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Traditionally, the Internet supports best effort service. The quality of service available to real time applications such as the delivery of video and audio is therefore difficult to predict and control. Two new technologies have emerged recently, namely the MPEG-4 standard and active network, for media data compression and data networking, respectively. MPEG-4 uses a content or object-based representation. It supports object-based scalability and, in particular, it allows the modification or editing of objects without having to first decode them. Active network allows program code to be loaded dynamically into network nodes. In this paper, we describe a system for real-time media delivery that exploits the strengths of MPEG-4 media encoding and active networks. It is based on a best-effort transport service. Our system performs congestion avoidance, error concealment, and media scalability.
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