P2P streaming systems exploit the high scalability of P2P networks to propagate multimedia streams to wide areas in a distributed fashion. A P2P network is made up of several logic connections among peer nodes, which can form a mesh or a tree overlay. Interactive real-time streaming imposes very strict delay constraints: in e-learning environments, for instance, only a high level of synchrony with the live event may allow users to ask questions in real-time to the lecture speaker. Despite their resilience to peer churning, mesh overlays are affected by a high and variable delay, which hampers their adoption in interactive applications. Playback discontinuity, caused by missing chunks, may be a serious problem too, since it may compromise the speech understanding. On the contrary, multi-tree MDC-based overlays can guarantee a smooth playback continuity, since a stream can be fluently reproduced also when some descriptions are lost. The queuing and the elaboration delay of the nodes should be kept under control to reduce the overall end-to-end delay on each tree branch. In this work we describe a framework for the construction of reliable tree overlays: we designed a smooth switch-to-fallback mechanism to quickly replace nodes leaving the overlay, a channel for packet recovery and a very efficient engine that collects MDC descriptions coming from parent nodes. The experimental data we reported in the last section reveal a low CPU usage and a very low elaboration delay in collecting MDC descriptions.
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