Deployment considerations

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

Deploying Windows Media Services does not have to be difficult. In all deployment scenarios, there are some basic choices you must make. Your choices are guided by the type of digital media content you want to distribute, the nature of your audience, and the equipment you want to use to deliver the content. The topics in this section are designed to provide you the necessary background so that you can make informed choices about your deployment.

An effective streaming media deployment requires that you successfully manage three primary factors: the bandwidth available to your audience, the capabilities of your network or Internet connection, and the streaming requirements of your content.

The first, most important, factor is your audience. The amount of bandwidth your audience has available plays a key role in determining the type and quality of the content you provide. A large, high-definition video stream with stereo sound requires more bandwidth than is available for clients using a standard, dial-up modem connection. You should also know how large your audience will be. Even a small number of high-speed streams can affect the performance of the average commercial network or Internet gateway.

Evaluating your network capacity is the second factor. A computer network such as a local area network (LAN) can transfer a limited amount of data at a given time. Each individual connection to that network uses up a portion of its capacity. As the total amount of data being transferred approaches the network limit, individual data connections begin to slow down. When planning your streaming media deployment, make sure that your network capacity is well beyond the bandwidth requirements of your content.

Content is the most flexible and diverse factor. With both audio and video, improved content quality increases the bandwidth requirements. The use of quality improvement methods such as multiple-bit-rate (MBR) encoding or variable-bit-rate (VBR) encoding can create large differences in necessary bandwidth. Before it can be streamed to the audience, live and prerecorded content goes through the encoding process. The choices that are made during this process have a significant impact on the range of audience you can reach and the amount of necessary bandwidth.

In This Section

Downloading vs. streaming content

Streaming from a Windows Media server vs. a Web server

Streaming live content

Streaming prerecorded content

Selecting unicast vs. multicast distribution

Selecting data transfer protocols