This topic shows you how to prevent stuttering and network instability and accelerate live streaming when the streamers and viewers reside in different countries.

Differences between live streaming in and outside the Chinese mainland

Compared with live streaming in the Chinese mainland, live streaming outside the Chinese mainland has the following requirements:
  • The edge group of the streaming domain name, live center, and uplink and downlink monitoring

    When you stream across different countries, you can select the most suitable live center and edge group to prevent unstable transmission and mitigate video stuttering.

    You can monitor the uplink frame rate and bitrate to check the live streaming status of the streamers in real time, and collect downlink playback statistics to understand viewing behavior.

  • Qualifications, including Internet Content Provider (ICP) filings for domain names

    To use a domain name to provide live streaming services for viewers in the Chinese mainland, you must apply for an ICP filing for the domain name, regardless of whether the streamers reside in or outside the Chinese mainland.

  • Features of ApsaraVideo Live for live streaming outside the Chinese mainland
    • ApsaraVideo Live allows you to encrypt active live streams outside the Chinese mainland, especially in scenarios in which live streams are ingested and played outside the Chinese mainland.
    • ApsaraVideo Live supports adaptive bitrate streaming depending on the network conditions. Adaptive bitrate streaming meets the requirements for long-distance transmission over cross-border links.
    • ApsaraVideo Live provides a Secure Reliable Transport (SRT)-compliant solution for cross-border live streaming of National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) regulation-based activities, events, and concerts.

Solutions for different scenarios in terms of network link optimization

Live streaming outside the Chinese mainland

Problem description

  • The viewers are widely distributed around the globe, and your streams cannot reach all of the viewers.
  • The locations of the streamers are not fixed. In addition, the network transmission is unstable, and the live streaming quality is low.
  • Live streams are easily affected by poor network conditions due to long transmission links. As a result, stuttering occurs.

Solution

ApsaraVideo Live provides live centers in the Germany (Frankfurt), Singapore (Singapore), and Japan (Tokyo) regions for streamers outside the Chinese mainland. We recommend that you select a live center near the streamers. Then, ApsaraVideo Live can ingest streams to the nearest live center.
  1. Configure edge ingest.
    Alibaba Cloud CDN provides edge nodes that cover most countries or regions. ApsaraVideo Live uses edge ingest to deliver streams to the edge nodes that are nearest to the streamers. Then, ApsaraVideo Live uses the network that is optimized by Alibaba Cloud to deliver the streams to the live center that you specify.
    Note ApsaraVideo Live uses edge ingest to distribute content for streaming domains that are added after February 21, 2019. If your streaming domain is still using the live center ingest mode, we recommend that you submit a ticket to switch to the edge ingest mode.
  2. Monitor the network conditions in real time.
    • To monitor the network conditions of a streamer in real time, perform the following steps: Log on to the ApsaraVideo Live console. In the left-side navigation pane, choose Stream Management > Ingest Endpoints. On the Ingest Endpoint Management page, select the domain name that you want to query. Then, click Stream Monitoring in the Actions column of a stream to check the stream ingest status and network conditions of the streamer in real time. This helps ensure the stability of stream ingest. For more information, see Manage streams.

    • To query the real-time frame rate and bitrate of a stream, you can call the DescribeLiveDomainFrameRateAndBitRateData operation. For more information, see DescribeLiveDomainFrameRateAndBitRateData.
Note If your live streams stutter frequently, you can activate Global Accelerator based on your business requirements. You can also submit a ticket to contact us for link optimization.

Features of ApsaraVideo Live for live streaming outside the Chinese mainland

Note By default, the following features are disabled in the ApsaraVideo Live console. To apply to enable these features, submit a ticket.
  • Content moderation

    ApsaraVideo Live provides Alibaba Cloud proprietary cryptography. Live streams are encrypted in live centers based on the cooperation between the server and players. In addition, Key Management Service (KMS) is used to dynamically manage keys. To decrypt and play live streams, you must use a player that is allowed by the server. For more information, see Alibaba Cloud video encryption.

  • Adaptive bitrate streaming

    If the uplink network conditions permit, you may be inclined to set parameters to values that can produce a higher definition. For example, set a higher bitrate. However, network conditions are complex and changeable. To meet downlink playback requirements in a variety of environments, you can enable adaptive bitrate streaming. This way, the live streams are played at an appropriate bitrate based on the viewers' network conditions. After you enable adaptive bitrate streaming, the player automatically selects the best definition when the viewers start to play a live stream. When the player detects that the viewer is in poor network conditions, the player switches to play the live stream at a lower bitrate.

  • RTS

    The RTS feature supports end-to-end live streaming with a latency of 1.5 seconds. Uplink streams are ingested based on Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). In terms of downlink stream playback, the Alibaba Real-Time Communication (ARTC) protocol is supported in addition to RTMP, Flash Video (FLV), and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). ARTC is evolved based open source Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC). You can add sub-streaming domains to ensure ultra-low-latency streaming based on ARTC. You can use ApsaraVideo Player SDK, RTS netSDK, or a self-developed SDK to integrate RTS to your business logic. The time required for instant loading and the stuttering rate of RTS are less than or equal to those of RTMP streaming. For more information, see RTS Real-time Streaming.

  • Low-latency HLS (LHLS)

    LHLS is developed to reduce the latency over the HLS protocol. LHLS can reduce the latency of HLS from a range of 15 to 30 seconds to a range of 3 to 5 seconds.

  • Live streaming based on SRT and Dolby Atmos

    This feature is applicable to the live streaming of professional, large-scale NRTA regulation-based events. For more information, see Live streaming based on SRT and Dolby Atmos.