Tired of watching buffering videos? MIT's new tech can help
If there's anything more annoying than slow internet, it is watching a movie on that connection. The endless buffering, the pixelation of content, it just ruins the whole streaming experience, forcing users to give up on the idea of watching the video altogether. However, the good news is, the problem can finally be solved, thanks to a solution from MIT. Here's all about it.
The problem of video buffering, as many already know, stems from two main reasons: slow or busy connection. In the first case, the speed is slow by default and there's no way to increase it unless the ISP chooses to do so. However, the second situation is more controllable as the bandwidth is distributed evenly across all access points (active devices) on the network.
Existing Wi-Fi protocols split bandwidth evenly according to the number of devices. So, if two people are active on a connection, with one watching Live HD Match on TV while the other streaming cartoon on phone, they both get half of the available speed. The arrangement works well but affects the experience of the individual streaming the match as that requires more bandwidth.
To tackle this problem and distribute Wi-Fi bandwidth according to the streaming needs of users, MIT researchers have developed a sharing protocol called Minerva. The system analyzes the videos being played and checks which one needs more bandwidth to run seamlessly and which one can work even with low speeds. On the basis of the analysis, it allocates the bandwidth needed by the devices.
According to the researchers behind Minerva, the tech worked impressively in real-world tests and adjusted itself according to the video being played. They say it was able to reduce the cases of buffering by almost 50%, while pixelation was cut by a third. The reduction in pixelation, they added, was similar to improving the quality of a video from 720p to 1080p.
The tech is still being matured for households, but the team says it can even be used by companies, like Netflix and Hulu, that want to provide seamless streaming services to users across large regions.