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F.A.Q

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Integration, devices, protocols and technologies

How do I integrate Peer5?

Peer5 is integrated by deploying two lines of Javascript on the web page where the video player resides. The first line is the Peer5.js script and the second line is the Peer5 player plugin.

The supported players are listed here.

For instance, for the VideoJS player, the two scripts are:

1
2
<script src="//api.peer5.com/peer5.js?id=PEER5_CUSTOMER_ID"></script>
<script src="//api.peer5.com/peer5.video-js7.plugin.js"></script>

What happens after the integration?

Once Peer5 is integrated, users can fetch video segments from either an edge (HTTP) server or from their peer group, depending on which channel is performing better at that moment in time. As more chunk requests are handled by the peer group (a notion that we define as "Peer Efficiency"), the content provider sees dramatic reductions in server load and, consequently, higher stream quality (faster load times, less buffering, longer viewing sessions) for all viewers.


What is WebRTC?

WebRTC enables individual web browsers to communicate directly with each other, without having to pass through an intervening server. Google Meet is built on top of WebRTC, as are services such as Snapchat, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. WebRTC has long been incorporated into the HTML5 standard and is fully supported in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge.


How do I disable Peer5 on a specific page?

In order to disable the Peer5 technology for specific pages, you can use our granular Javascript API.


What video streaming protocols and players does Peer5 support?

Peer5 currently supports the HLS and MPEG DASH streaming protocols. We also support the JW, Video.js, Shaka, Radiant, Flow, Kaltura, Brightcove, Theo, Bitmovin and Clappr video players (see full list here). And we're constantly integrating with new technologies. If you are interested in using Peer5 with technologies that we don’t already support, please let us know and we will see if we can accommodate you.


Does Peer5 work on mobile devices?

Yes. Mobile devices are supported, both via mobile web and with native applications. We have SDKs for Android, iOS and other platforms.


Do mobile users participate on the peer-to-peer network

By default, mobile devices will not upload data if they are on cellular networks, but they can still benefit from P2P by downloading from other peers. We make our upload decisions based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to: a user’s available resources, upload capacity and type of network (cellular or other). To change the default behavior of mobile / cellular peers you can use the deployment section of your account's dashboard or the Javascript API


Security and privacy

How secure is the Peer5 service?

Peer5 uses the WebRTC data channel to transfer data between users. The data channel is secured using SCTP protocols and TLS encryption. Communication with the Peer5 backend is done via secure WebSocket, which also uses TLS encryption.

Existing content protection and geo-fencing schemes remain the same when Peer5 is enabled.

Read more about Peer5 security here.


Does Peer5 work with DRM?

Yes. Peer5 works with different types of DRM and content protection schemes.


How does Peer5 keep information secure?

The information gathered from end-users is done so over secured (TLS) channels. At rest the data is on encrypted disks (AES256) Additionally, the Peer5 admin-console is the main interface for IT personnel to monitor & control the Peer5 system. Users of the Peer5 admin-console login using user & password which are stored using the industry standard practices using salt & hash separately.

Read more about Peer5 security here.


Do you comply with GDPR? What other vendors do you depend on?

Peer5 is well aware of legal and conceptual changes in the fields of privacy and data protection.With the coming into force of the GDPR on May 25, 2018, a new standard is set, to which we, and many of our partners and clients, are subject to. Data protection is a core value at Peer5, and we take the necessary measures to ensure that our practices, policies and procedures adhere to applicable law and industry standards.

PEER5 DOES NOT PROCESS OR COLLECT PERSONAL DATA REGARDING ITS CUSTOMERS’ END-USERS.

However, please note that Peer5 is using a certified CDN provider (currently Cloudflare - see here ) to host and deliver javascript files to end users.This is a common way to deliver static files over the internet.


P2P CDN Technology

How does Peer5 work?

Peer5 works in combination with a publisher’s origin server, CDN or Multi-CDN architecture. We use WebRTC to create a peer-to-peer mesh network that helps users download video content from each other. Our hybrid switching algorithm determines whether a viewer should download the next segment from Peer5’s p2p network or the publisher’s HTTP delivery system. This allows Peer5 to dramatically reduce a content provider’s bandwidth usage, while also maximizing the viewing experience for end users.


How does your platform increase reliability?

The use of a P2P service in combination with a standard HTTP-based client-server distribution architecture can dramatically increase transmission reliability. All of the typical HTTP protocols are followed, but the P2P layer makes data transfer more geographically agnostic, less susceptible to peak demand issues and reduces failures in other abnormal conditions. This is especially true for bandwidth-constrained networks, such as corporate networks. Peer5 ECDN can greatly improve video quality and help prevent network overload during high-concurrency streaming events.


What is ECDN?

ECDN stands for Enterprise Content Delivery Network. Typically an ECDN is used to solve the network congestion that exists in corporate networks during high-concurrent video streaming. Instead of unicast for each device on the network ECDNs can reach end users in ways that do not overload the entry points to the local network. See more about ECDN technologies here.

Peer5 offers the first P2P ECDN that is optimized for corporate networks and is based on WebRTC.


How do you improve rebuffering and video loading speeds?

Peer5 boosts video streams by using our proprietary P2P CDN. Our CDN fetches a stream from other people watching the same content. By retrieving streams that are closer to the viewer using P2P technology, videos load faster. The faster a video segment loads, the less likely your entire stream is to rebuffer. At the same time that a stream is being transmitted using our P2P mesh network, it is also concurrently loading through servers. This means that data will never transfer slower than if the P2P layer did not exist.


How popular does my content need to be?

Peer5 views content popularity in terms of number of concurrent users. With our P2P system, the higher the concurrency, the better. At peaks, Peer5 has held hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers and offloaded over 99% of all bandwidth. However, a swarm with only 10 viewers can experience bandwidth offloading rates of approximately 70%. This means that even content that isn't highly popular can be efficiently delivered with Peer5. With only 40 concurrent peers in the swarm, Peer5 reaches 80% offloading.

This is true whether the content is live or VOD; what matters the most is concurrency.


Why is your technology more scalable than other CDNs?

Our platform is scalable thanks to the P2P aspect of our content distribution protocol. The more of these nodes there are, the better the connection an individual has to the content that he or she is trying to load. As more people use the Peer5 platform, a greater number of nodes exist, which in turn improves the system's content delivery capabilities. This is the opposite of the traditional CDN model, in which each user connects to and gets streams from servers individually. This is the reason that our P2P CDN is so effective during peak demand and why it increases our customer’s server capacity by so much.


Is it possible to stream video from one peer to another without using a server?

No. In order to use peer5, a proper HLS/DASH stream is needed.


What is Peer Efficiency and why does it matter?

Peer Efficiency is the percentage of content delivery that is offloaded to the P2P network at a given time. HTTP-based CDNs use the term “cache hit ratio”, which is a very similar concept. CDNs usually measure the ratio as requests served from the CDN divided by the total number of requests. Peer Efficiency is calculated by dividing the number of bytes delivered from the P2P network by the total number of bytes delivered (P2P + HTTP). As Peer Efficiency increases, one is able to achieve massive scalability gains while simultaneously improving the stream quality for each viewer, as illustrated in the table below where we assume viewers receive a 1 Mbps stream from a single origin server:

Peer Efficiency Avg p2p Bitrate Avg HTTP Bitrate Increase in Scalability
(% Off-load) (Mbps) (Mbps)
0 0.00 1.00 None
50 0.50 0.50 2X
90 0.90 0.10 10X
98 0.98 0.02 50X
99 0.99 0.01 100X
99.9 0.999 0.001 1000X

If you’re able to off-load half of the requests for segments to the P2P network (50% Peer Efficiency), then your origin server is working 50% less than it was before and you can now service an audience that is twice (2x) as large without having to deploy additional hardware. If peer efficiency reaches 99%, then your server is doing 1% of the work it previously did and you can now service an audience that is 100x bigger (1 / 0.01 = 100). Because it is a logarithmic function, small gains in Peer Efficiency (e.g., from 99% to 99.9%) result in an order of magnitude improvement in scalability (100X to 1000X).

For instance, Peer5 broadcasted an event that reached 440,000 concurrent viewers and achieved 99% Peer Efficiency.

While Peer Efficiency is typically highest during large events (the most popular content), Peer5 has also achieved excellent off-loading ratios even when there is a small number of concurrent viewers. In fact, Peer5 has seen 50% Peer Efficiency for streams with only 5 concurrent viewers. This means that even less popular content can be efficiently delivered with Peer5. See more in this blog post.


#User Experience

How much benefit will users see from Peer5?

How big of a benefit users experience depends on the number of peers, their connections as well as other factors. Nevertheless, our P2P transfer is a very efficient system and the benefit can be very significant. In many cases, we can reduce instances of rebuffering by roughly 50%. Further, our video streaming technology makes sure the user gets the best possible experience at all times. We do so by obtaining data from the very best peers using our proprietary mapping algorithm. This optimizes the user’s network connection and ensures a low latency viewing experience with minimal interruption.


Can Peer5 ever harm user experience?

No. Peer5 can never deteriorate user experience. Peer5's guiding principles include maximizing experience and reliability, so our hybrid switching algorithm only uses peers when end users will benefit from it. Most video streams load faster, are watched for longer and experience less rebuffering with Peer5's CDN than without it. When a user has no peers or when using them might deteriorate user experience, Peer5 only uses the server.


Can Peer5 add a delay to a user's stream?

No. Video segments are never played later than they would be without Peer5. If a video segment cannot be loaded from peers in a timely manner, it is fetched from servers. This means that Peer5 will never add a delay to a video stream.


Can Peer5 work in a low latency streaming setup?

We support configurations of low latency streaming for HLS and DASH. We’re validating the support in the LL-HLS spec as it stabilizes. Support for the chunked-encoding flavor of CMAF is on the roadmap.

Our peer efficiency is impacted when working in lower latency, but we won't add latency.


How does Peer5 impact a user's upstream bandwidth?

Peer5 works with whatever bandwidth is free for upstream use and will not impact other applications that require uploads at the same time as Peer5. Changes to upstream bandwidth are unnoticeable to the end user.


Does your technology require any user side plugins?

No. There are absolutely no plugins or add-ons necessary for a viewer to watch streams powered by Peer5. The entire viewing experience is completely seamless to the user. This is because we always use WebRTC.


What happens if a user doesn’t have WebRTC?

If a user doesn't have WebRTC, the user will seamlessly fallback to normal server usage. However, WebRTC has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Facebook Messenger, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and many other well-known companies use WebRTC. Approximately 95% of potential viewers have access to WebRTC.


Peer5 Accounts and Billing

How can I get a Peer5 account?

You can click here to contact us about signing up for an account.


How much does Peer5 cost?

You can send us a message to get a price quote.


Need extra help? Chat with us or send us an email