2.2.2 The Future of IETF Multicast/Unicast Service (ietf-tv)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 61st IETF Meeting in Washington, DC USA. It may now be out-of-date.

Last Modified: 2004-10-28


Ole Jacobsen <ole@cisco.com>

General Area Director(s):

Harald Alvestrand <harald@alvestrand.no>

General Area Advisor:

Harald Alvestrand <harald@alvestrand.no>

Mailing Lists:

General Discussion:
To Subscribe:

Description of Working Group:

With recent changes in the IETF and ways in which interested parties
participate, there is a new push to re-evaluate the mechanisms that are
provided for remote participation and working group meeeting archiving.

For the past several years, two sessions have been multicast at two bit
rates (low and high). These sessions have also been recorded and made
available relatively soon after the meeting. More recently, experiments
have been conducted in an attempt to add additional rooms with unicast
support but only audio.

At this point, we are at a cross-roads. Because of perceived changes in
remote participant needs and funding availability, the IETF needs to
decide what is needed in terms of service to users. Furthermore, an
analysis needs to be done on what this service will cost and whether
there is budget to support it.

This BOF is a chance for the IETF community to discuss these issues in
an open forum and help decide what our next steps should be in providing
these services for future IETF meetings.

To kick off the discussion, we will present a summary of the effort and
resources involved in prior audio and video support and describe a few
service options which might be provided in the future.

We particularly would like to hear from past and current users of the
IETF multicast/unicast services.

Note that while jabber use has become much more prevalent recently and
its use affects how distance participation works, using instant
messaging in IETF meetings is not the focus of this BoF.

Goals and Milestones:

No Current Internet-Drafts

No Request For Comments

Current Meeting Report

Summary of the IETF-TV BoF

BoF Chair: Ole Jacobsen
Notes taken by: Aaron Falk

The purpose of the IETF-TV BoF was to discuss in what way multimedia capture of IETF meetings would best serve the community. Multicast was used by volunteers to provide audio and digital whiteboard tools starting in 1992. Tools and encoding formats evolved over the years until the present day where two rooms at each IETF are covered using MPEG-1 video and H.261/PCM audio four additional rooms with MP3 audio only. The streams are made available using ASM and SSM multicast (some individuals provide unicast reflectors) and the files are post-processed and stored in an online repository for viewing after the meeting.

At IETF-60, there were about 20 "viewers" per meeting (ed: IETF or wg meeting?) with a peak of about 70. Feedback from the audio-only sessions was that it was hard to follow the meeting without some visual feedback, preferably the ability to view the slides. There have been 100's to 1000's of downloads of online files.

The staffing and travel and equipment expenses have been borne by University of Oregon (UofO) with some assistance from Cisco and the IETF Chair fund. Typical requirements are 6 weeks/year for preparation; staffing and post-processing, 4-6 people (historically students) to operate the equipment during the IETF meeting; $10k for shipping (ed: per meeting? per year?); bandwidth for streaming and download (broadband, real-time bandwidth and server requirements are non-trivial). However, most of the expense is associated with the video capture: camera operators (labor and travel) and specialized equipment are required. The UofO is unwilling to shoulder staffing, and has run out of Cisco-provided funding that allowed their staff to travel and ship their equipment. The UofO never provided any significant financial support outside of staff. Several questions therefore arise:

What problem is being solved by this service? Remote participation? Broadcast to a remote (non-participatory) audience? Creating a public record?

It is estimated that a professional staff would cost about ~$50k/meeting (based on similar hotel events). Various strategies of cost recovery were discussed including increasing meeting fees (~$25), charging online viewers ($100), selling CDs (~$100ea) or finding sponsors (~$25k/yr). There was a general conclusion that some form of service is useful and of interest but there were no clear recommendations identifying a primary audience or of cost recovery.

No working group will be created from this BoF.


None received.