This is a project I'd like some help with. I'm not looking for Best Practices in optimizing my own personal .home network, I'm a network engineer myself. There is a company that has partnered with just about every Live Sports & Entertainment organization & has sold them solutions to provide content for their live events. The company's primary focus is on obtaining new programming and NOT ensuring their infrastructure can actually support the end users paying to watch the Live Streaming Content. The 'quality' they sell to these major Sports and Entertainment organizations is based on their 'intent' and 'capability' not what is received at the other end. As a result every major sports and entertainment organization is turning their Live Streaming capabilities over to this company. The end users unhappy with the 'quality' contact the sports entity they purchase the service from, who directs them to the content provider for technical support. The content provider doesn't consider those end users to be their customers & blames the poor quality on everything from the user's home network, browser selection, device, internet provider speed / quality, and everything up to their infrastructure. They don't care because their customers are the programming providers. And the programming providers don't hear the complaints because they're sent to the content provider. Meanwhile this company is continuing to add MORE AND MORE programming and MORE AND MORE devices to receive the programming, without addressing what appears to be a serious flaw in their network infrastructure.
If anyone is interested in a fun project, I'd like to try and isolate / identify the ACTUAL issue with their network & bring it to the attention of the Programming Providers. I'm about 80% sure that the issue has something to do with their load balancing system and [possibly an error with] the algorithm they use for load balancing at the network and server level. That's assuming the constant re-routing and offloading requests in not intentional to disguise the inability for their infrastructure to handle the requests.
The company is called Neulion. They provide live streaming for most of the major sports leagues [NHL, AHL, NFL, NBA, Olympics, College Sports, Live Fights etc] and have even made a deal with the new Barclay's Center in Brooklyn to Live Stream entertainment events at Barclay's Center. For example the NHL sells their customers an 'NHL Game Center Live' package whereby they can receive every out of market game for the entire season [supposedly in Full HD]. The customer is then able to watch the game on just about any device from their PC, Internet TV, Phone, Tablet and most of the new internet TV devices [Roku, AppleTV, a device Neulion actually makes].
Users able to do EVERYTHING else from Full HD on Amazon & Netflix to live stream gaming [and live streams on site hosted by other companies] VoiP, etc Are UNABLE to watch an uninterrupted, lag-free video stream in HD using this company's service. I'm speaking for a significant number of other users out here. The issue doesn't appear to be bandwidth, home wireless networks or any of the other common things that would cause issues in all other forms of streaming media. They can't even effectively serve archived [non-live] games. [I'll get to what this has to do with OpenDNS in a minute...]
The sports leagues are likely unaware of the issues because neulion also conveniently handles their technical support calls, and since 99.9% of the issues [according to neulion] occur outside of their infrastructure, they have no reason to include most of their service calls / complaints to the leagues offering the programming.
There's a few things that seem strange to me going on when I connect to their networks & some even stranger things I heard from neulion executives regarding their infrastructure that seem a little off to me. Being the curious person that I am, I'm trying to isolate exactly where or what the issue with this particular content provider that doesn't seem to impact any other major content provider out there. Are they actually overselling programming to more customers and devices than their infrastructure can handle? Is there an error or bug in their load balancing algorithm? Is it really just an optimization issue on my home network laptop that will resolve the issue? I don't think it's a bandwidth issue, but if buying a T1 line right to my home will fix the issue -- I'd do it. I have reason to believe this might mitigate some of the issues but not get to the root cause.
There are some people who have claimed that Neulion's load balancers route requests geographically based on the geographic location of the user which is obtained using the DNS server being used by an endpoint. This doesn't seem likely to me as I'm not entirely sure their load balancers would be able to easily access this information, it's not an entirely accurate means of obtaining location & doesn't explain my requests being constantly rerouted across the US every few seconds when I was previously using my ISPs DNS servers]. As people are telling consumers NOT to use globally-based DNS such as OPEN DNS, claiming it causes issues with neulion's ability to determine the users actual location [again I personally don't see this as the issue] I thought at the very least someone might be able to assist me in determining the ACTUAL issue in order to stop people from discouraging other from using OpenDNS.
If anyone is interested in helping me reverse engineer a content provider's network & load balancing infrastructure, let me know. I'll post some of the technical details & specs of my network & a few others I've had the issue with in a few minutes. I know u need the technical detail info, I just need to grab some lunch & will post it here along with the weird behavior I'm seeing.
If anyone else has had significant issues getting clear / uninterrupted HD quality live stream from Neulion & knows more information about either how to bypass the constant rerouting or knows more specifically WHAT their issue is, I'd appreciate some more information.
Also, if anyone can recommend the best software to help troubleshoot this, I'd appreciate it. I'd like to be able to see the traffic destined between myself & Neuline's content network and trace the PATH it is taking to get there. [I don't mean like a traceroute from my machine -- I want to see the path being taken for the actual packets leaving my network when trying to watch one of their programs.
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