QoS Adaptation in Multimedia Multicast Conference Applications for E-Learning Services

Sérgio Deusdado, Paulo Carvalho

Universidade do Minho
Departamento de Informática
P-4710-057 Braga, Portugal

Tel.: +351 253 604430
Fax.: +351 253 604471
E-mail: pmc (at) di.uminho.pt


The evolution of the World Wide Web (WWW) service has incorporated new distributed multimedia conference applications, powering a new generation of e-learning development, and allowing improved interactivity and pro- human relations. Groupware applications are increasingly representative in the Internet home applications market, however, the Quality of Service (QoS) provided by the network is still a limitation impairing their performance. Such applications have found in multicast technology an ally contributing for their efficient implementation and scalability.

Additionally, consider QoS as design goal at application level becomes crucial for groupware development, enabling QoS proactivity to applications. The applications’ ability to adapt themselves dynamically according to the resources availability can be considered a quality factor.

Tolerant real-time applications, such as videoconferences, are in the frontline to benefit from QoS adaptation. However, not all include adaptive technology able to provide both end-system and network quality awareness. Adaptation, in these cases, can be achieved by introducing a multiplatform middleware layer responsible for tutoring the applications' resources (enabling adjudication or limitation) based on the available processing and networking capabilities.

Congregating these technological contributions, an adaptive platform has been developed integrating public domain multicast tools, applied to a web-based distance learning system. The system is user-centered (e-student), aiming at good pedagogical practices and proactive usability for multimedia and network resources. The services provided, including QoS adapted interactive multimedia multicast conferences (MMC), are fully integrated and transparent to end-users. QoS adaptation, when treated systematically in tolerant real-time applications, denotes advantages in group scalability and QoS sustainability in heterogeneous and unpredictable environments such as the Internet.

Int Journal of Distance Education Technologies, ISSN:1539-3100, 4 (4): 56-68, Idea Group Inc Pub, 2006