What is the relationship between edge ingest and live centers?

The ApsaraVideo Live server enables you to collect live streams, process the streams in real time, and deliver the streams. Based on Alibaba Cloud CDN, ApsaraVideo Live uses edge ingest to implement instant content access to the nearest Alibaba Cloud CDN nodes. ApsaraVideo Live ingests streams in the upstream and delivers the streams to the nearest optimal CDN nodes based on the region where the live streaming activity is held.

The live centers of ApsaraVideo Live cover nine countries and regions all around the world, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Japan, Singapore, India, Indonesia, and Germany. A live center provides media processing services for streams in real time, such as recording, snapshot capture, transcoding, time shifting, video AI, and production studios. To ingest and play streams, you must add and configure an ingest domain and a streaming domain and bind the ingest domain to the streaming domain. When you add an ingest domain and a streaming domain to ApsaraVideo Live, you must specify a live center for the domain names. A live center provides real-time media processing services. It is independent of the region where streams are collected and distributed.

How do I select a live center?

  • Assume that your stream ingest and streaming business is located in mainland China, and you do not require real-time media processing services for the streams, such as snapshot capture, recording, and production studios.

    When you add a domain name, you can select a region from all the available regions in mainland China. You may have a large number of casters in Beijing. In this case, the China (Beijing) region is not necessarily required. Even though you select another region as the live center, such as the China (Shanghai) region, the edge ingest feature enables the CDN nodes that are nearest to the China (Beijing) region to collect the streams. ApsaraVideo Live distributes streams to CDN nodes based on the region where your audience is located. The region where real-time media processing services are provided does not affect the stream distribution.

  • Assume that you require real-time media processing services for the streams, such as snapshot capture, recording, and production studios.

    Real-time media processing services involve the storage of images and videos. You must create an Object Storage Service (OSS) bucket that is in the same region as the live center. This is to prevent issues that are caused by cross-region media processing and network environments, such as high latency and instability. If you have created an OSS bucket, make sure your live center resides in the same region as the OSS bucket.

  • Assume that your casters and audience are located outside China.

    We recommend that you select a live center that is near to the casters. Then, ApsaraVideo Live can ingest streams to the live center.

    • Edge ingest

      Alibaba Cloud provides CDN nodes that cover major countries. By using edge ingest, ApsaraVideo Live delivers streams to the edge nodes that are nearest to the casters. Then, ApsaraVideo Live uses the network that is optimized by Alibaba Cloud to deliver the streams to the live center that you specify.

    • Real-time monitoring of network conditions

      To monitor the network conditions of a caster, perform the following steps: Log on to the ApsaraVideo Live console. In the left-side navigation pane, choose Stream Management > Ingest Endpoints. Then, click Stream Monitoring in the Actions column of a stream to check the stream ingest status and network conditions of the caster in real time. This helps ensure the stability of stream ingest. For more information, see Manage streams.

      You can also query the real-time frame rate and bitrate of a stream by calling the DescribeLiveDomainFrameRateAndBitRateData operation. For more information, see DescribeLiveDomainFrameRateAndBitRateData.

How do I select an edge group for domain names?

When you add a domain name for CDN to ApsaraVideo Live in the ApsaraVideo Live console, you must set the Edge Group parameter. An edge group is used to specify the geographic range for CDN acceleration. Valid values include Mainland China, Global, and Outside Mainland China. A value of Global indicates that CDN acceleration is to be separately implemented in mainland China and Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China. It does not indicate the acceleration between regions in and outside mainland China.

  • If your casters and audience are located in mainland China, select a region in mainland China as the live center for the ingest domains and streaming domains, and set the Edge Group parameter to Mainland China.
  • If your casters and audience are located in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China, select the Singapore (Singapore) region as the live center for the ingest domains and streaming domains. Then, set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China.
  • When you select a region outside China as the live center, select the region that is nearest to the casters and audience. If the region where your casters and audience are located cannot be specified as a live center, submit a ticket to seek help. Alibaba Cloud engineers will provide suggestions on the selection of live centers.
  • If your casters and audience are located in two or more geographic ranges, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China, set the Edge Group parameter to Global or Outside Mainland China for streaming domains. A value of Global indicates CDN acceleration in the three geographic ranges, whereas a value of Outside Mainland China excludes CDN acceleration in mainland China.
    Note
    • Unit prices of Alibaba Cloud CDN bandwidth and traffic for live streaming vary with the edge group. CDN acceleration is enabled only when users make playback requests in a specific edge group and bills are generated based on the unit prices for the edge group. Assume that you set this parameter to Global or global based on the configuration channel and only users in mainland China make playback requests. In this case, CDN acceleration is not enabled outside mainland China and no corresponding fees are charged. For more information about the billing rules, see Fees of ApsaraVideo Live and the Pricing page of ApsaraVideo Live.

Guidance for the selection of live center

Where your casters are located Where your audience is located Requirements for the region as the live center and the edge group for streaming domains Description
Mainland China Mainland China
  • Select the China (Shanghai), China (Beijing), China (Shenzhen), or China (Qingdao) region as the live center if you do not need to use a production studio.
  • Select the China (Shanghai) region as the live center if you need to use a production studio.
  • If you use OSS to store recording files and snapshots, make sure that your OSS bucket is in the same region as the live center.
N/A
Mainland China Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China
  • Select the China (Shanghai), China (Beijing), China (Shenzhen), or China (Qingdao) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China for streaming domains.
In this scenario, the casters are located in mainland China, whereas the audience is located in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China.
Mainland China Singapore Solution 1:
  • Select the China (Shanghai), China (Beijing), China (Shenzhen), or China (Qingdao) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China for streaming domains.

Solution 2:

  • Select the Singapore (Singapore) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China for streaming domains.
This scenario supports the goChina cross-border live streaming.

The Singapore (Singapore) region and the four regions in mainland China support a two-way configuration. No matter whether you use the Singapore (Singapore) region or a region in mainland China as the live center for domain names, streams can be ingested from mainland China, where your casters are located, and delivered to Singapore, where most of your audience is located.

Singapore Mainland China Solution 1:
  • Select the China (Shanghai), China (Beijing), China (Shenzhen), or China (Qingdao) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China for streaming domains.

Solution 2:

  • Select the Singapore (Singapore) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China for streaming domains.
This scenario supports the goChina cross-border live streaming.

The Singapore (Singapore) region and the four regions in mainland China support a two-way configuration. No matter whether you use the Singapore (Singapore) region or a region in mainland China as the live center for domain names, streams can be ingested from Singapore, where your casters are located, and delivered to mainland China, where most of your audience is located.

If you give consideration to the part of audience that is located outside China, you can set the Edge Group parameter to Global.

Mainland China Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China
  • Select the China (Shanghai), China (Beijing), China (Shenzhen), or China (Qingdao) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Global for streaming domains.
In this scenario, the casters are located in mainland China, whereas the audience is located both in and outside mainland China.
Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China
  • Select the Japan (Tokyo), Germany (Frankfurt), Indonesia (Jakarta), India (Mumbai), or Singapore (Singapore) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Outside Mainland China for streaming domains.
N/A
Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and countries and regions outside China Mainland China
  • Select the China (Shanghai), China (Beijing), China (Shenzhen), or China (Qingdao) region as the live center for ingest domains and streaming domains.
  • Set the Edge Group parameter to Global for streaming domains.

If you give consideration to the part of audience that is located outside China, you can set the Edge Group parameter to Global.

What are the causes for playback stuttering during live streaming?

In most cases, playback stuttering is caused because stuttering occurs during stream ingest. You can troubleshoot this issue based on the following causes for stuttering that occurs during stream ingest:

  • Improper configuration of the video capture device

    A specific amount of CPU resources is consumed during stream ingest. For mobile phones with dated hardware, if the overall CPU utilization exceeds 80% during the stream ingest, screen flickers and stuttering may occur at different levels. Meanwhile, the video capture and user experience are affected.

  • Improper configuration of the video capture rate

    For human eyes, a video with a frame rate of 15 frames per second (FPS) or higher looks smooth. If the frame rate of a video is less than 10 FPS, stuttering may frequently occur during the playback. You can set the video frame rate to 15 FPS or higher unless otherwise specified.

    The higher the frame rate of a video, the more fluent the motion is perceived. However, when the frame rate exceeds 30 FPS, human eyes cannot recognize the effect. Meanwhile, increasing the frame rate of a video also increases the transmission bandwidth. Therefore, we recommend that you set an appropriate frame rate.

  • Insufficient network bandwidth

    In most scenarios, stuttering occurs during the playback due to unstable network conditions. The following common causes may lead to stuttering:

    • A lower network bandwidth: Contact your Internet service provider to confirm your network bandwidth size and check whether the bandwidth is sufficient for the stream.
    • Consumed downstream bandwidth: Check whether the network bandwidth is consumed by downloading activities.
    • Consumed system resources: Check whether a large number of programs are running in the background. You can delete or stop the running programs that are no longer needed to release the resources.