SoftCast : exposing a waveform interface to the wireless channel for scalable video broadcast
Author(s)Jakubczak, Szymon Kazimierz
Exposing a waveform interface to the wireless channel for scalable video broadcast
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
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Video broadcast and mobile video challenge the conventional wireless design. In broadcast and mobile scenarios the bit-rate supported by the channel differs across receivers and varies quickly over time. The conventional design however forces the source to pick a single bit-rate and degrades sharply when the channel cannot support it. This thesis presents SoftCast, a clean-slate design for wireless video where the source transmits one video stream that each receiver decodes to a video quality commensurate with its specific instantaneous channel quality. To do so, SoftCast ensures the samples of the digital video signal transmitted on the channel are linearly related to the pixels' luminance. Thus, when channel noise perturbs the transmitted signal samples, the perturbation naturally translates into approximation in the original video pixels. Hence, a receiver with a good channel (low noise) obtains a high fidelity video, and a receiver with a bad channel (high noise) obtains a low fidelity video. SoftCast's linear design in essence resembles the traditional analog approach to communication, which was abandoned in most major communication systems, as it does not enjoy the theoretical opimality of the digital separate design in point-topoint channels nor its effectiveness at compressing the source data. In this thesis, I show that in combination with decorrelating transforms common to modern digital video compression, the analog approach can achieve performance competitive with the prevalent digital design for a wide variety of practical point-to-point scenarios, and outperforms it in the broadcast and mobile scenarios. Since the conventional bit-pipe interface of the wireless physical layer (PHY) forces the separation of source and channel coding, to realize SoftCast, architectural changes to the wireless PHY are necessary. This thesis discusses the design of RawPHY, a reorganization of the PHY which exposes a waveform interface to the channel while shielding the designers of the higher layers from much of the perplexity of the wireless channel. I implement SoftCast and RawPHY using the GNURadio software and the USRP platform. Results from a 20-node testbed show that SoftCast improves the average video quality (i.e., PSNR) across diverse broadcast receivers in our testbed by up to 5.5 dB in comparison to conventional single- or multi-layer video. Even for a single receiver, it eliminates video glitches caused by mobility and increases robustness to packet loss by an order of magnitude.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 157-167).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.