ISP tests high-quality streaming for shuttle launch

Japanese ISP will collect data on network, app quality of video streaming system

A Japanese ISP (Internet service provider) is using Wednesday's launch of the Space Shuttle to test a high-quality video streaming system.

Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) will provide live video of the launch to a handful of cable TV networks in Japan using DV over IP (Digital Video over Internet Protocol), a technology that allows the transmission of uncompressed video across an IP link, said Kaori Kawakami, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo company. The video stream will be about 30Mbps.

There is great interest in Shuttle mission STS-114 in Japan because the crew includes Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Noguchi is scheduled to make three space walks as part of the mission.

The video feed will be transmitted from Kennedy Space Center to JAXA in Tokyo via satellite, from where it will be picked up by IIJ and converted into a form suitable for streaming. The DV over IP system will carry it across IIJ's IP backbone to cable TV networks where it will be converted back into a conventional TV signal for viewing on television.

Use of the DV over IP system is common in academic and experimental networks but this test, which will actually take place early Thursday morning due to the time difference between Tokyo and Cape Canaveral, is fairly unusual because it is being done with commercial entities, said Kawakami. As part of the trial IIJ will be collecting data on network and applications quality with the hope of improving the system in the future.