What are the Streaming Media Proxies?

The streaming media proxies identify various types of streaming video and audio traffic that use real-time streaming protocol (RTSP), real-time messaging protocol (RTMP), or HTTP as transport. This allows the MACH5 appliance to filter, monitor, or limit streaming media traffic on your network. The streaming proxies use several optimization techniques to improve the quality of the streaming media.

Because video, audio, and other streaming media use a considerable amount of bandwidth—much more than Web traffic—you will probably want to use the streaming proxies to control this type of traffic. Without the proxy on a congested network, users are likely to experience problems such as jagged video, patchy audio, and unsynchronized video and audio as packets are dropped or arrive late. By using the proxy, you can save bandwidth, increase quality of service, and reduce pauses and buffering during playback.

The MACH5 appliance uses the following techniques to control streaming delivery:

  • Caching — The appliance stores frequently requested media content in its cache and distributes it upon client requests. Because the appliance is closer to the client than the origin media server, the data is served locally at nearly LAN speed.
  • Live splitting — The appliance supports the splitting of a live stream to multiple local users.
  • TCP optimization — On high-latency networks or networks experiencing packet loss, the appliance is able to optimize streaming traffic by reducing stutter and static.
  • Bandwidth limits — The appliance includes options for limiting the amount of streaming media traffic on your network.

Streaming Media Support

The MACH5 appliance offers five proxies for streaming media: Flash, MS Smooth, Windows Media, QuickTime,and Real Media. The following streaming media clients are supported:

  • Adobe Flash Player — The appliance can fetch a live Flash stream once from the OCS and serve it to all users behind the appliance. In addition, the appliance caches content as Flash clients stream pre-recorded content from the OCS through the MACH5 appliance. The Flash proxy is able to accelerate unencrypted connections that use the RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) or RTMPT (RTMP tunneled over HTTP) protocol as well an encrypted connections that use the RTMPE (RTMP encrypted) or RTMPTE (RTMP encrypted, tunneled over HTTP) protocol. Note that the Flash streaming proxy does not support bandwidth limits or bandwidth management for any RTMP-based protocol, such as RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPE, or RTMPTE.
  • MS Smooth Streaming — The MACH5 appliance caches on-demand Smooth Streaming video content delivered over HTTP. Silverlight is the typical player used for Smooth Streaming and is available as a plug-in for web browsers running under Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.
  • Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming — The MACH5 appliance caches Adobe HDS on-demand and live adaptive bit-rate video delivery of MP4 media over HTTP.
  • Apple HTTP Live Streaming — The MACH5 appliance caches Apple HLS on-demand and live video content delivered over HTTP. This protocol was developed for iOS and Apple TV devices.
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player — The appliance caches Windows Media-encoded video and audio files. The standard extensions for these file types are .wmv, .wma, and .asf.
  • Real Networks Real Media Player — The appliance caches Real Media-encoded files, such as RealVideo and RealAudio. The standard extensions for these file types are .ra, .rm, and .rmvb. Other content served from a Real Media server through RTSP is also supported, but it is not cached; this content is served in pass-through mode only. (Pass-through mode offers TCP optimization but does not support caching.)
  • Apple QuickTime Player — The appliance does not cache QuickTime content (.mov files). All QuickTime content is served in pass-through mode only.

Streaming media can be delivered in a real-time live media stream or a previously-recorded on-demand media stream. The MACH5 appliance supports both types of streaming media.

The streaming proxies function when the RTMP, RTSP, and HTTP proxy services are being intercepted. See Intercept a Service.