Although initially proposed as the deployable alternative to IP multicast, the overlay network actually revolutionizes the way network applications can be built. In this paper, we study the rate allocation problem in overlay-based multirate multicast, which can be understood as a utility-based resource allocation problem. Each receiver is associated with a utility defined as a function of its streaming rate. Our goal is to maximize the aggregate utility of all receivers, subject to network capacity constraint and data constraint. The latter constraint is unique in overlay multicast, mainly due to the dual role of end hosts as both receivers and senders. We use a price-based approach to address this problem. Two types of prices, network price and data price, are generated with regard to the two constraints of the problem. A distributed algorithm is proposed, where each receiver adjusts its flow rate according to the associated network price and data price. The algorithm is proved to converge to the optimal point, where the aggregate utility of all receivers is maximized. We implement our algorithm using an end-host-based protocol. Our protocol purely relies on the coordination of end hosts to accomplish tasks originally assigned to network routers, which makes it directly deployable to the existing network infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-823
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Algorithm/protocol design and analysis
  • Multicast
  • Nonlinear programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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