Guy watching movie on iPad
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Video buffering can be annoying. And it becomes unbearable when a Netflix episode stops every few seconds or gets ridiculously pixilated. But a few MIT researchers have good news for everyone running a shared slow Internet connection.

Recently, researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a tool that analyses video data and allocates bandwidth accordingly.

It is different from bandwidth split protocols followed by standard WiFi routers. Traditionally, WiFi routers use algorithms that achieve “fairness” by distributing bandwidth equally.

So, let’s say if you are watching Stranger Things while a family member of yours is scrolling through his/her Facebook feed. A traditional WiFi protocol will distribute bandwidth equally, regardless of the kind of content.

MIT minerva

MIT’s new Minerva video protocol follows a different technique. The tool analyses the video player data and file characteristics and opens up the bandwidth channel accordingly. Minerva algorithm determines the weight computation required by the video client over the course of the videos. It also considers network conditions and other variables.

MIT professor Mohammad Alizadeh said, “It can analyze how the various videos’ visuals are affected by download speed…It then uses that information to provide each video with the best possible visual quality without degrading the experience for others.”

In a real-world experiment, Minerva was able to reduce total buffering time by 47% on average. Almost a quarter of the time, it managed to improve video quality by 15-32% which is equivalent to a bump from 720p to 1080p. If the Minerva tool comes out for the masses, it will be a massive help to streaming businesses.

via Venture Beat

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