BRAVE Protocol for Live Streaming – Ensuring Reliability for Remote Productions

Sports production can be stressful and is often constrained by budget. It is often the case that once the production team is onsite, or when a news journalist reaches their anchor point, the promised infrastructure in terms of network bandwidth and availability is never quite as promised. Sound familiar?

Ensuring live streaming goals such as reliability and strict broadcast deadlines should be addressed by everyone involved before going to the site. How does one ensure the encoding technology for live streaming can cope and adapt to changing circumstances? This is where the BRAVE protocol can mitigate risks of unreliable networks to ensure reliable live streaming.

BRAVE Streaming Protocol

As remote productions continue to grow in popularity, especially in sports, while other live streaming events such as news reporting, corporate events, and concerts are using a range of video encoders, and radio stations are using audio encoders, these events become more commoditized. Robust solutions like the BRAVE streaming protocol become increasingly important.

Developed by Prodys, a leading company in audio and video encoding technology, the BRAVE protocol offers advanced features designed to adapt to the complex demands of remote live broadcasting.

Understanding BRAVE Protocol Fundamentals

The BRAVE protocol, embedded within Prodys’ Quantum encoders, is engineered to ensure seamless media transmission across unreliable networks. Here’s a closer look at some of its core features and topologies that highlight the critical role of effective management in remote productions.

Basic Features of BRAVE:

  • Automatic Receive Buffer Management: This feature adjusts dynamically to manage synchronization issues, thus minimizing delay. The ability to auto-adjust ensures that broadcasters can maintain the lowest possible latency, crucial for live streaming events.
  • Packet Recovery: By forwarding lost IP packets, the BRAVE protocol ensures data integrity and smooth transmission, which is indispensable for maintaining the quality of both video and audio streams.
  • Redundant Connections: These connections add a layer of reliability by establishing multiple pathways for data transmission, ensuring continuous broadcast even in less stable network conditions.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: This feature allows operators to observe communications in real-time, enabling quick responses to any issues that may arise, ensuring the broadcast remains uninterrupted.

Advanced Features and Network Topologies

BRAVE’s advanced features support diverse topological configurations, each critical for various broadcasting needs.

  1. Bonding Mode: This topology splits a high bandwidth media stream across several Network Interface Cards (NICs) that may include 4G routers or other wireless communication devices such as Starlink. Unlike traditional static partitioning, the BRAVE bonding driver dynamically balances the workload per networking interface based on current uplink capacity and dropout rates. For example, in high-demand scenarios like live sports or concerts, this mode ensures high resilience and continuity even if one or more NICs or other networks fail.
  • Diversity Mode: Ideal for field news reporters, this mode leverages multiple NICs at the remote encoder, all directed to a single point gateway at the studio. The approach prioritizes the first arriving data packet, discarding subsequent duplicates. This increases the reliability of audio encoder transmissions from remote sites, which tend to have more variable and unstable internet access compared to stable studio connections.
  • Diversity 2×2 Mode: Serving permanent connections or Studio Transmitter Link (STL) applications, this setup employs two NICs at both ends, ensuring redundancy. Each NIC sends a full copy of the media stream, making this configuration optimal for critical applications needing fully independent transmission networks, such as Priority and Backup networks.
  • Multiunicast: Enabling transmission to up to 10 locations, this mode allows for each link to be independently toggled without affecting others. Such flexibility is beneficial for broadcasting networks seeking to reach a wide audience with minimal disruption.
  • Independent Tx/Rx: A versatile mode that allows sending a stream to one destination while receiving another stream from a different source. This configuration is particularly useful for interactive broadcast sessions, such as interviews or live shows, where incoming and outgoing broadcasts need to be managed simultaneously.
  • Combinations of Modes: BRAVE’s flexibility allows for combining different topologies. For instance, MultiUnicast can be paired with Diversity or Bonding, and Independent Tx/Rx can combine with 2×2 Diversity, providing broadcasters with tailored solutions to meet specific production needs.

Importance of Stream Management in Remote Productions

The role of stream management in remote productions and live streaming cannot be overstated. Effective management ensures high-quality, uninterrupted broadcasts, which is fundamental for maintaining viewer engagement and trust. Key industry applications include:

  • News Broadcasting: Essential for timely and reliable live news coverage from various locations.
  • Sports and Concerts: Critical for synchronizing multiple high-definition video streams from different camera angles.
  • Radio Stations: Vital for ensuring consistent audio quality in live shows and remote DJs and remote field reporting.

By utilizing the BRAVE protocol, broadcasters can harness advanced technologies like robust audio encoders and broadcast encoders for live streaming. This enhances remote radio broadcast equipment capabilities, ensuring reliable and high-quality content delivery across diverse and challenging environments.

In the ever-evolving landscape of remote broadcasting, the BRAVE protocol from Prodys stands out as a cornerstone solution that combines resilience, advanced network topologies, and real-time management. For professionals across the broadcasting industry, adopting such robust solutions is vital for keeping pace with the demands of live streaming and delivering a seamless viewing experience to audiences worldwide.