Design and Implementation of An Emulation Testbed for Video Communications in Ad Hoc Networks


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Virginia Tech


Video communication is an important application in wireless ad hoc network environment. Although current off-the-shelf video communication software would work for ad hoc network operating under stable conditions (e.g., extremely low link and node failures), video communications for ad hoc network operating under extreme conditions remain a challenging problem. This is because traditional video codec, either single steam or layered video, requires at least one relatively stable path between source and destination nodes.

Recent advances in multiple description (MD) video coding have opened up new possibilities to offer video communications over ad hoc networks. In this thesis, we perform a systematic study on MD video for ad hoc networks. The theoretical foundation of this research is based on an application-centric approach to formulate a cross-layer multipath routing problem that minimizes the application layer video distortion. The solution procedure to this complex optimization problem is based on the so-called Genetic Algorithm (GA). The theoretical results have been documented in [7] and will be reviewed in Chapter 2.

Although the theoretical foundation for MD video over dynamic ad hoc networks has been laid, there remains a lot of skepticisms in the research community on whether such cross-layer optimal routing can be implemented in practice. To fill this gap, this thesis is devoted to the experimental research (or proof-of-concept) for the work in [7]. Our approach is to design and implement an emulation testbed where we can actually implement the ideas and algorithms proposed in [7] in a controlled laboratory setting. The highlights of our experimental research include:

  1. A testbed that emulates three properties of a wireless ad hoc network: topology, link success probability, and link bandwidth;
  2. A source routing implementation that can easily support comparative study between the proposed GA-based routing with other routing schemes under different network conditions;
  3. A modified H.263+ video codec that employs Unequal Error Protection (UEP) approach to generate MD video;
  4. Implementation of three experiments that • compared the GA-based routing with existing technologies (NetMeeting video conferencing plus AODV routing); • compared our GA-based routing with network-centric routing schemes (two-disjoint paths routing); • proved that our approach has great potential in supporting video communications in wireless ad hoc networks.
  5. Experimental results that show the proposed cross-layer optimization significantly outperforms the current off-the-shelf technologies, and that the proposed cross-layer optimization provides much better performance than network-centric routing schemes in supporting routing of MD video.

In summary, the experimental research in this thesis has demonstrated that a cross-layer multipath routing algorithm can be practically implemented in a dynamic ad hoc network to support video communications.



Optimization, genetic algorithms., multipath routing, Emulation of wireless ad hoc networks, video communication, multiple description video coding