MBONE: Multicasting Tomorrow's Internet
It was nice to hear Mick Jagger say, "I wanna say a special welcome to everyone that's, uh, climbed into the Internet tonight and, uh, has got into the MBONE. And I hope it doesn't all collapse."
The concert was presented live from the Nippon Budohkan in Tokyo. Mr. Sakamoto performed with Daizaburo Harada. For this concert, a temporary satellite station was installed at the Nippon Budohkan. This satellite station broadcasted IP datagrams to several satellite stations of WIDE Network Operation Centers at 2 Mbps.
For some of us, just listening to the radio isn't good enough -- we want to be the D.J., spinning discs for all the Internet to hear. In fact, folks are already doing this with a resource called Radio Free vat. RFv allows anyone who's connected to the MBONE to check out a chunk of time on a virtual radio station, and play virtual D.J. for a couple of hours to an audience of, well, dozens.
Dave Hayes, a network and systems administrator for the Network Engineering group of JPL, created Radio Free vat. The idea was born quite by accident. "One day, I cross-connected the CD output (of my workstation) with the vat input and wound up broadcasting a couple minutes of a Chick Corea tune over the MBONE audio channel. I quickly noticed my error, cut off the CD, and made apologies on the audio channel." Someone answered back, "If you play music like that, you can play music anytime you want to." "Then it hit me," Hayes said. "I used to D.J. in college... Why not do this over the Internet? So, I started Radio Free vat. I began to play CDs that I liked. Soon, the idea caught on. I wrote a Perl server which handles session conflicts, and we went from there."
The number of MBONE users is rather small, so RFv doesn't have a huge audience -- "The most people I've seen at one time is about 75," Hayes said.
As more users get access to high-bandwidth Internet connections, thanks to affordable services like ISDN, the audience for Radio Free vat will grow. If you thought self-publishing on the web was popular, wait until everyone with a Net connection and microphone can have their own radio show, without so much as a nod from the FCC.
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