HD Video Streaming on LTSP

Our office uses a LTSP setup for workstations. On a lark, I decided to measure how well it worked with streaming video.

Screenshot - 10282014 - 11:25:22 AM

As can be seen from the screenshot of nmon running and measuring the network bandwidth, the maximum peak transfer is 120MBps which translates to about 1Gbps. This is the amount of bandwidth taken when streaming a Youtube video on full-screen.

At this bandwidth, the video is perfectly watchable with no noticable lag or refresh rate problems. However, if we merely watch the video in cinema mode, the bandwidth requirement drops to about half. If we watch it in the normal mode, the bandwidth reduces by another half.

So, to watch smooth Youtube videos on LTSP, we will need about 250Mbps network bandwidth. On a 100Mbps network bandwidth, video was choppy even at the standard Youtube video size. There were noticeable frame rate problems.

This also means that we will need high amounts of bandwidth at the LTSP server end to provide smooth videos to a number of workstations via a gigabit switch. Therefore, it is advisable for the LTSP server to have multiple nics in a bonded configuration.

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