bandwidth conservation
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 18:37:50 -0400

The recent discussion of CU-SeeMe bandwidth usage raised the issue of
what types of video are more or less appropriate for transmission when
bandwidth is limited. E.g., is it good network behavior to broadcast the
inside of an empty office? The answer, of course, is no, it is not good
behavior to broadcast the inside of an empty office when bandwidth is
limited, but the answer is irrelevant since CU-SeeMe does not _broadcast_
anything. It only sends video to machines that want it. I.e., a reflector
will only forward video to recipients who have that window open, and a
video source will stop transmission to the reflector if no one is watching.
The implication of this is that video receivers are just as
responsible as video sources for the bandwidth that is consumed (sounds
kind of obvious when you say it that way). Hence, to be a responsible
bandwidth consumer, it is essential to close windows that you are not
interested in. If no one is watching any windows, then choose "Stop
Receiving" from the Conference menu. There is really no sin in leaving
CU-SeeMe running with a picture of your empty office...the greater sin is
to have your monitor full of live video windows when your office is empty.
This point needs periodic re-emphasis, I think, because it is so contrary
to the way that broadcast television works.

Tim Dorcey
Sr. Programmer/Analyst (607) 255-5715
Advanced Technologies & Planning
CIT Network Resources
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14850