The last few years have witnessed a tremendous growth of the demand for wireless services and a significant increase of the number of mobile subscribers. A recent data traffic forecast from Cisco reported that the global mobile data traffic reached 1.2 zettabytes per year in 2016, and the global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next 5 years. Based on these predictions, a 127-fold increase of the IP traffic is expected from 2005 to 2021. It is also anticipated that the mobile data traffic will reach 3.3 zettabytes per year by 2021, and that the number of mobile-connected devices will reach 3.5 per capita.
With such demands for higher data rates and for better quality of service (QoS), fifth generation (5G) standardization initiatives, whose initial phase was specified in June 2018 under the umbrella of Long Term Evolution (LTE) Release 15, have been under vibrant investigation. In particular, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified three usage scenarios (service categories) for 5G wireless networks: (i) enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), (ii) ultra-reliable and low latency communications (uRLLC), and (iii) massive machine type communications (mMTC). The vast variety of applications for beyond 5G wireless networks has motivated the necessity of novel and more flexible physical layer (PHY) technologies, which are capable of providing higher spectral and energy efficiencies, as well as reduced transceiver implementations.
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Multimedia streams consume a significant chunk of the consumer Internet traffic exchanged and will continue to do so due to the ever-increasing connection among people, businesses, and industries. To cope with the deviation of the Internet's intended use, unreliable underlying infrastructure, and best effort protocols while leveraging existing technologies, Hypertext Transfer Protocol Adaptive Streaming is utilized by numerous multimedia services. Performance of HAS-based streaming services is limited by the growing control overhead generated by the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) stack as the stream length, multimedia fidelity, and network conditions vary. In this paper, a novel cross-layer steganographic-enabled signaling scheme is proposed to reduce service provider costs while improving multimedia session performance and maintaining expected Quality-of-Service (QoS). The proposed scheme is designed to encode control stream messages from any TCP/IP layer within payload messages to reduce the total amount of overhead exchanged, thereby decreasing resource utilization within source and intermediate nodes. Furthermore, the encoding scheme probes network conditions and session statistics for adaptive decision-making to enable real-time pliability of the proposed process. A utility function is developed to find the optimal cost savings where simulations are conducted to verify the designs. The proposed solution is then implemented using VideoLan Media Player transceivers residing in linux containers virtual machines, where a multimedia file is exchanged in the popular Advanced Video Coding (H.264) format. The results show a decrease in bandwidth and average queue waiting time costs of 4.71% and 29.61%, respectively, with a throughput increase of 5.77%.
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