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Real-time multimedia transport has stringent quality of service requirements, which are generally not supported by current network architectures. In emerging mobile ad hoc networks, frequent topology changes and link failures cause severe packet losses, which degrade the quality of received media. However, in such mesh networks, there usually exist multiple paths between any source and destination nodes. Such path diversity has been demonstrated to be effective in combating congestion and link failures for improved media quality. In this paper, we present a new protocol to facilitate multipath transport of real-time multimedia data. The proposed protocol, the multiflow real-time transport protocol (MRTP), provides a convenient vehicle for real-time applications to partition and transmit data using multiple flows. We demonstrate through analysis that data partitioning, which is an essential function of MRTP, can effectively reduce the short-range dependence of multimedia data, thus improving its queueing performance in underlying networks. Furthermore, we show that a few flows are sufficient for MRTP to exploit most of the benefits of multipath transport. Finally, we present a comprehensive simulation study on the performance of MRTP under a mobile ad hoc network. We show that with one additional path, MRTP outperformed single-flow RTP by a significant margin.
Date of Publication: April 2006