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Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), an emerging Internet application, provides more flexibility and interactivity for users because of its embedded return channel. Wireless 802.11 networks, used as the last hop of IPTV networks, would add another dimension of mobility, which is of great value for hot spot deployment and is increasingly required for in-home content distribution. However, a wireless channel may suffer from multi-path fading and interference, which may cause random and burst packet loss and impact users' quality of experience of an IPTV program. We report the design, implementation and evaluation of merged hybrid adaptive FEC and ARQ (MHARQ) system for IPTV multicast over wireless LANs. In MHARQ, an IPTV cache server is introduced to improve the reliability for the last hop wireless distribution. MHARQ combines the advantages of receiver-driven staggered FEC and hybrid ARQ schemes to compensate the large dynamic range of WLAN channels and to achieve high reliability, scalability and wireless bandwidth efficiency for IPTV multicast. We also address backward compatible FEC encoding and decoding, audio and video synchronization issues in practical system implementation. Using the ORBIT radio grid test bed, we have investigated the performance of the proposed MHARQ system with various numbers of users per AP and different numbers of APs per IPTV cache server. It is demonstrated via real system implementation on ORBIT that MHARQ improves wireless bandwidth efficiency and scalability for reliable IPTV multicast, compared with existing reliable multicast schemes.
Date of Publication: June 2009