As a company well versed in content delivery best practices, we only want the best for our clients. Our emphasis on designing and integrating reliable platforms for the delivery of content is a no-brainer. Beyond a doubt, a good, solid transmission with very few disruptions makes for happy customers, and only the occasional after-hours call.
That’s why, for over two decades, we we’ve been hesitant to embrace streaming for reliable delivery.
Our thoughts? Streaming via the public internet was just too much of a headache – for us and for our clients. Our clients need something extremely reliable, with very few points for failure. We believed – to stream over the very public internet – one had to overcome way too many hurdles to truly be a viable delivery platform.
That is, until SRT came on the scene. Now we’ve embraced streaming in a big way.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the public internet. The very nature of internet is both insecure and unreliable – a virtual quagmire of lost data. No matter how robust you believe your connection to be, that’s only part of the equation. Other challenges for real-time broadcast include:
Packet loss. Regardless of whether its data from a broadcast or from your favorite website, Internet connections suffer regularly from data that doesn’t show up due to congested internet routers.
Jitter: packets of information important to the stream, arriving at different times than when they were sent – and out of order.
Think of it like two cars leaving the same address at the same time. You expect them to to arrive in the same order as they left, but – because they took different routes – arrive out of turn.
Latency: the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer from sender to receiver.
Bandwidth: the volume of information sent over the public internet is completely unpredictable; capacity varies minute to minute from sender to receiver.
Then along comes SRT; and it’s a game-changer.
For those of you not familiar with SRT, the acronym stands for Secure Reliable Transport. SRT is a way to deliver high quality, low latency video over the public Internet.
The SRT technology stack is open source; it’s constantly being enhanced by developers across the world. The SRT project is managed and supported by the SRT Alliance, which at current count tops over 300 members.
Essentially, SRT’s reliability comes from a two-way communication that’s built into the system. As you send out your primary video and/or audio stream, there’s a backchannel of data for diagnostics and packet recovery. This allows for a more reliable, secure connection, easy firewall traversal, and adjustments for struggling connections.
One of the more practical applications we’ve seen using SRT was the 2020 NFL Draft. For this production to happen, hundreds of sites had to be remotely accessed, aggregated together, and delivered simultaneously via the cloud.
Without SRT, a live NFL broadcast into hundreds of separate locations with two-way interaction would have been erratic and unpredictable. Nor would it have been secure; SRT’s end-to-end AES encryption makes sure content is protected, from contribution to distribution.
Watching how SRT tames the erratic public internet has made us believers. That’s why we’re now promoting two new content delivery platforms, powered by Canada-based International Datacasting, and designed around SRT:
We’re finding that many churches are looking for something to enhance their public internet connection, and correct jitter, latency, and especially bandwidth issues. Because of SRT, OnRamp easily does that, and could later graduate to two-way communication, if that is a future need.
For broadcasters, MISTiQ is the perfect bridge between satellite and a reliable internet. For broadcasters needing a backup to their satellite platform, MISTiQ is a great solution. All the convenience of utilizing the public internet reliably during weather-related issues that sometimes affect satellite, without the usual internet issues.
Without SRT, LinkUp would likely continue to steer our customers away from embracing the public internet. But, SRT is a powerful resource for those who want to feel good about using internet for reliable content delivery.