming protocol that derives from HTTP. We describe how to exploit existing RTSP features, such as the Range header, and how to avoid several round-trip delays by caching protocol information at the proxy. Based on our experiences, we propose extensions to RTSP that would ease the development of new multimedia proxy services. In addition, we discuss how caching the partial contents of multimedia streams introduces new challenges in cache coherency and feedback control. Then, we briefly present our preliminary implementation of prefix caching on a Linux-based PC, and describe how the proxy interoperates with the RealNetworks server and client.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-668
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2000
EventWWW9: 9th International World Wide Web Conference 'The Web: The Next Generation' - Amsterdam, Neth
Duration: May 15 2000May 19 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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