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Streaming video to the Internet

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Streaming video to the Internet
As you all know, much of what one wants to do on the public Internet involves encrypted communications... https.  Our local ARES group is pretty new to practical deployments of AREDN.  We got around this issue for having some access to the Internet from the field using the mesh network by putting a raspberry Pi at the network edge and using VNC to remote control the RPI's web browser.  We were a bit surprised by the RPI running short on horsepower to access a particular website we were interested in (which tracked some participants on a map), but other than that, it worked fine.  The same RPI was running our PBX, so we may have been expecting a bit much of it smiley

But my question here is the next step we might want to take... being able to stream video over the mesh network... and to the public Internet... live.  Is there a practical way to accomplish that while still keeping encrypted traffic off of the mesh network?  Short pre-recorded video clips might be accomplished in much the same way I described above, but doing live streaming would seem to require a different approach.  I've never been very good at figuring out that "Swiss army knife of video"... ffmpeg... but maybe there would be a way to use it as the "middle man" on an edge computer?


W2TTT's picture
http/https vs. in band & clean
Dave, I think it is great that you are keeping within the strict interpretation of Part 97, as your edge solution is clever. Having said that...given a real deployment for a real event, I would blow off any edge strategy used to manage things like https as it slows things down or outright fails when you need to be as reliable as possible. To address such concerns, I simply note exigent circumstances in my log and keep it for at least a year in case there is a question. After all, everyone involved knows what was deployed, what they did and where they did it, so are we really creating a white elephant out of our efforts for strict compliance? I am more concerned about frequency, spectral purity, power and bandwidth, than I am about the use of https or even access to ebay from the mesh. I recall years ago that it was OK to order a pizza via a repeater autopatch for example. Just document your configuration and what YOU do, and don't sweat the small stuff on 2.4 GHz and up if you are clean and in band. RF cleanliness is more important, than clean content that is going to/from a secure server. 73, Gordon Beattie, W2TTT 201.314.6964 W2TTT@ATT.NET
Orv has a thread where he did
Orv has a thread where he did something along these lines and perhaps he will chime in with more details.
He used one PC (not sure if it was a desktop, pi, etc)  to download the RTSP stream from a video camera and resend it to YouTube.

You can easily accomplish all this without putting https on the mesh by that streaming PC being on a node with a WAN port active. I’m a big fan of follow all the regulations especially when it’s so easy to do.

A node that has a WAN port (with mesh GW disabled) will allow content from its LAN port to be routed to the internet but not allow anyone else on the mesh internet access.

With a deployment like this follow ANY howto that discusses streaming a networked IP can to YouTube and you should be fine.

To decrease load on the PC most cameras let you choose the feed settings so you could set it to stream to you in a format Youtube accepts natively so it doesn’t need transcoding.
w6bi's picture
Streaming How to
The article I worked off of is here.   The article is based on doing it in Windows but I've done it in both Windows and Linux.  Last December when the disastrous Thomas fire broke out in Ventura County, we happened to have a mesh camera on a mountaintop looking directly at the source of the fire, and less than four miles away.  I got video streaming out to Youtube within about 45 minutes of the fire breaking out.  The Ventura County Fire Department subsequently requested the URL of the Youtube video and reportedly they found it useful in their analysis of the fire (It was the first video extant of the fire).  That earned us accolades and was mentioned in the Ventura County Board of Supervisor's recent proclamation of June as Ham Radio Month.  :-)

More recently we streamed two cameras along a Red Cross charity bike race out onto our mesh network.  I took them and retransmitted them to YouTube per the article.  For that effort I used a Linux workstation (an older Dell desktop running Fedora Linux)

  • The computer doing the streaming and translation has to have access to both the mesh network and the Internet. Typically that's done with a Netgear GS10xE VLAN-aware switch. There is extensive documentation on how to implement that on this web site.
  • You have to have enough mesh bandwidth to accommodate the stream(s) you are going to transmit.  Keeping the occupied video bandwidth down is essential.   Streaming the video via RTSP is the way to go; it's designed for real-time data and all modern cameras support at least two separate streams.   (RTSP is beyond the scope of this note, but the camera UI should let you configure each of them appropriately).   We configure our cameras for 720p resolution, with a max frame rate of about 10 fps.  That works about to about 1.5 Megabits/second (depending on how much is changing in each frame; H.264 is like that).   
I characterized our network from the transmission points to my desktop computer and found that it could accommodate about 7 megabits/second end to end.  That meant we could support the two cameras with no issue (which turned out to be fairly correct).

You need one YouTube channel for each stream that's going to be active.  I had two simultaneous streams, so set up two YouTube channels and streamed them to YouTube.  At the Red Cross Chapter house they displayed the streams alternatively to a big screen TV.   They reported it worked well.

(As an aside, watching a street waiting for bicyclists to come along is pretty boring.  Recommend you orient your camera to include something to look at :-)  )

Hope this helps.
Many thanks!  Just what I needed.


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