3.5. Feedback Messages
This section describes the semantics of the different feedback
messages and how they apply to the different use cases.
3.5.1. Full Intra Request Command
A Full Intra Request (FIR) Command, when received by the designated
media sender, requires that the media sender sends a Decoder Refresh
Point (see section 2.2) at the earliest opportunity. The evaluation
of such an opportunity includes the current encoder coding strategy
and the current available network resources.
FIR is also known as an "instantaneous decoder refresh request",
"fast video update request" or "video fast update request".
Using a decoder refresh point implies refraining from using any
picture sent prior to that point as a reference for the encoding
process of any subsequent picture sent in the stream. For predictive
media types that are not video, the analogue applies. For example,
if in MPEG-4 systems scene updates are used, the decoder refresh
point consists of the full representation of the scene and is not
delta-coded relative to previous updates.
Decoder refresh points, especially Intra or IDR pictures, are in
general several times larger in size than predicted pictures. Thus,
in scenarios in which the available bit rate is small, the use of a
decoder refresh point implies a delay that is significantly longer
than the typical picture duration.
Usage in multicast is possible; however, aggregation of the commands
is recommended. A receiver that receives a request closely after
sending a decoder refresh point -- within 2 times the longest round
trip time (RTT) known, plus any AVPF-induced RTCP packet sending
delays -- should await a second request message to ensure that the
media receiver has not been served by the previously delivered
decoder refresh point. The reason for the specified delay is to
avoid sending unnecessary decoder refresh points. A session
participant may have sent its own request while another participant's
request was in-flight to them. Suppressing those requests that may
have been sent without knowledge about the other request avoids this
Using the FIR command to recover from errors is explicitly
disallowed, and instead the PLI message defined in AVPF [RFC4585]
should be used. The PLI message reports lost pictures and has been
included in AVPF for precisely that purpose.
Full Intra Request is applicable in use-cases 1 and 2.
The FIR message results in the delivery of a decoder refresh point,
unless the message is lost. Decoder refresh points are easily
identifiable from the bit stream. Therefore, there is no need for
protocol-level notification, and a simple command repetition
mechanism is sufficient for ensuring the level of reliability
required. However, the potential use of repetition does require a
mechanism to prevent the recipient from responding to messages
already received and responded to.
To ensure the best possible reliability, a sender of FIR may repeat
the FIR until the desired content has been received. The repetition
interval is determined by the RTCP timing rules applicable to the
session. Upon reception of a complete decoder refresh point or the
detection of an attempt to send a decoder refresh point (which got
damaged due to a packet loss), the repetition of the FIR must stop.
If another FIR is necessary, the request sequence number must be
increased. A FIR sender shall not have more than one FIR (different
request sequence number) outstanding at any time per media sender in
The receiver of FIR (i.e., the media sender) behaves in complementary
fashion to ensure delivery of a decoder refresh point. If it
receives repetitions of the FIR more than 2*RTT after it has sent a
decoder refresh point, it shall send a new decoder refresh point.
Two round trip times allow time for the decoder refresh point to
arrive back to the requestor and for the end of repetitions of FIR to
reach and be detected by the media sender.
An RTP mixer or RTP switching MCU that receive a FIR from a media
receiver is responsible to ensure that a decoder refresh point is
delivered to the requesting receiver. It may be necessary for the
mixer/MCU to generate FIR commands. From a reliability perspective,
the two legs (FIR-requesting endpoint to mixer/MCU, and mixer/MCU to
decoder refresh point generating endpoint) are handled independently
from each other.
3.5.2. Temporal-Spatial Trade-off Request and Notification
The Temporal-Spatial Trade-off Request (TSTR) instructs the video
encoder to change its trade-off between temporal and spatial
resolution. Index values from 0 to 31 indicate monotonically a
desire for higher frame rate. That is, a requester asking for an
index of 0 prefers a high quality and is willing to accept a low
frame rate, whereas a requester asking for 31 wishes a high frame
rate, potentially at the cost of low spatial quality.
In general, the encoder reaction time may be significantly longer
than the typical picture duration. See use case 3 for an example.
The encoder decides whether and to what extent the request results in
a change of the trade-off. It returns a Temporal-Spatial Trade-off
Notification (TSTN) message to indicate the trade-off that it will
TSTR and TSTN have been introduced primarily because it is believed
that control protocol mechanisms, e.g., a SIP re-invite, are too
heavyweight and too slow to allow for a reasonable user experience.
Consider, for example, a user interface where the remote user selects
the temporal/spatial trade-off with a slider. An immediate feedback
to any slider movement is required for a reasonable user experience.
A SIP re-INVITE [RFC3261] would require at least two round-trips more
(compared to the TSTR/TSTN mechanism) and may involve proxies and
other complex mechanisms. Even in a well-designed system, it could
take a second or so until the new trade-off is finally selected.
Furthermore, the use of RTCP solves the multicast use case very
The use of TSTR and TSTN in multipoint scenarios is a non-trivial
subject, and can be achieved in many implementation-specific ways.
Problems stem from the fact that TSTRs will typically arrive
unsynchronized, and may request different trade-off values for the
same stream and/or endpoint encoder. This memo does not specify a
translator's, mixer's, or endpoint's reaction to the reception of a
suggested trade-off as conveyed in the TSTR. We only require the
receiver of a TSTR message to reply to it by sending a TSTN, carrying
the new trade-off chosen by its own criteria (which may or may not be
based on the trade-off conveyed by the TSTR). In other words, the
trade-off sent in a TSTR is a non-binding recommendation, nothing
Three TSTR/TSTN scenarios need to be distinguished, based on the
topologies described in [RFC5117]. The scenarios are described in
the following subsections.
In this most trivial case (Topo-Point-to-Point), the media sender
typically adjusts its temporal/spatial trade-off based on the
requested value in TSTR, subject to its own capabilities. The TSTN
message conveys back the new trade-off value (which may be identical
to the old one if, for example, the sender is not capable of
adjusting its trade-off).
126.96.36.199. Point-to-Multipoint Using Multicast or Translators
RTCP Multicast is used either with media multicast according to
Topo-Multicast, or following RFC 3550's translator model according to
Topo-Translator. In these cases, unsynchronized TSTR messages from
different receivers may be received, possibly with different
requested trade-offs (because of different user preferences). This
memo does not specify how the media sender tunes its trade-off.
Possible strategies include selecting the mean or median of all
trade-off requests received, giving priority to certain participants,
or continuing to use the previously selected trade-off (e.g., when
the sender is not capable of adjusting it). Again, all TSTR messages
need to be acknowledged by TSTN, and the value conveyed back has to
reflect the decision made.
188.8.131.52. Point-to-Multipoint Using RTP Mixer
In this scenario (Topo-Mixer), the RTP mixer receives all TSTR
messages, and has the opportunity to act on them based on its own
criteria. In most cases, the mixer should form a "consensus" of
potentially conflicting TSTR messages arriving from different
participants, and initiate its own TSTR message(s) to the media
sender(s). As in the previous scenario, the strategy for forming
this "consensus" is up to the implementation, and can, for example,
encompass averaging the participants' request values, giving priority
to certain participants, or using session default values.
Even if a mixer or translator performs transcoding, it is very
difficult to deliver media with the requested trade-off, unless the
content the mixer or translator receives is already close to that
trade-off. Thus, if the mixer changes its trade-off, it needs to
request the media sender(s) to use the new value, by creating a TSTR
of its own. Upon reaching a decision on the used trade-off, it
includes that value in the acknowledgement to the downstream
requestors. Only in cases where the original source has
substantially higher quality (and bit rate) is it likely that
transcoding alone can result in the requested trade-off.
A request and reception acknowledgement mechanism is specified. The
Temporal-Spatial Trade-off Notification (TSTN) message informs the
requester that its request has been received, and what trade-off is
used henceforth. This acknowledgement mechanism is desirable for at
least the following reasons:
o A change in the trade-off cannot be directly identified from the
media bit stream.
o User feedback cannot be implemented without knowing the chosen
trade-off value, according to the media sender's constraints.
o Repetitive sending of messages requesting an unimplementable
trade-off can be avoided.
3.5.3. H.271 Video Back Channel Message
ITU-T Rec. H.271 defines syntax, semantics, and suggested encoder
reaction to a Video Back Channel Message. The structure defined in
this memo is used to transparently convey such a message from media
receiver to media sender. In this memo, we refrain from an in-depth
discussion of the available code points within H.271 and refer to the
specification text [H.271] instead.
However, we note that some H.271 messages bear similarities with
native messages of AVPF and this memo. Furthermore, we note that
some H.271 message are known to require caution in multicast
environments -- or are plainly not usable in multicast or multipoint
scenarios. Table 1 provides a brief, simplified overview of the
messages currently defined in H.271, their roughly corresponding AVPF
or Codec Control Messages (CCMs) (the latter as specified in this
memo), and an indication of our current knowledge of their multicast
H.271 msg type AVPF/CCM msg type multicast-safe
0 (when used for
selection) AVPF RPSI No (positive ACK of pictures)
1 picture loss AVPF PLI Yes
2 partial loss AVPF SLI Yes
3 one parameter CRC N/A Yes (no required sender action)
4 all parameter CRC N/A Yes (no required sender action)
5 refresh point CCM FIR Yes
Table 1: H.271 messages and their AVPF/CCM equivalents
Note: H.271 message type 0 is not a strict equivalent to
AVPF's Reference Picture Selection Indication (RPSI); it is an
indication of known-as-correct reference picture(s) at the
decoder. It does not command an encoder to use a defined
reference picture (the form of control information envisioned
to be carried in RPSI). However, it is believed and intended
that H.271 message type 0 will be used for the same purpose as
AVPF's RPSI -- although other use forms are also possible.
In response to the opaqueness of the H.271 messages, especially with
respect to the multicast safety, the following guidelines MUST be
followed when an implementation wishes to employ the H.271 video back
1. Implementations utilizing the H.271 feedback message MUST stay in
compliance with congestion control principles, as outlined in
2. An implementation SHOULD utilize the IETF-native messages as
defined in [RFC4585] and in this memo instead of similar messages
defined in [H.271]. Our current understanding of similar messages
is documented in Table 1 above. One good reason to divert from
the SHOULD statement above would be if it is clearly understood
that, for a given application and video compression standard, the
aforementioned "similarity" is not given, in contrast to what the
3. It has been observed that some of the H.271 code points currently
in existence are not multicast-safe. Therefore, the sensible
thing to do is not to use the H.271 feedback message type in
multicast environments. It MAY be used only when all the issues
mentioned later are fully understood by the implementer, and
properly taken into account by all endpoints. In all other cases,
the H.271 message type MUST NOT be used in conjunction with
4. It has been observed that even in centralized multipoint
environments, where the mixer should theoretically be able to
resolve issues as documented below, the implementation of such a
mixer and cooperative endpoints is a very difficult and tedious
task. Therefore, H.271 messages MUST NOT be used in centralized
multipoint scenarios, unless all the issues mentioned below are
fully understood by the implementer, and properly taken into
account by both mixer and endpoints.
Issues to be taken into account when considering the use of H.271 in
1. Different state on different receivers. In many environments, it
cannot be guaranteed that the decoder state of all media receivers
is identical at any given point in time. The most obvious reason
for such a possible misalignment of state is a loss that occurs on
the path to only one of many media receivers. However, there are
other not so obvious reasons, such as recent joins to the
multipoint conference (be it by joining the multicast group or
through additional mixer output). Different states can lead the
media receivers to issue potentially contradicting H.271 messages
(or one media receiver issuing an H.271 message that, when
observed by the media sender, is not helpful for the other media
receivers). A naive reaction of the media sender to these
contradicting messages can lead to unpredictable and annoying
2. Combining messages from different media receivers in a media
sender is a non-trivial task. As reasons, we note that these
messages may be contradicting each other, and that their transport
is unreliable (there may well be other reasons). In case of many
H.271 messages (i.e., types 0, 2, 3, and 4), the algorithm for
combining must be aware both of the network/protocol environment
(i.e., with respect to congestion) and of the media codec
employed, as H.271 messages of a given type can have different
semantics for different media codecs.
3. The suppression of requests may need to go beyond the basic
mechanisms described in AVPF (which are driven exclusively by
timing and transport considerations on the protocol level). For
example, a receiver is often required to refrain from (or delay)
generating requests, based on information it receives from the
media stream. For instance, it makes no sense for a receiver to
issue a FIR when a transmission of an Intra/IDR picture is
4. When using the non-multicast-safe messages (e.g., H.271 type 0
positive ACK of received pictures/slices) in larger multicast
groups, the media receiver will likely be forced to delay or even
omit sending these messages. For the media sender, this looks
like data has not been properly received (although it was received
properly), and a naively implemented media sender reacts to these
perceived problems where it should not.
H.271 Video Back Channel Messages do not require reliable
transmission, and confirmation of the reception of a message can be
derived from the forward video bit stream. Therefore, no specific
reception acknowledgement is specified.
With respect to re-sending rules, section 184.108.40.206 applies.
3.5.4. Temporary Maximum Media Stream Bit Rate Request and Notification
A receiver, translator, or mixer uses the Temporary Maximum Media
Stream Bit Rate Request (TMMBR, "timber") to request a sender to
limit the maximum bit rate for a media stream (see section 2.2) to,
or below, the provided value. The Temporary Maximum Media Stream Bit
Rate Notification (TMMBN) contains the media sender's current view of
the most limiting subset of the TMMBR-defined limits it has received,
to help the participants to suppress TMMBRs that would not further
restrict the media sender. The primary usage for the TMMBR/TMMBN
messages is in a scenario with an MCU or mixer (use case 6),
corresponding to Topo-Translator or Topo-Mixer, but also to Topo-
Each temporary limitation on the media stream is expressed as a
tuple. The first component of the tuple is the maximum total media
bit rate (as defined in section 2.2) that the media receiver is
currently prepared to accept for this media stream. The second
component is the per-packet overhead that the media receiver has
observed for this media stream at its chosen reference protocol
As indicated in section 2.2, the overhead as observed by the sender
of the TMMBR (i.e., the media receiver) may differ from the overhead
observed at the receiver of the TMMBR (i.e., the media sender) due to
use of a different reference protocol layer at the other end or due
to the intervention of translators or mixers that affect the amount
of per packet overhead. For example, a gateway in between the two
that converts between IPv4 and IPv6 affects the per-packet overhead
by 20 bytes. Other mechanisms that change the overhead include
tunnels. The problem with varying overhead is also discussed in
[RFC3890]. As will be seen in the description of the algorithm for
use of TMMBR, the difference in perceived overhead between the
sending and receiving ends presents no difficulty because
calculations are carried out in terms of variables that have the same
value at the sender as at the receiver -- for example, packet rate
and net media rate.
Reporting both maximum total media bit rate and per-packet overhead
allows different receivers to provide bit rate and overhead values
for different protocol layers, for example, at the IP level, at the
outer part of a tunnel protocol, or at the link layer. The protocol
level a peer reports on depends on the level of integration the peer
has, as it needs to be able to extract the information from that
protocol level. For example, an application with no knowledge of the
IP version it is running over cannot meaningfully determine the
overhead of the IP header, and hence will not want to include IP
overhead in the overhead or maximum total media bit rate calculation.
It is expected that most peers will be able to report values at least
for the IP layer. In certain implementations, it may be advantageous
to also include information pertaining to the link layer, which in
turn allows for a more precise overhead calculation and a better
optimization of connectivity resources.
The Temporary Maximum Media Stream Bit Rate messages are generic
messages that can be applied to any RTP packet stream. This
separates them from the other codec control messages defined in this
specification, which apply only to specific media types or payload
formats. The TMMBR functionality applies to the transport, and the
requirements the transport places on the media encoding.
The reasoning below assumes that the participants have negotiated a
session maximum bit rate, using a signaling protocol. This value can
be global, for example, in case of point-to-point, multicast, or
translators. It may also be local between the participant and the
peer or mixer. In either case, the bit rate negotiated in signaling
is the one that the participant guarantees to be able to handle
(depacketize and decode). In practice, the connectivity of the
participant also influences the negotiated value -- it does not make
much sense to negotiate a total media bit rate that one's network
interface does not support.
It is also beneficial to have negotiated a maximum packet rate for
the session or sender. RFC 3890 provides an SDP [RFC4566] attribute
that can be used for this purpose; however, that attribute is not
usable in RTP sessions established using offer/answer [RFC3264].
Therefore, an optional maximum packet rate signaling parameter is
specified in this memo.
An already established maximum total media bit rate may be changed at
any time, subject to the timing rules governing the sending of
feedback messages. The limit may change to any value between zero
and the session maximum, as negotiated during session establishment
signaling. However, even if a sender has received a TMMBR message
allowing an increase in the bit rate, all increases must be governed
by a congestion control mechanism. TMMBR indicates known limitations
only, usually in the local environment, and does not provide any
guarantees about the full path. Furthermore, any increases in
TMMBR-established bit rate limits are to be executed only after a
certain delay from the sending of the TMMBN message that notifies the
world about the increase in limit. The delay is specified as at
least twice the longest RTT as known by the media sender, plus the
media sender's calculation of the required wait time for the sending
of another TMMBR message for this session based on AVPF timing rules.
This delay is introduced to allow other session participants to make
known their bit rate limit requirements, which may be lower.
If it is likely that the new value indicated by TMMBR will be valid
for the remainder of the session, the TMMBR sender is expected to
perform a renegotiation of the session upper limit using the session
220.127.116.11. Behavior for Media Receivers Using TMMBR
This section is an informal description of behaviour described more
precisely in section 4.2.
A media sender begins the session limited by the maximum media bit
rate and maximum packet rate negotiated in session signaling, if any.
Note that this value may be negotiated for another protocol layer
than the one the participant uses in its TMMBR messages. Each media
receiver selects a reference protocol layer, forms an estimate of the
overhead it is observing (or estimating it if no packets has been
seen yet) at that reference level, and determines the maximum total
media bit rate it can accept, taking into account its own limitations
and any transport path limitations of which it may be aware. In case
the current limitations are more restricting than what was agreed on
in the session signaling, the media receiver reports its initial
estimate of these two quantities to the media sender using a TMMBR
message. Overall message traffic is reduced by the possibility of
including tuples for multiple media senders in the same TMMBR
The media sender applies an algorithm such as that specified in
section 18.104.22.168 to select which of the tuples it has received are
most limiting (i.e., the bounding set as defined in section 2.2). It
modifies its operation to stay within the feasible region (as defined
in section 2.2), and also sends out a TMMBN to the media receivers
indicating the selected bounding set. That notification also
indicates who was responsible for the tuples in the bounding set,
i.e., the "owner"(s) of the limitation. A session participant that
owns no tuple in the bounding set is called a "non-owner".
If a media receiver does not own one of the tuples in the bounding
set reported by the TMMBN, it applies the same algorithm as the media
sender to determine if its current estimated (maximum total media bit
rate, overhead) tuple would enter the bounding set if known to the
media sender. If so, it issues a TMMBR reporting the tuple value to
the sender. Otherwise, it takes no action for the moment.
Periodically, its estimated tuple values may change or it may receive
a new TMMBN. If so, it reapplies the algorithm to decide whether it
needs to issue a TMMBR.
If, alternatively, a media receiver owns one of the tuples in the
reported bounding set, it takes no action until such time as its
estimate of its own tuple values changes. At that time, it sends a
TMMBR to the media sender to report the changed values.
A media receiver may change status between owner and non-owner of a
bounding tuple between one TMMBN message and the next. Thus, it must
check the contents of each TMMBN to determine its subsequent actions.
Implementations may use other algorithms of their choosing, as long
as the bit rate limitations resulting from the exchange of TMMBR and
TMMBN messages are at least as strict (at least as low, in the bit
rate dimension) as the ones resulting from the use of the
Obviously, in point-to-point cases, when there is only one media
receiver, this receiver becomes "owner" once it receives the first
TMMBN in response to its own TMMBR, and stays "owner" for the rest of
the session. Therefore, when it is known that there will always be
only a single media receiver, the above algorithm is not required.
Media receivers that are aware they are the only ones in a session
can send TMMBR messages with bit rate limits both higher and lower
than the previously notified limit, at any time (subject to the AVPF
[RFC4585] RTCP RR send timing rules). However, it may be difficult
for a session participant to determine if it is the only receiver in
the session. Because of this, any implementation of TMMBR is
required to include the algorithm described in the next section or a
22.214.171.124. Algorithm for Establishing Current Limitations
This section introduces an example algorithm for the calculation of a
session limit. Other algorithms can be employed, as long as the
result of the calculation is at least as restrictive as the result
that is obtained by this algorithm.
First, it is important to consider the implications of using a tuple
for limiting the media sender's behavior. The bit rate and the
overhead value result in a two-dimensional solution space for the
calculation of the bit rate of media streams. Fortunately, the two
variables are linked. Specifically, the bit rate available for RTP
payloads is equal to the TMMBR reported bit rate minus the packet
rate used, multiplied by the TMMBR reported overhead converted to
bits. As a result, when different bit rate/overhead combinations
need to be considered, the packet rate determines the correct
limitation. This is perhaps best explained by an example:
Receiver A: TMMBR_max total BR = 35 kbps, TMMBR_OH = 40 bytes
Receiver B: TMMBR_max total BR = 40 kbps, TMMBR_OH = 60 bytes
For a given packet rate (PR), the bit rate available for media
payloads in RTP will be:
Max_net media_BR_A =
TMMBR_max total BR_A - PR * TMMBR_OH_A * 8 ... (1)
Max_net media_BR_B =
TMMBR_max total BR_B - PR * TMMBR_OH_B * 8 ... (2)
For a PR = 20, these calculations will yield a Max_net media_BR_A =
28600 bps and Max_net media_BR_B = 30400 bps, which suggests that
receiver A is the limiting one for this packet rate. However, at a
certain PR there is a switchover point at which receiver B becomes
the limiting one. The switchover point can be identified by setting
Max_media_BR_A equal to Max_media_BR_B and breaking out PR:
TMMBR_max total BR_A - TMMBR_max total BR_B
PR = ------------------------------------------- ... (3)
8*(TMMBR_OH_A - TMMBR_OH_B)
which, for the numbers above, yields 31.25 as the switchover point
between the two limits. That is, for packet rates below 31.25 per
second, receiver A is the limiting receiver, and for higher packet
rates, receiver B is more limiting. The implications of this
behavior have to be considered by implementations that are going to
control media encoding and its packetization. As exemplified above,
multiple TMMBR limits may apply to the trade-off between net media
bit rate and packet rate. Which limitation applies depends on the
packet rate being considered.
This also has implications for how the TMMBR mechanism needs to work.
First, there is the possibility that multiple TMMBR tuples are
providing limitations on the media sender. Secondly, there is a need
for any session participant (media sender and receivers) to be able
to determine if a given tuple will become a limitation upon the media
sender, or if the set of already given limitations is stricter than
the given values. In the absence of the ability to make this
determination, the suppression of TMMBRs would not work.
The basic idea of the algorithm is as follows. Each TMMBR tuple can
be viewed as the equation of a straight line (cf. equations (1) and
(2)) in a space where packet rate lies along the X-axis and net bit
rate along the Y-axis. The lower envelope of the set of lines
corresponding to the complete set of TMMBR tuples, together with the
X and Y axes, defines a polygon. Points lying within this polygon
are combinations of packet rate and bit rate that meet all of the
TMMBR constraints. The highest feasible packet rate within this
region is the minimum of the rate at which the bounding polygon meets
the X-axis or the session maximum packet rate (SMAXPR, measured in
packets per second) provided by signaling, if any. Typically, a
media sender will prefer to operate at a lower rate than this
theoretical maximum, so as to increase the rate at which actual media
content reaches the receivers. The purpose of the algorithm is to
distinguish the TMMBR tuples constituting the bounding set and thus
delineate the feasible region, so that the media sender can select
its preferred operating point within that region
Figure 1 below shows a bounding polygon formed by TMMBR tuples A and
B. A third tuple C lies outside the bounding polygon and is
therefore irrelevant in determining feasible trade-offs between media
rate and packet rate. The line labeled ss..s represents the limit on
packet rate imposed by the session maximum packet rate (SMAXPR)
obtained by signaling during session setup. In Figure 1, the limit
determined by tuple B happens to be more restrictive than SMAXPR.
The situation could easily be the reverse, meaning that the bounding
polygon is terminated on the right by the vertical line representing
the SMAXPR constraint.
Media|a c b s
Bit | a c b s
Rate | a c b s
| a cb s
| a c s
| a bc s
| a b c s
| ab c s
| Feasible b c s
| region ba s
| b a s c
| b s c
| b s a
Figure 1 - Geometric Interpretation of TMMBR Tuples
Note that the slopes of the lines making up the bounding polygon are
increasingly negative as one moves in the direction of increasing
packet rate. Note also that with slight rearrangement, equations (1)
and (2) have the canonical form:
y = mx + b
m is the slope and has value equal to the negative of the tuple
overhead (in bits),
b is the y-intercept and has value equal to the tuple maximum
total media bit rate.
These observations lead to the conclusion that when processing the
TMMBR tuples to select the initial bounding set, one should sort and
process the tuples by order of increasing overhead. Once a
particular tuple has been added to the bounding set, all tuples not
already selected and having lower overhead can be eliminated, because
the next side of the bounding polygon has to be steeper (i.e., the
corresponding TMMBR must have higher overhead) than the latest added
Line cc..c in Figure 1 illustrates another principle. This line is
parallel to line aa..a, but has a higher Y-intercept. That is, the
corresponding TMMBR tuple contains a higher maximum total media bit
rate value. Since line cc..c is outside the bounding polygon, it
illustrates the conclusion that if two TMMBR tuples have the same
overhead value, the one with higher maximum total media bit rate
value cannot be part of the bounding set and can be set aside.
Two further observations complete the algorithm. Obviously, moving
from the left, the successive corners of the bounding polygon (i.e.,
the intersection points between successive pairs of sides) lie at
successively higher packet rates. On the other hand, again moving
from the left, each successive line making up the bounding set
crosses the X-axis at a lower packet rate.
The complete algorithm can now be specified. The algorithm works
with two lists of TMMBR tuples, the candidate list X and the selected
list Y, both ordered by increasing overhead value. The algorithm
terminates when all members of X have been discarded or removed for
processing. Membership of the selected list Y is probationary until
the algorithm is complete. Each member of the selected list is
associated with an intersection value, which is the packet rate at
which the line corresponding to that TMMBR tuple intersects with the
line corresponding to the previous TMMBR tuple in the selected list.
Each member of the selected list is also associated with a maximum
packet rate value, which is the lesser of the session maximum packet
rate SMAXPR (if any) and the packet rate at which the line
corresponding to that tuple crosses the X-axis.
When the algorithm terminates, the selected list is equal to the
bounding set as defined in section 2.2.
This algorithm is used by the media sender when it has received one
or more TMMBRs and before it has determined a bounding set for the
1. Sort the TMMBR tuples by order of increasing overhead. This is
the initial candidate list X.
2. When multiple tuples in the candidate list have the same overhead
value, discard all but the one with the lowest maximum total media
bit rate value.
3. Select and remove from the candidate list the TMMBR tuple with the
lowest maximum total media bit rate value. If there is more than
one tuple with that value, choose the one with the highest
overhead value. This is the first member of the selected list Y.
Set its intersection value equal to zero. Calculate its maximum
packet rate as the minimum of SMAXPR (if available) and the value
obtained from the following formula, which is the packet rate at
which the corresponding line crosses the X-axis.
Max PR = TMMBR max total BR / (8 * TMMBR OH) ... (4)
4. Discard from the candidate list all tuples with a lower overhead
value than the selected tuple.
5. Remove the first remaining tuple from the candidate list for
processing. Call this the current candidate.
6. Calculate the packet rate PR at the intersection of the line
generated by the current candidate with the line generated by the
last tuple in the selected list Y, using equation (3).
7. If the calculated value PR is equal to or lower than the
intersection value stored for the last tuple of the selected list,
discard the last tuple of the selected list and go back to step 6
(retaining the same current candidate).
Note that the choice of the initial member of the selected list Y
in step 3 guarantees that the selected list will never be emptied
by this process, meaning that the algorithm must eventually (if
not immediately) fall through to step 8.
8. (This step is reached when the calculated PR value of the current
candidate is greater than the intersection value of the current
last member of the selected list Y.) If the calculated value PR
of the current candidate is lower than the maximum packet rate
associated with the last tuple in the selected list, add the
current candidate tuple to the end of the selected list. Store PR
as its intersection value. Calculate its maximum packet rate as
the lesser of SMAXPR (if available) and the maximum packet rate
calculated using equation (4).
9. If any tuples remain in the candidate list, go back to step 5.
The previous algorithm covered the initial case, where no selected
list had previously been created. It also applied only to the media
sender. When a previously created selected list is available at
either the media sender or media receiver, two other cases can be
o when a TMMBR tuple not currently in the selected list is a
candidate for addition;
o when the values change in a TMMBR tuple currently in the
At the media receiver, these cases correspond, respectively, to those
of the non-owner and owner of a tuple in the TMMBN-reported bounding
In either case, the process of updating the selected list to take
account of the new/changed tuple can use the basic algorithm
described above, with the modification that the initial candidate set
consists only of the existing selected list and the new or changed
tuple. Some further optimization is possible (beyond starting with a
reduced candidate set) by taking advantage of the following
The first observation is that if the new/changed candidate becomes
part of the new selected list, the result may be to cause zero or
more other tuples to be dropped from the list. However, if more than
one other tuple is dropped, the dropped tuples will be consecutive.
This can be confirmed geometrically by visualizing a new line that
cuts off a series of segments from the previously existing bounding
polygon. The cut-off segments are connected one to the next, the
geometric equivalent of consecutive tuples in a list ordered by
overhead value. Beyond the dropped set in either direction all of
the tuples that were in the earlier selected list will be in the
updated one. The second observation is that, leaving aside the new
candidate, the order of tuples remaining in the updated selected list
is unchanged because their overhead values have not changed.
The consequence of these two observations is that, once the placement
of the new candidate and the extent of the dropped set of tuples (if
any) has been determined, the remaining tuples can be copied directly
from the candidate list into the selected list, preserving their
order. This conclusion suggests the following modified algorithm:
o Run steps 1-4 of the basic algorithm.
o If the new candidate has survived steps 2 and 4 and has become
the new first member of the selected list, run steps 5-9 on
subsequent candidates until another candidate is added to the
selected list. Then move all remaining candidates to the
selected list, preserving their order.
o If the new candidate has survived steps 2 and 4 and has not
become the new first member of the selected list, start by
moving all tuples in the candidate list with lower overhead
values than that of the new candidate to the selected list,
preserving their order. Run steps 5-9 for the new candidate,
with the modification that the intersection values and maximum
packet rates for the tuples on the selected list have to be
calculated on the fly because they were not previously stored.
Continue processing only until a subsequent tuple has been
added to the selected list, then move all remaining candidates
to the selected list, preserving their order.
Note that the new candidate could be added to the selected
list only to be dropped again when the next tuple is
processed. It can easily be seen that in this case the new
candidate does not displace any of the earlier tuples in the
selected list. The limitations of ASCII art make this
difficult to show in a figure. Line cc..c in Figure 1 would
be an example if it had a steeper slope (tuple C had a higher
overhead value), but still intersected line aa..a beyond where
line aa..a intersects line bb..b.
The algorithm just described is approximate, because it does not take
account of tuples outside the selected list. To see how such tuples
can become relevant, consider Figure 1 and suppose that the maximum
total media bit rate in tuple A increases to the point that line
aa..a moves outside line cc..c. Tuple A will remain in the bounding
set calculated by the media sender. However, once it issues a new
TMMBN, media receiver C will apply the algorithm and discover that
its tuple C should now enter the bounding set. It will issue a TMMBR
to the media sender, which will repeat its calculation and come to
the appropriate conclusion.
The rules of section 4.2 require that the media sender refrain from
raising its sending rate until media receivers have had a chance to
respond to the TMMBN. In the example just given, this delay ensures
that the relaxation of tuple A does not actually result in an attempt
to send media at a rate exceeding the capacity at C.
126.96.36.199. Use of TMMBR in a Mixer-Based Multipoint Operation
Assume a small mixer-based multiparty conference is ongoing, as
depicted in Topo-Mixer of [RFC5117]. All participants have
negotiated a common maximum bit rate that this session can use. The
conference operates over a number of unicast paths between the
participants and the mixer. The congestion situation on each of
these paths can be monitored by the participant in question and by
the mixer, utilizing, for example, RTCP receiver reports (RRs) or the
transport protocol, e.g., Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP)
[RFC4340]. However, any given participant has no knowledge of the
congestion situation of the connections to the other participants.
Worse, without mechanisms similar to the ones discussed in this
document, the mixer (which is aware of the congestion situation on
all connections it manages) has no standardized means to inform media
senders to slow down, short of forging its own receiver reports
(which is undesirable). In principle, a mixer confronted with such a
situation is obliged to thin or transcode streams intended for
connections that detected congestion.
In practice, unfortunately, media-aware streaming thinning is a very
difficult and cumbersome operation and adds undesirable delay. If
media-unaware, it leads very quickly to unacceptable reproduced media
quality. Hence, a means to slow down senders even in the absence of
congestion on their connections to the mixer is desirable.
To allow the mixer to throttle traffic on the individual links,
without performing transcoding, there is a need for a mechanism that
enables the mixer to ask a participant's media encoders to limit the
media stream bit rate they are currently generating. TMMBR provides
the required mechanism. When the mixer detects congestion between
itself and a given participant, it executes the following procedure:
1. It starts thinning the media traffic to the congested participant
to the supported bit rate.
2. It uses TMMBR to request the media sender(s) to reduce the total
media bit rate sent by them to the mixer, to a value that is in
compliance with congestion control principles for the slowest
link. Slow refers here to the available bandwidth / bit rate /
capacity and packet rate after congestion control.
3. As soon as the bit rate has been reduced by the sending part, the
mixer stops stream thinning implicitly, because there is no need
for it once the stream is in compliance with congestion control.
This use of stream thinning as an immediate reaction tool followed up
by a quick control mechanism appears to be a reasonable compromise
between media quality and the need to combat congestion.
188.8.131.52. Use of TMMBR in Point-to-Multipoint Using Multicast or
In these topologies, corresponding to Topo-Multicast or Topo-
Translator, RTCP RRs are transmitted globally. This allows all
participants to detect transmission problems such as congestion, on a
medium timescale. As all media senders are aware of the congestion
situation of all media receivers, the rationale for the use of TMMBR
in the previous section does not apply. However, even in this case
the congestion control response can be improved when the unicast
links are using congestion controlled transport protocols (such as
TCP or DCCP). A peer may also report local limitations to the media
184.108.40.206. Use of TMMBR in Point-to-Point Operation
In use case 7, it is possible to use TMMBR to improve the performance
when the known upper limit of the bit rate changes. In this use
case, the signaling protocol has established an upper limit for the
session and total media bit rates. However, at the time of transport
link bit rate reduction, a receiver can avoid serious congestion by
sending a TMMBR to the sending side. Thus, TMMBR is useful for
putting restrictions on the application and thus placing the
congestion control mechanism in the right ballpark. However, TMMBR
is usually unable to provide the continuously quick feedback loop
required for real congestion control. Nor do its semantics match
those of congestion control given its different purpose. For these
reasons, TMMBR SHALL NOT be used as a substitute for congestion
The reaction of a media sender to the reception of a TMMBR message is
not immediately identifiable through inspection of the media stream.
Therefore, a more explicit mechanism is needed to avoid unnecessary
re-sending of TMMBR messages. Using a statistically based
retransmission scheme would only provide statistical guarantees of
the request being received. It would also not avoid the
retransmission of already received messages. In addition, it would
not allow for easy suppression of other participants' requests. For
these reasons, a mechanism based on explicit notification is used.
Upon the reception of a TMMBR, a media sender sends a TMMBN
containing the current bounding set, and indicating which session
participants own that limit. In multicast scenarios, that allows all
other participants to suppress any request they may have, if their
limitations are less strict than the current ones (i.e., define lines
lying outside the feasible region as defined in section 2.2).
Keeping and notifying only the bounding set of tuples allows for
small message sizes and media sender states. A media sender only
keeps state for the SSRCs of the current owners of the bounding set
of tuples; all other requests and their sources are not saved. Once
the bounding set has been established, new TMMBR messages should be
generated only by owners of the bounding tuples and by other entities
that determine (by applying the algorithm of section 220.127.116.11 or its
equivalent) that their limitations should now be part of the bounding