AT&T Pushes ‘Robust Multicast Broadcasting’

AT&T describes how it can use “redundant network routing” devices to create a “robust multicast broadcasting” system in a patent published on Tuesday.

Yetik Serbest, lead member of technical staff at AT&T, is named as inventor on the patent.

Abstract: A method and system for multicasting IPTV channels includes using both a designated and a redundant network routing device. When the designated routing device detects that an MCDN network connection to an IPTV multicast source is unavailable, the designated routing device reduces its designation priority to a lower value. A message is sent to the redundant routing device with an instruction to increase its designation priority to a higher value. After the designation priorities have been modified, the designated routing device may serve as a new redundant routing device, while the redundant routing device may serve as a new designated routing device. The routing devices may remain in the new configuration, even after interrupted network connections are restored.

Patent

Claims: 

1. A multicasting method, comprising: responsive to determining that a distribution network connection to a multicast source is unavailable to a designated routing device and that a direct connection between the designated routing device and a redundant routing device is unavailable, reducing a designation priority of the designated routing device; and requesting, via a switching network, the redundant routing device to increase its designation priority; wherein the direct connection is a redundancy link between the designated routing device and the redundant routing device.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a response from the redundant routing device indicating that the designation priority of the redundant routing device exceeds the designation priority of the designated routing device.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the distribution network connection includes a broadband backbone network.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the requesting includes sending a message conforming to a multicast routing protocol.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the redundant routing device communicates with the multicast source via the switching network.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: forwarding content from the multicast source to a plurality of clients via the switching network.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising: configuring the designated routing device as a new redundant routing device.

8. The method of claim 7, further comprising: subsequently determining that the distribution network connection to the multicast source is available to the designated routing device.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the determining includes performing a reverse path forwarding check.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the switching network includes a digital subscriber line access multiplexer.

11. A network routing device, comprising: a processor; and memory media, accessible to the processor, including processor executable program instructions, which when executed by the processor, cause the processor to perform operations comprising: increasing a designation priority of the network routing device in response to receiving a predetermined message from a designated routing device and determining that a direct connection to the designated routing device is unavailable; sending multicast join messages to a last hop routing device coupled to a multicast source; and forwarding content from the multicast source, via the last hop routing device, to a plurality of network clients via a switching network; wherein the direct connection is a redundancy link for transferring configuration information between the network routing device and the designated routing device.

12. The network routing device of claim 11, wherein a distribution network connection to the last hop routing device includes a broadband backbone network.

13. The network routing device of claim 11, wherein the predetermined message complies with a multicast routing protocol.

14. The network routing device of claim 11, wherein after increasing the designation priority, the network device serves as a new designated routing device.

15. The network routing device of claim 11, wherein the switching network includes a digital subscriber line access multiplexer.

16. A non-transitory computer-readable storage device including processor executable program instructions, which, when executed by a processor, cause the processor to perform operations comprising: responsive to determining that a network connection to a multicast source is unavailable to a designated routing device and that a direct connection between the designated routing device and a redundant routing device is unavailable, reducing a designation priority of the designated routing device; and requesting, via a switching network connection, the redundant routing device to increase its designation priority; wherein the direct connection is a redundancy link between the designated routing device and the redundant routing device.

17. The non-transitory computer-readable storage device of claim 16, wherein requesting the redundant routing device to increase its designation priority includes sending a multicast routing protocol hello message.

18. The non-transitory computer-readable storage device of claim 16, wherein the operations include: forwarding content from the multicast source to a plurality of network clients via a distribution network switching network before determining that the network connection is unavailable.

19. The non-transitory computer-readable storage device of claim 16, wherein as a result of reducing the designation priority, the designated routing device stops forwarding content, and wherein the operations include: configuring the designated routing device as a new redundant routing device.

20. The non-transitory computer-readable storage device of claim 19, wherein the operations include: after the forwarding has stopped, determining that the network connection to the multicast source is available.