Now that wireless networks are faster and better, is streaming video over wireless LANs possible?
Streaming multimedia content is a challenge to any type of network. A typical high-resolution MPEG video stream running at 30 frames per second demands megabits of bandwidth. Given the capabilities of current 802.11a products, video over wireless still seems far away.
But maybe its not.
I recently met with Vixs System, a startup that showed me video over wireless is not far-fetched. Vixs demonstrated that sending multiple high-quality video streams over a wireless network is not only possible but can also be done with available devices that are not necessarily designed for video applications. Vixs proprietary technology can simultaneously deliver video to multiple devices over the 802.11b wireless network with minimal degradation and high quality of service.
The Vixs demonstration showed live MPEG video streams being delivered to several Compaq iPaq devices over an 802.11b network while several other devices were simultaneously receiving real-time video streams on the network.
I was impressed by the quality of the video on the iPaq. Even as I moved farther from the access point and imposed obstacles, the video did not degrade. I could also invoke pause, fast-forward and rewind operations without noticing any frame loss.
The idea behind the Vixs solution is simple but effective. The Vixs chip set and software work together to monitor the network for available bandwidth and dynamically modify the bit rate of each MPEG video stream to ensure that the client device can adequately receive data.
The Vixs system will find applications in the enterprise where video can save costs and improve productivity, such as for corporate training.
There are hurdles to overcome, of course. Chief among these is security. Wireless LAN isnt the most secure medium to transmit data, and not everyone wants to share paid TV services or private home videos over the airwaves.
But imagine watching your favorite local programs on a handheld device, with the benefits of video over wireless. The possibilities are endless.
Is video over wireless reality or fiction? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.