WO2005064848A1 - Distributing a data stream in a telecommunications network - Google Patents

Distributing a data stream in a telecommunications network

Info

Publication number
WO2005064848A1
WO2005064848A1 PCT/EP2003/014910 EP0314910W WO2005064848A1 WO 2005064848 A1 WO2005064848 A1 WO 2005064848A1 EP 0314910 W EP0314910 W EP 0314910W WO 2005064848 A1 WO2005064848 A1 WO 2005064848A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
data
stream
network
node
element
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2003/014910
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Halbe Hageman
Wijk Arnoud Van
Peter Goeijers
Original Assignee
Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (Publ)
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/02Details
    • H04L12/16Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L12/18Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents for broadcast or conference, e.g. multicast
    • H04L12/1859Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents for broadcast or conference, e.g. multicast adapted to provide push services, e.g. data channels
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/02Details
    • H04L12/16Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L12/18Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents for broadcast or conference, e.g. multicast
    • H04L12/1863Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents for broadcast or conference, e.g. multicast comprising mechanisms for improved reliability, e.g. status reports
    • H04L12/1868Measures taken after transmission, e.g. acknowledgments
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/02Details
    • H04L12/16Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents
    • H04L12/18Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents for broadcast or conference, e.g. multicast
    • H04L12/185Arrangements for providing special services to substations contains provisionally no documents for broadcast or conference, e.g. multicast with management of multicast group membership

Abstract

The present invention relates generally to a method, a device and a computer program product for distributing a data stream in a telecommunications network from a provider of a data stream such as a live multimedia streaming, which enables more end-users to receive the same data stream at the same time, whilst minimizing the use of network resources.

Description

Distributing a data stream in a telecommunications network

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Technical Field of the invention

The present invention relates generally to a method, a device and a computer program product for distributing a data stream in a telecommunications network. Description of Background Art

Distribution of data streams is well known in over-the-air- broadcast systems, and cable television systems (hereinafter both systems are referred to as Broadcasting Systems) . The Broadcasting systems distribute or offer to distribute data streams, or have data streams available for multiple end-users and have in common that from the Broadcasting System's point of view, no additional operations are necessary to provide a data stream to each and every individual end-user. There are some clear disadvantages to these broadcasting systems . For example an organisation, providing a data stream and using a

Broadcasting System for the distribution of the data stream, may require to have: possibilities to charge the end-user; statistical information of end-users; and - the ability to create a closed community, i.e. a specific audience; These requirements cannot be met with prior art Broadcasting Systems . Telecommunication network systems (hereinafter called "Network") having network node elements for distributing data streams, in particular multimedia data streams, are also known in the prior art. These prior art Networks may meet the above mentioned requirements of a provider (hereinafter called "Pro ider". The Provider is defined as the entity owning or having access to a data source and providing a data stream from the data source. Examples of a Provider are a soccer club, a talk show organisation, or a company. In current systems the actual distribution of a data stream is done by a distribution system (hereinafter called "Distributor"). A Distributor may be any network node element distributing a data stream from a data source. Examples of a Distributor are: a system distributing a data stream to multiple network node elements of one or more Networks; any network node element distributing a data stream for a provider; a dedicated network node element collecting one or more data streams from one or more Providers, and distributing the data stream; The prior art Networks provides for end-users to request a connection to receive a data stream. The setting-up of multiple requested connections consequentially may lead to multiple network node elements having multiple separate connections to multiple other network node elements and eventually to multiple end-users . This has next disadvantages. With an increase of the number of end-users, an exponential increase of the number of connections and thus the use of network resources is encountered. The data stream is distributed simultaneously and multiple times between any two nodes and from a node to one or more end-users. It is obvious, that the maximum amount of end-users is limited by the maximum accumulated capacity of the connections towards the Distributor. The same will occur in the access nodes - which are defined as network nodes providing to the end-users access to the Network -, where usually the network capacity is largely insufficient for all end- users to be connected at the same time. The load on the Network will in the prior art solution increase even more when the multiple connections also provide access for multiple end-users to send multiple responses to a data stream at the same time. DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a method and system to enable more end-users to have access to a distributed data stream, whilst minimizing the use of network resources . In a first aspect of the invention this object is achieved with a method of distributing a data stream over a connection in a telecommunications network, from a provider providing said data stream from a data source to a plurality of end-users through one or more network node elements, characterized in that a checking means, at a request for a connection to a network node element for distributing said data stream, checks whether said data stream is already available at said network node element and, if said data stream is available, said connection to said network node element for distributing said data stream is established. In this way the benefit of a system being able to offer a data stream in a telecommunications network and the benefit of a system aimed at the requests of end-users system are combined into one solution. With the solution the requested connections to the end-users are provided, without unnecessarily setting up redundant connections between network node elements. Consequently there is less need for Network resources, and a virtually unlimited amount of end-users may be connected for simultaneously receiving a data stream.

Further advantages are obtained by the embodiments of the invention. In an embodiment in accordance with the invention as defined in claim 2, the checking means, at the request for a connection to a network node element for distributing said data stream, checks whether a connection for receiving said data stream is already available at said network node element and, if said data stream is not available, said network node element requests to receive said data stream, and said connection for distributing said data stream is established. This has the advantage that, in case the network node element cannot provide a data stream, because it has not yet a connection for receiving a data stream, the network node element may request a connection with another network node element or directly with the Distributor, for receiving the data stream. In an embodiment as defined in claim 3 , the method further comprises the steps of: the network node element at a request to terminate the connection, terminates the connection for distributing the data stream; and the checking means checks whether another connection for distributing the data stream is served by said network node element and, in the negative, termination of the connection for receiving the data stream is requested by said network node element. In this way no unnecessary connections are active, so no unnecessary network resources are used. In an embodiment as defined in claim 4, the checking means is located at the network node element. This enables autonomous decision at a network node element, without additional data exchanges around and through the Network, thus saving Network resources . In an embodiment as defined in claim 5 the checking means is shared by multiple network node elements. This has the advantage that in case a network node element has no checking means, it may use the checking means at another network node element . In an embodiment as defined in claim 6, the provider provides the data stream through an administration node. This enables to provide additional services, which use Network information, to the Provider. In an embodiment as defined in claim 7 , the provider adds a data stream identifier to the data stream. This enables for an end-user to identify a specific data stream, and for example makes registration easier. In an embodiment as defined in claim 8, the administration node adds a data stream identifier to the data stream In case a provider may not know which identifiers are in use, because other providers also are assigned data stream identifiers, a central administration node may issue the identifier, to prevent confusion. In an embodiment as defined in claim 9 , an end user requesting a connection to a network node element adds to the request a data stream identifier associated to the request. This makes the identification of the required data stream more easy for the Network, the administration node, the Distributor or the Provider. In an embodiment as defined in claim 10, a network node element, adds to the request an end-user identifier associated with said end-user. This enables identification and verification for e.g. the Administration node, the Distributor or the Provider. In an embodiment as defined in claim 11, the end-user receiving the data stream, sends a response to the data stream towards the provider through one or more network node elements. This enables interactive participation by end-users in live events. A response may be a voice stream, being the vocal reaction of an end-user to a data stream. In an embodiment as defined in claim 12, an end-user sending the response, includes additional information in the response. In an embodiment as defined in claim 13 , a network node element receiving the response, includes additional information in the response. In an embodiment as defined in claim 14, the additional information comprises one of the group including: an end-user identifier; an end-user security code; a data stream identifier; a status of connection from the end-user to a network node element; an authorization level of the end-user; a timestamp. In an embodiment as defined in claim 15, the end-user sends the response using Dual Tone Multi Frequency. This is especially useful for communicating without using extra resources or a need for additional connections. In an embodiment as defined in claim 16, the end-user uses a multimedia messaging system for sending the response. This allows an end-user to send a non-real-time Response. Non real-time Responses may be collected, stored and read by the Provider for future reference . In an embodiment as defined in claim 17 , a network node element receiving the response, merges responses of two or more end-users, and sends the merged response towards the provider. This enables additionally to save network resources . In an embodiment as defined in claim 18, the response is included in the data stream. In this way the Response of an end-user becomes available for end-users receiving the data stream. In an embodiment as defined in claim 19, the provider selects which end-user is allowed to send a response. This enables a Provider to control which end-user may send a Response. This is especially useful when there is an undefined group of end-users or a large amount of end-users who want to participate. In an embodiment as defined in claim 20, the provider selects which response is included in the data stream. This enables the Provider to have some kind of censorship. In an embodiment as defined in claim 21, the data stream and response are sent through a single connection. This makes it easier for the end-user to send a response, because the end-user does not have to use other connections. In an embodiment as defined in claim 22, the administration node collects one or more responses of one or more end-users. This facilitates a centralized statistical analysis or may serve as a buffer or filter towards the provider. In an embodiment as defined in claim 23, the provider uses an end-user identifier together with an access code to access the administration node in order to receive additional information or a response associated to the user identifier. This provides a method for a Provider to have access to the additional information or the responses of the end-users, which may be used for example for charging- or statistical purposes . In an embodiment as defined in claim 24, the response is included in the data stream at a network node element. This has the advantage that end-users of for example a specific geographical location having connections to a common network node element may receive the response of any end-user of that geographical location, whereas other end-users who have no interest in or understanding of (because of the used language) the local responses, will not be able to receive the response. This again minimizes the load on the Network. In an embodiment as defined in claim 25, a network node element sends an announcement relating to the availability of the data stream to the end-user. This provides for an alternative instead of white noise or an off-hook signal, when there is no data stream available. On the other hand the announcement may be informative towards the end-user about future or past data streams and pricing. In an embodiment as defined in claim 26, the administration node sends an announcement, relating to the availability of the data stream to the end-user. The advantage of this embodiment is that the administration node has more information such as additional information and information of data stream identifiers available to construct a suitable announcement. In an embodiment as defined in claim 27, the method further comprises the steps of: a first network node element is assigned for distribution of the data stream by the telecommunications; if the first network node element is replaced by a second network node element assigned for distributing the data stream, the first network node element checks if still connections for distributing the data stream are available at the first network node element, and in the affirmative, the first network node requests to forward the connection towards the second network node. In an embodiment as defined in claim 28, the data stream comprises a multimedia stream of a live event, such as a) a soccer game, b) a shareholders meeting or c) a talk show. a) In the example of a soccer game, people may listen in on one of the live reports of soccer games played in a league by calling the soccer club's telephone number in order to receive a data stream. This provides to many supporters the possibility to listen in on their favourite club, real time and in full. For each club a unique data stream identifier is reserved. The data stream identifier may for example remain the same during the whole playing season. Because two clubs play against each other, the life report is put in a data stream for both the home and the outplaying club. b) In the example of the shareholders meeting, owners of shares may be life connected to the shareholders meeting of a specific company and do not need to be present in person. Shareholders may exercise their rights by remote voting on specific subjects. Prior to the meeting the organising company reserves a data stream identifier and informs shareholders of the possibility of remote presence. Shareholders that want to remotely exercise their rights will get the opportunity to get a unique security code resembling their group of shares for purpose of remote voting. A computer system at the shareholders meeting reads votings from the administration node using the security code and data stream identifier. c) In the example of a talk show, people may dial in on a specific talk show. The data stream identifier is reserved in advance and made public. People listing in may vote on specific subjects, and the show host retrieves the voting results from the administration node. The show host has also the possibility to select a few people who can comment and discuss their voting by sending a response. In a second aspect of the invention a checking means is provided for use in a telecommunications network, arranged for distributing a data stream over a connection, from a provider providing said data stream from a data source to a plurality of end-users through one or more network node elements, characterized in that the checking means is arranged for, at a request for a connection to a network node element for distributing said data stream, check whether said data stream is already available at said network node element . In an embodiment said checking means is arranged for, at the request for a connection to a network node element for distributing said data stream, checking whether a connection for receiving said data stream is already available at said network node element . In a further embodiment said checking means is arranged to be shared by multiple network node elements. In a third aspect of the invention a computer program product is provided for use in a system of distributing a data stream, characterized in that said computer program comprises software code means which, when run on a computer causes the method to be performed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the following section, the Invention will be described by way of examples of its embodiments with reference to the attached drawing, in which: FIG. 1 shows a typical embodiment of a Streaming Node in the Network as known in the prior art FIG. 2 shows a prior art solution with a Streaming Node external to the Network. FIG. 3 shows an example of the invention. FIG. 4 shows a flowchart of a preferred embodiment of the invention. FIG. 5 shows an exemplary system overview of the invention.

DETAILED DECRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS With reference to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a prior art solution for distributing a data stream in a plain old telephony system 100 is shown. Multiple connections C-l to C-n from network node element 101 to network node elements 102, 103, 104 are shown, which are arranged for distributing as many times the same data stream as there are connections . Eventually the multiple data streams reach the end-users EU-1 to EU-n either directly or through network node elements 105 and 106. The data stream may even reach the end-user from network node element 101 through network node element 102 to an end-user. This all puts a large load on the Network. In FIG. 2 a similar prior art solution is shown, with a distributing network element 201, which is not part of the network to which it is distributing the data streams. This network node element may for example be part of an IP network 200, whilst the network node elements 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207 are part of a plain old telephony system 100. In FIG. 3 the invention is show as it may be implemented in a telecommunication system.

A Provider 301 is arranged for providing a single data stream to a Distributor, which, in this case comprises a distributing network node element 302. The Distributor 302 is arranged for distributing the data stream to network node element 303 and 304. Taking network node element 303 as an example: Network node element 303 provides a single data stream through a single connection C-l to network node element 305. Only at network node element 305, separate End-User connections EC-1 to EC-6 to each end user EU-1 to EU-6 are set-up. It is obvious that the invention saves the use of a considerable amount of network resources in this case. In figure 4 a flowchart of a preferred embodiment is shown. A checking means, at a request 401 for a connection to a network node element for distributing the data stream, checks 402 whether a connection for receiving the data stream is already available at the network node element and, in the affirmative, the connection to the network node element for distributing the data stream is set up 404. In the negative, a connection to a network node element for receiving the data stream is requested 403. Subsequently the network element receives a request 405 to terminate the connection, and terminates 406 the connection for distributing the data stream. Also the checking means checks 407 whether another connection for distributing the data stream is available at said network node element and, in the negative, termination of the connection for receiving the data stream is requested 408. In figure 5 a system overview is shown of an embodiment of the invention. The provider 301 has access to a data source 502, for example a live event of a soccer game, which comprises video and audio data. Provider 301 has a connection C-l to an administration node 503, which has functions as described in the method description. The administration node is arranged to distribute the data stream to a first network node element 302 through connection C-2. The network node element 302 is arranged to distribute the data stream to a second network node element 303 using connection C-3. The network node element 303 is arranged to distribute the data stream to network node element 305 through connection C-4. The network node element 305 comprises a checking means 501 arranged for, at a request for a connection to the network node element 305 for distributing said data stream, checking whether said data stream is already available at said network node element 305. The network node element 305 is arranged to distribute the requested data stream to the end-users EU-1 to EU-6 through connections EC-1 to EC-6. The advantageous effect of this exemplary arrangement is that just one connection C-4 is necessary to distribute the same data stream through six connections EC-1 to EC-6 simultaneously to six end-users . Saving at least five connections . The checking means 501 may be arranged to be shared by multiple network node elements.

Although preferred embodiments of the system, method, and apparatus of the present Invention have been illustrated in the accompanying Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it is recognised by those skilled in the art, that the Invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the Invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method of distributing a data stream over a connection in a telecommunications network, from a provider (301) providing said data stream from a data source (502) to a plurality of end-users through one or more network node elements (302,303,305), characterized in that a checking means (501), at a request for a connection to a network node element (302,303,305) for distributing said data stream, checks whether said data stream is already available at said network node element (302,303,205) and, if said data stream is available, said connection to said network node element (302,303,305) for distributing said data stream is established.
2. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 1, wherein said checking means (501) , at the request for a connection to a network node element (302,303,305) for distributing said data stream, checks whether a connection for receiving said data stream is already available at said network node element (302,303,305) and, if said data stream is not available, said network node element (302,303,305) requests to receive said data stream and said connection for distributing said data stream is established.
3. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the method further comprises the steps of : said network node element (302,303,305) at a request to terminate said connection, terminates said connection for distributing said data stream; and said checking means (501) checks whether another connection for distributing said data stream is available at said network node element (302,303,305) and, in the negative, termination of said connection for receiving said data stream is requested.
4. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said checking means (501) is located at said network node element (302,303,305).
5. A method for distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said checking means (501) is shared by multiple network node elements (302,303,305) .
6. A method for distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said provider (301) provides said data stream through an administration node (503).
7. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said provider (301) adds a data stream identifier to said data stream.
8. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said administration node (503) adds a data stream identifier to said data stream.
9. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 7 or 8, wherein an end-user requesting a connection to a network node element (302,303,305) adds to the request a data stream identifier associated to said request.
10. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 9, wherein said network node element (302,303,305), adds to the request an end-user identifier associated with said end-user.
11. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein said end-user receiving said data stream, sends a response to said data stream towards said provider (301) through one or more network node elements (302,303,305) .
12. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 11, wherein an end-user sending said response, includes additional information in said response .
13. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 12, wherein a network node element (302,303,305) receiving said response, includes additional information in said response.
14. A method for distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 12-13, wherein said additional information comprises one of the group including: an end-user identifier; an end-user security code; a data stream identifier; - a status of connection from the end-user to a network node element (302,303,305); an authorization level of the end-user; a timestamp.
15. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-14, wherein said end-user sends said response using Dual Tone Multi Frequency tones .
16. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-14, wherein said end-user uses a multimedia messaging system for sending said response.
17. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-16, wherein a network node element (302,303,305) receiving said response, merges responses of two or more end-users, and sends the merged response towards said provider (301) .
18. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-17, wherein said response is included in said data stream.
19. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 18, wherein said provider (301) selects which end-user is allowed to send a response.
20. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 19, wherein said provider (301) selects which response is included in said data stream.
21. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-19, wherein said data stream and said response are sent through a single connection.
22. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-20, wherein said administration node
(503) collects one or more responses of one or more end-users.
23. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 14, wherein said provider uses an end-user identifier together with an access code to access said administration node (503) in order to receive additional information or a response associated to said end-user identifier.
24. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the claims 11-21, wherein said response is included in said data stream at a network node element (302,303,305).
25. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein a network node element (302,303,305) sends an announcement relating to the availability of said data stream to one or more end-users out of the plurality of end-users.
26. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 6, wherein said administration node sends an announcement, relating to the availability of said data stream to one or more end-users out of the plurality of end-users.
27. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in claim 1, further comprising the steps of: a first network node element (302,303,305) is assigned by the telecommunications system, for distribution of said data stream; if the first network node element (302,303,305) is replaced by a second network node element (302,303,305) assigned for distributing the data stream, the first network node element (302,303,305) checks if still connections for distributing the data stream are available at the first network node element (302,303,305), and in the affirmative, the first network node requests to forward the connection towards the second network node.
28. A method of distributing a data stream as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the data stream comprises a audio or video data of a live event, such as a soccer game, a shareholders meeting or a talk show.
29. A checking means for use in a telecommunications network, arranged for distributing a data stream over a connection, from a provider (301) providing said data stream from a data source (502) to a plurality of end-users through one or more network node elements (302,303,305), characterized in that the checking means (501) is arranged for, at a request for a connection to a network node element (302,303,305) for distributing said data stream, checking whether said data stream is already available at said network node element (302,303,205) .
30. A checking means as claimed in claim 29, wherein said checking means (501) is arranged to be shared by multiple network node elements (302,303,305).
31. A computer program product for use in a system of distributing a data stream, characterized in that said computer program comprises software code means which, when run on a computer causes the method of any one of the claims 1-28 to be performed.
PCT/EP2003/014910 2003-12-24 2003-12-24 Distributing a data stream in a telecommunications network WO2005064848A1 (en)

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