Over the past few months numerous consumers have complained about Supersport streaming problems.
Mike Raath, CTO of DStv Online, explained that while SuperSport is the content owner, DStv Online handles the hosting and streaming of the SuperSport website. MWEB/Optinet runs the network on which the content is delivered.
Raath said that there are many points in the route where problems with streaming Supersport content could creep in:
- The in-home network;
- last mile network (copper to the DSLAM);
- backhaul from the DSLAM to the exchange;
- the IPC network which the ISP leases directly from Telkom;
- peering link between ISPs, or if there is no peering, the routing from the MWEB network where the stream originates.
In the latest response to Supersport streaming problems, a company representative advised a subscriber to change their ISP to resolve the problem.
“Our delivery of video streams are done over a Content Delivery Network (CDN) provided by Level 3,” he said.
“Level 3 has partnerships with most major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Africa and is one of the big 3 CDN providers worldwide. These partnerships allow us to distribute the load effectively to our user base.”
This means that Supersport provides one stream to the Level 3 CDN and all users connect to their distribution servers.
“The problem is that even though most ISPs are peered with the Level 3 CDN, there are some smaller ones that are not,” he said.
“What that means is that the route those ISPs use to connect to the CDN servers are not optimal and when load occurs they have a degraded level of service. This is not a degradation of our service but of their network.”
The Supersport representative said that the biggest ISP not peered with Level 3 is Afrihost, and “unfortunately until such time as they do peer with Level 3 their customers will not be able to have the same video experience as the rest”.
“We would be very happy to peer with Level 3 locally if it makes sense, but we do not believe that this is having a negative impact on our users,” said Payne.
“To demonstrate the round trip to Supersport from the MTN network, we did a test on the backbone and it was around 5ms from what we see on a trace route,” he said.