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RazorLink Technology

RazorLink logoIf you are moving large files, streaming audio & video or simply want a better, faster more resilient network connectivity, RazorLink Technology can make this happen without the need to adopt new applications or workflows.

RazorLink Technology is cross platform software that operates in the background, completely transparently to your application. RazorLink has been designed for use over Wide Area Networks (WANs) such as cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite.

RazorLink Software Datasheet

RazorLink on OSX Platform Network Bonding video Thumbnail Network Bonding video Thumbnail

Network Bonding

Network Bonding video Thumbnail Bond 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, DSL and satellite to increase the available bandwidth or offer a backup network to your critical application. The sophisticated RazorLink protocols control the link aggregation, correct errors, and minimise latency for unmatched bonded performance.

Network Acceleration

Network acceleration video thumbnail RazorLink Technology overcomes the delay and packet loss that can occur when operating over a wide area network, radically improving the performance of your applications. The Intelligent RazorLink protocols, overcome the limits of TCP and accelerate data transfer by using available link capacity efficiently, independent of distance. This can of course be combined with network bonding for even faster operation.

Network Resilience

UDP resiliance video thumbnail RazorLink Technology overcomes the limitations of using UDP across Wide Area Networks.RazorLink implements its own error correction protocol that offers the resilient delivery of UDP data without the need for the high overheads associated with FEC. This result is more efficient use of the network capacity and lower latency. This can of course be combined with network bonding.

Network Prioritisation

data prioritisation video thumbnail RazorLink can prioritise traffic so the most important data is given preference and delivered first. Select which data stream is most important, e.g. audio over video, or vital signs telemetry over imagery.

Network Security

network security video thumbnail RazorLink Technology can encrypt your application data using sophisticated algorithms like AES and maintain maximum performance.

Network Statistics & Accounting

RazorLink aware video thumbnail Writing applications that need to adapt to the prevailing network conditions can be a complicated process. RazorLink makes this simple, providing bandwidth statistics and accounting information in real time without the need for any custom libraries of a complicated API. Simply open the control and status port and make plain text requests and receive plain text responses.

Performance can mean different things to different users. If the application is moving large files across the Internet performance is judged by the speed of transmission and how many attempts are required to make the transfer.

As a broadcaster sending live video, the performance is judged on the quality of the video, the delay and the resilience of the feed.

Accelerated File Transfer

There are many "optimised' file transfer applications available, the best being the expensive “Enterprise applications”.

As part of a review for a large mainstream broadcaster, Livewire Digital took the top 'Enterprise applications' and ran tests between international locations in the UK, Singapore, Mainland China and Hong Kong. Additional tests were performed over a UK 4G cellular service into the international destinations. As the reference for RazorLink, the FileZilla FTP Client & Server was used.

FileZilla Reference Performance
Plain FileZilla was way behind the best of the enterprise apps, but on the heels of the worst. As expected, results varied depending upon the characteristics and bandwidth of the links, but as a guide, the best Enterprise app was up to 5 times faster than plain FileZilla, the worst Enterprise app was ~1.5 times faster.

Another key statistic was how many attempts it took to get the file through. The best only had the odd failure, on average FileZilla required a re-attempt 1 in every 2 times, the worst required multiple attempts for each file transfer.

FileZilla with RazorLink
With RazorLink installed at both endpoints, FileZilla radically outperformed all but the “Gold Standard” enterprise application for which the results were almost identical, but averaging the variance FileZilla was marginally faster and more robust.

FileZilla over bonded networks
The above tests were conducted over a single fixed link or a single 4G USB modem. The introduction of additional cellular modems were picked up by RazorLink and used as a bonded service doubling and trebling the speed of FileZilla. There was no point in trying with the Enterprise applications as they simply used the default interface and therefore a single 4G modem.

In numbers:
On a 10Mbps link from Beijing to London FileZilla with RazorLink achieved an average throughput of 9.45Mbps with a transfer failure rate of 1.2%. On a 100Mbps link from HongKong to London FileZilla with RazorLink achieved an average of 93.2Mbps with a transfer failure rate of 0.4%.

Streaming Performance

Streaming applications tend to use the UDP protocol as it is simple to implement and the buffering schemes can be readily managed. The UDP protocol has a simple principle “fire and forget”, there is no guarantee the packets will reach the destination; they may even arrive in the wrong order.

To try and overcome these problems Forward Error Correction (FEC) is often used. FEC at the bit level works very well, precisely what it was designed for, but it can also be applied at the packet level. The advantage is that it can correct errors at the receiver without requiring any communication with the transmitter, just add the FEC overhead and it is possible to mathematically work out the lost packets, so long as not too much data has been lost. Some advanced algorithms change the level of FEC depending upon network conditions or combine FEC with other re-transmission techniques.

However, the FEC overhead can be in the order of 40% of the data being sent and at low bit rates introduces a significant amount of latency. The result is that the system may be transmitting at 4Mbps, but the video quality is at 2Mps and there is an additional 500mS of additional delay. As the network degrades, and more FEC redundancy is required the impact becomes more significant, so in the most challenging conditions the use of FEC can have a very detrimental impact.

RazorLink will add resilience to a UDP stream whilst keeping the overheads and the latency to a minimum. RazorLink knows it is UDP stream and will not buffer data in an indeterminate manner in order to guarantee delivery. If the application tries to push far more UDP data than the bandwidth of the link can support it will be lost in the same way as it would with straight UDP, or UDP with FEC.

Another common problem with UDP based applications is the maximum size of the packet that the link can support, the MTU size. The MTU size can change depending upon the network structure and is often hard to assess. RazorLink provides a transparent channel to the applications UDP data, so the application does not need to modify its operation.

Bonding is a key requirement with many streaming applications, providing sufficient bandwidth and transparent failover. RazorLink can bond multiple interfaces providing the additional bandwidth required and seamlessly failover should a network fail.

Streaming applications tend to have algorithms to adapt to the available bandwidth, and these will work transparently through RazorLink Technology, however, there is a better option. RazorLink can provide real time information about the link statistics, which will provide much more accurate and rapid adaption to the network conditions.

The RazorLink result is higher quality video and less delay for any streaming application.

In numbers:
FEC is generally configurable and the impact depends on a lot of factors; the level applied will impact on resilience, overhead and latency. Taking the RFC5109 standard a 4Mbps target network bandwidth the “optimal” FEC settings would result in a ~22% overhead and an additional 400mS of latency. The receiver will also need to add buffering to handle the bursty delivery from the FEC algorithms. The type of packet loss will have a big impact how FEC can correct errors and the optimum settings assume a regular statistical model which are not necessarily representative of real world scenarios.

RazorLink will only introduce delay in order to correct packets, which it will do in a very efficient manner. So the latency imposed will be the equivalent of a couple of round trip times, for example, on a bonded cellular link this may be 200mS. Adding some buffering at the application level is still recommended in order to handle bursty delivery, but the latency is lower and the link efficiency is close to 100%.

Bonding Performance

RazorLink is designed to discover new network devices when they become available, but only use them if they meet the requisite criteria making it is possible to “plug in” and “plug out” devices dynamically when RazorLink is actively transferring data. The result is that the bandwidth will increase or decrease accordingly.

The key differentiator between RazorLink Technology and standard IP bonding technology, it that RazorLink can bond as well as addresses the issues with TCP and UDP. RazorLink increase the underlying bandwidth through bonding, and maximizes utilization and resilience in the same manner it does over a single connection.

There is no “hard limit” to the number of interfaces RazorLink can bond, but there are of course the practical ones associated with physical considerations and system resource. Bonding 8+ cellular modems is readily achievable on COTS hardware.

As long as there is at least one active network connection the application will be unaware of underlying changes (other than bandwidth), so RazorLink allows the application to remain operational as networks come and go. This is ideal for mobility applications where it is fully expected that networks will change or as a backup solution.

The default RazorLink configuration will prioritise use of the fastest network with the lowest Round Trip Time (RTT) in order to offer the best quality of service. However, if more bandwidth is requested RazorLink will use other interfaces and adjust accordingly meaning it is possible to combine high latency satellite links with fast WiFi or cellular connections.

Satellite Performance

The physics of satellite links has a big impact on the performance of applications that use TCP.

Tests were performed across Inmarsat Fleet Broadband terminals using the application FileZilla. The results below show that Windows TCP connections are being limited to ~100Kbps, even though the satellite link is significantly faster. RazorLink radically improves the performance without modifications to the computers stack making the speed of operation ~2.5 times faster.

If the two satellite terminals were bonded using standard IP bonding techniques, the underlying throughput would of course increase, but the usable throughput of FileZilla would remain at ~100Kbps.

The results in the bottom row show the clear advantage of bonding with RazorLink.

bonding satellite terminals to improve network performance

 

Satellite Terminal FTP Client Description RazorLink Average Speed Kbps
FB250 FileZilla Background class context No 109
FB250 FileZilla Background class context Yes 244
FB500 FileZilla Background class context No 107
FB500 FileZilla Background class context Yes 262
FB250 & FB500 FileZilla Bonded Background class with RazorLink Yes 493

RazorLink Topologies

There are a number of possible RazorLink topologies as illustrated below, the ‘Peer to Peer’ mode being a simple and highly beneficial configuration where RazorLink is installed on the computers at both ends of the communications path, the “Client” and the “Server”. This provides the fastest most secure, most reliable connection, as there are no parts of the connection where RazorLink cannot provide the application with protection from packet loss and errors.

Peer to Peer

Peer to peer network using RazorLink technology

Dedicated RazorLink Receiver

Dedicated RazorLink Reciever

RazorLink Network Mode

RazorLink Network Mode

RazorLink in the Cloud

Another alternative is to install RazorLink on the “Client” which communicates with a Cloud based RazorLink receiver. The Client can take advantage of bonding and acceleration to the Cloud but the last mile to the “Server” will travel as standard traffic across the Internet.

Cloud Networking with RazorLink

RazorLink Configurations

RazorLink is available as software or hardware and to choose the most suitable package it is necessary to consider the way the system is to be used and the RazorLink feature set required. In the following configurations, the 1 2 symbols represent the user applications to which RazorLink will provide acceleration, resilience and bonding. The blue arrows 3illustrate RazorLink connections and the direction in which the connections are established. The red arrows 4illustrate application traffic where RazorLink does not offer protection.

RazorLink Client Software

Hover over table headers for explanations
RazorLink Version Platform TCP Acceleration UDP Resilience Max Bonded Network Interfaces Licensed Applications Receiver Capability
Bronze Win/OSX Yes No 1 1 No
Silver Win OSX Yes Yes 1 1 No
Gold Win OSX Yes Yes 4 4 No
Platinum Win/OSX Yes Yes 8 4 Yes

The simplest deployment involves installing RazorLink Client software at both endpoints as illustrated in Figure 1.


RazorLink Bronze RazorLink Bronze provides TCP acceleration to applications like file transfer shown by application symbol symbol
RazorLink Silver RazorLink Silver adds integrity, reliability and resilience to applications that use UDP shown by Application symbol - pink symbol
RazorLink Gold RazorLink Gold adds network bonding
RazorLink Platinum RazorLink Platinum adds the ability to accept inbound RazorLink connections for applications running on the same computer.

If a node must support both in-bound and out-bound RazorLink connections, then RazorLink Platinum is required at this endpoint. An example would be a “Managed File Transfer System” where the workflow is symmetrical and any system can establish outbound RazorLink connections to remote sites or accept incoming RazorLink connections from them.  In this scenario, each endpoint would require RazorLink Platinum as illustrated Figure 2.
Network bonding and acceleration softwareManaged file transfer acceleration

 

 

 

RazorLink Terminator Software

Hover over table headers for explanations
RazorLink Version Platform TCP Acceleration UDP Resilience Max Bonded Network Interfaces Licensed Applications Receiver Capability
Private Terminator Win/OSX/
Linux
Yes Yes Unlimited N/A Yes
Private Cloud Terminator Linux on AWS Yes Yes Unlimited N/A Yes

Where target application(s) must run on separate computers to the RazorLink receive point, RazorLink “Terminator” software is required. This will accept RazorLink connections and forward the application traffic to other computers.  This can be implemented by installing the RazorLink Terminator software on a suitable computer or alternatively can be deployed by Livewire Digital as a Cloud Service, which is private, and for the sole use of the customers RazorLink deployment.
The Cloud service charges will vary depending upon the required performance and the volume of network traffic. Please note that RazorLink does not protect the application traffic shown by the red arrows, so the applications will be subject to the network conditions on those links.


WAN network optimisationCloud network bonding and acceleration

 

RazorLink Hardware

Hover over table headers for explanations
RazorLink Product Platform TCP Acceleration UDP Resilience Max Bonded Network Interfaces Licensed Applications Receiver Capability
SilverBlade Beltpack Linux Yes Yes 4 N/A No
RazorLink
HotSpot
Linux Yes Yes 8 N/A No

 

 

Where the objective is to provide a shared service or make use of equipment that cannot readily have software installed then a RazorLink hardware device can be deployed to provide transparent access for all systems and applications. Unlike competitive solutions, this is not implemented using a VPN so applications can take full advantage of RazorLink acceleration, resilience and bonding.
The hardware systems are fully compatible with other RazorLink systems, so a RazorLink Terminator can accept connections from RazorLink software Clients, a RazorLink SilverBlade or a RazorLink HotSpot.

Network bonding and optimisation configuration diagram using RazorLink Hotspot
SilverBlade topology diagram - bonded video streaming

 

Bonded Video Contribution

RazorLink Technology can bond multiple network interfaces providing the necessary bandwidth for the delivery of video over cellular connections. Combining this capability with RazorLink resilience and it becomes possible to deliver high quality, low latency video.

RazorLink is available as software that can be installed on a PC or Mac, or as a “black box” networking device based on commercially off the shelf hardware and Linux. RazorLink is agnostic to the source of the video stream, so it can work with the new generation of streaming cameras, dedicated hardware encoders or software applications.

RazorLink can support a number of topologies, making it possible to install RazorLink directly on the decoder platform or to have a dedicated RazorLink receive point that supports multiple decoders.

Streaming applications have algorithms to adapt to the available bandwidth, and these will work transparently through RazorLink Technology, however, there is a better option. RazorLink can provide real time information about the link statistics, which will provide much more accurate and rapid adaption to the network conditions.

Bonding Video - Broadcast contribution

Optimised Streaming

Video over IP is being used for many applications from security cameras to streaming an event to the Internet. Such applications require bandwidth and good quality networks, both of which can prove difficult to guarantee.

RazorLink Technology can combine networks and transport UDP in a resilient and most importantly efficient manner. RazorLink bonding can offer sufficient bandwidth, but also ensure that if one circuit fails others will be used in a seamless manner. Making the best use of the available bandwidth is very important and RazorLink can offer significant advantages as it can offer resilience without the large overheads associated with Forward Error Correction.

RazorLink is available as software that can be installed on a PC or Mac, or as “black box” networking device based on commercially off the shelf hardware and Linux. RazorLink is agnostic to the source of the video stream, so it can work with security cameras, dedicated hardware encoders or streaming and production applications.

optimised streaming

Accelerated Data Transfer

There are many enterprise file transfer solutions on the market which will enable you to send large data files over poor quality networks. These will require you to change your existing applications and workflows and come at a significant cost.

RazorLink Technology solves the underlying network problems allowing your existing applications to work efficiently and transparently without any change to your trusted workflows. This means you can use standard applications like FTP and achieve the same if not better performance as can be seen by the results of a trial with a mainstream broadcaster in the "Performance" section. Furthermore, RazorLink can support bonding making it ideal for mobile applications, a feature we have not found with any of the dedicated applications.

RazorLink is available as software that can be installed on a PC or Mac, or as “black box” networking device based on commercially off the shelf hardware and Linux. RazorLink is agnostic to your application, so it can work with any data transfer application that uses TCP.

Accelerated-data-transfer

Network Optimisation

Network optimisation comes in many flavours, from “TCP accelerators” to proprietary hardware solutions. TCP accelerators can help address the problems with latency, but require changes to the computers network stack have very limited cross platform support and play havoc with the anti-virus software. They modify the behaviour of TCP in an attempt to make it perform better over high delay circuits like satellite, but they do not address the underlying problems. RazorLink Technology transparently decouples TCP connections, and implements sophisticated protocols to maximise utilisation of the link. RazorLink can also address the issues of using UDP across poor quality links by transparently providing resilience and guaranteeing packet order. In addition, RazorLink can bond networks, so increasing bandwidth or providing a backup solution is readily achieved.

RazorLink is available as software that can be installed on a PC or Mac, or as “black box” networking device based on commercially off the shelf hardware and Linux. They are fully inter-operable, making it possible to “optimise” at the network or computer level.

Network Bonding

There are many companies offering bonding at the “network level”. They are generally based on proprietary hardware with no complementary software solution. Some offer “load balancing” which distributes application connections through different interfaces, others perform true aggregation across the interfaces. However, they only address part of the problem; they give you a bigger pipe but its still leaky and has blockages, so applications can rarely make use of the full bandwidth.

RazorLink is available as software that can be installed on a PC or Mac, or as “black box” networking device based on commercially off the shelf hardware and Linux. They are fully inter-operable, making it possible to “bond” at the network or computer level.

network-bonding

Cloud Solutions

Many services are hosted "in the Cloud" where there is generally very good interconnectivity between systems. The problems arise when trying to deliver data “to and from” a Cloud based service.

RazorLink can be readily deployed in the Cloud either directly on the system hosting the Cloud application, or on a co-located dedicated system. RazorLink can bring all the advantages of acceleration, resilience, bonding etc. to the client side application without changing the workflow. The RazorLink service can be readily switched on or off making it simple to fall back to standard “end to end” connections or make RazorLink a premium service for the Cloud based application.

RazorLink and the Media/Response Centre

You need to provide communications services to a group of staff covering an event; they are uploading content, checking the social media angles and downloading information from various sources.

There is intermittent network service and the underlying bandwidth is slow. The team is only firing on two cylinders, much to the frustration of the individuals on-site and management back at base. The team needs fast reliable WiFi access for their laptops, mobiles and tablets. Some of the files are large and you want to make sure they get back in a timely manner without re-transmissions and failures.

Sounds like a job for the “RazorLink HotSpot”, a high performance hardware device designed to bond Cellular, DSL and satellite connections and present them as a seamless service through the built in WiFi access point. You can power it from the mains or from one of those “power bank” laptop battery chargers if the mains supply cannot be relied on.

Any laptop, mobile or tablet can take advantage of the combined bandwidth of the network connections. The RazorLink acceleration and resilience comes as part of the package without installing anything on their devices as RazorLink runs on the HotSpot and transparently optimises user connections. At the other end, you could use a RazorLink Cloud service or load RazorLink software onto a computer at your office to complete the RazorLink structure.

RazorLink and Emergency Vehicles

You need to provide communications services to first responders, equipping the vehicles with an Emergency Comms Unit” (ECU). The location of an incident cannot be predetermined, so you have considered, dedicated radio data services, cellular and satellite. The requirements cover both data at different priority levels and IP voice services at the incident. The control room staff needs to be able to remotely access equipment such as IP cameras and medical kit without involving on-site personnel. Security is a very important factor and all data between the control center and the emergency vehicle must be secure, encrypted and offer protection from man in the middle attacks.

The benefits associated with cost and performance of Commercially Off The Shelf (COTS) equipment is clear. This is a key factor as it dictates how many vehicles can be equipped within the budgets available. You wish to avoid each evolving requirement: video, voice, body telemetry, GPS, high-speed file transfer, etc. requiring its own proprietary implementation and comms links. The system you want must flexible, accommodate future comms services and be generic enough to accommodate any IP based equipment.

RazorLink can be deployed on high specification COTS hardware powered directly from the emergency vehicles 12 or 24V DC supply. COTS equipment is generally made to exacting standards and exceptionally reliable, as the last thing the manufacturer wants are costly warranty returns. There is of course a balance to be had between the cost and Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) figures of purpose built equipment. You must have a reliable system, but in some cases the policy of deploying two replicated COTS systems offers better reliability, more cost effectively than purchasing a single very expensive platform with high MTBF figures. Either way, RazorLink is software and can operate on virtually any platform that can support Linux, Windows or a Real Time Operating System (RTOS) like VxWorks.

Ethernet and a USB3 architecture, offers great flexibility; you can plug in 8 or more cellular modems, satellite terminals or custom interfaces to radio data services. The latest generation 802.11ac WiFi and gigabit Ethernet can be used to present the communications services to incident staff and associated equipment.

That gets you to first base; you can add new services readily and RazorLink will bond whatever is available!

When a major incident occurs you know there will be a high demand for cellular services, that they will become intermittent and slow resulting in major problems with the applications that your incident and control staff rely on. There is the dedicated radio service, but this has a limited data rate and the satellite link requires line of sight that may not be practical in a built up area.

Bottom line must be to make the very best use of the available resources and ensure those key applications perform optimally. When the available bandwidth drops, you need to make sure that the most important applications are preferentially given resource.

RazorLink will ensure that all applications get the best possible link, combining the underlying services and addressing packet loss and delay and accelerating all file based or interactive data transfers. RazorLink can be configured to give priority to specific applications ensuring that critical data such as body telemetry gets precedence over a still image transfer.

Live video and audio from the incident is the “Holy Grail” for command staff; but that needs lots of bandwidth, can require technical staff at the incident and has always been very challenging. You have tried the proprietary TV solutions, but they are too expensive to deploy and maintain. You have identified a number of IP based CCTV and POV cameras that would be a great solution, but there is the problem with bandwidth, packet loss and the big challenge of “remote access” from the control center.

RazorLink can provide bonded bandwidth and optimal error correction to the video feed as well as remote access to the camera from the control center. RazorLink can do this without the need for complex VPN networking.

Security is exceptionally challenging, especially for critical mobile deployments like the ECU. This is more so when different requirements: video, data, voice and telemetry are addressed independently with separate security policies.

You have found that applying corporate VPN technology across bonded services secures the traffic, but all application data is now tunneled down the same pipe making it impossible to address acceleration or error correction. The VPN adds overhead, can impact on the packet size (MTU) used by the applications like IP camera and has proved unreliable. General configuration and prioritorisation of traffic is complex if not impossible to specify and maintain.

RazorLink overcomes these issues, providing security to all applications without any impact on performance, error correction, prioritorisation, MTU restrictions or complexity. Any data sent on the network services can be encrypted using the same SSL algorithms used by banks. Plug-in software modules can support custom encryption algorithms if required. Added security is gained through the distribution of data across multiple networks making “Man in the Middle” attacks very difficult, and the RazorLink protocol makes standard IP protocol dissectors redundant.

Providing incident staff with the latest equipment quickly can save lives. The Internet of Things (IoT) means new equipment is likely to be IP enabled and will need to be integrated into the system structure. You’re very glad you didn’t adopt a proprietary solution for each requirement; it would be back to the drawing board!

RazorLink offers the “Future Proofing” you desire. Any IP based black box, laptop, mobile or tablet can take advantage of the RazorLink bonded bandwidth. The RazorLink acceleration and resilience comes as part of the package without installing anything on the devices as RazorLink optimises all the TCP and UDP connections transparently in the Emergency Comms Unit.

For the receive point it would be possible to use a RazorLink Cloud service, but given the nature of the application and the need to secure traffic all the way back to the control center, the use of a dedicated computer system for RazorLink is considered the most appropriate solution.

RazorLink and Moving Big Data Files Fast

Your willing to pay the price for that custom enterprise file transfer application, it works great between offices; but then a new requirement comes up, you need to enable content delivery from a laptop editing package that has its own built in file transfer agent.

Now the problems start... the field user could export the file then submit it to the custom transfer application or maybe some software integration work could be commissioned? Now things are getting difficult: more politics, more training, more support, more unnecessary delays, more expense!

OK, “Bite the Bullet”, dig deep into those pockets and start to roll it out... What now? The field users are complaining that in some areas the cellular coverage is so poor it’s taking too long to send the content and they are missing the deadline. Worst still, the competition are using RazorLink to increase the bandwidth and get the story back first!

You could buy "bonding boxes" and send them out with the field users, but then they will need batteries & converters and its another item to purchase and the support would be a nightmare!

That RazorLink proposition now looks kind of interesting... By installing RazorLink on the laptop, the speed of the built in transfer agent in the editing package is quicker that a high speed train! By plugging in a couple of USB cellular sticks the users can bond them with the hotel WiFi or even that satphone - your high speed train just went supersonic!

Job done! Might even be worth taking another look at those inter-office workflows…

RazorLink and Professional Broadcast Contribution

You are responsible for strategic planning at a mainstream broadcaster and have been looking at new technology and seeing how it can benefit the business. There are more and more companies offering cellular bonding systems for live feeds. They are mature, work very well but require the cameraman to carry more kit and the budgets only allow you to equip a subset of the staff.

You have noticed some very interesting advances in camera technology from manufacturers like Sony, JVC and Panasonic that means the video encoder is built in to the camera. They can now provide a live stream as well as produce file-based content that can be FTPed back to the newsroom.

Sounds like that’s the way to go, no more additional kit, no more extra batteries, less capital cost, less support and every camera operator can become a contributor.

Not quite yet… they don’t support bonding, they cannot offer the level of resilience required and the file transfer is a little tardy when the link quality is poor, which it inevitably is.

OK, there has to be a solution? You guessed it, its called RazorLink Technology. You can have it in a 'black box', or any other colour if you wish. Connect up the camera, plug in your USB modems and off you go. No need for any proprietary hardware at the receive side; it just needs to be compatible with the camera stream. Just install RazorLink software at the receive site, either on a separate computer or on the decoder platform itself.

The RazorLink engineers are perfectionists and cannot abide to see something that’s not quite right. They are very keen to switch off the cameras FEC generation when used with RazorLink, in order to improve the picture quality and reduce the latency. They would also like to allow the RazorLink network statistics to be used by the cameras bit rate adaption algorithms to make the system more responsive.

Can you integrate RazorLink into the camera I hear you ask? Of course we can, its cross platform software, but unfortunately that’s not our decision, but we are waiting for the email or telephone calls!

Almost forgot about the FTP client built into the camera.. Boy is that faster and more reliable when used with a little RazorLink Technology!

RazorLink with Skype and the Citizen Journalist

The goal posts have moved again.. Skype has now become an acceptable tool for video journalism. Let’s be blunt, the frame rates and video quality would require a new EBU standard, but it’s ubiquitous, simple to use and highly cost effective.

So your contributor in the field has a laptop and wants to call in with Skype. The WiFi at the airport does not provide sufficient bandwidth for a video call and frustration starts to set in, a lot of cursing and another attempt is made with his cellular dongle. His face briefly appears in a non-to flattering pose and hangs. Not enough bandwidth through that either...

Roll out RazorLink, bond the airport WiFi, the cellular dongle and another one from his mate. He completes the live interview on the Prime Minister's lost baggage, transmits back the photographs he has taken at record speed and signs off for a well-deserved pint on expenses.

RazorLink and Streaming Events to the Internet

You run a company that offers services to corporate events, streaming live content to the web using Wowza and encoding software like Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE).

You are well on top of the production and have been promised a rock solid Internet connection by the venue. The performance of this link to your Wowza server has to be good, any packet loss or dropout will be very detrimental to the feed and affect all viewers.

With any luck everything will fall into place, but live events are never simple... Bytes and bits get confused, Mbps become Kbps and the panic sets in. Not only is the throughput lower than promised, it’s flakey and someone has setup two DHCP servers on the same subnet. The IT manager cannot be found. Don't exaggerate, I hear some of you say, whilst others look back and remember those infamous times where everything went live over a piece of wet string and a prayer.

"Be prepared", say the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides amongst us, don’t assume that the manager at the Spanish hotel can actually get Telefonica to install a dedicated DSL line in a week. You know that the hotel has guest WiFi and you can buy a bunch of cellular dongles from different providers. OK, so you now have a fallback but how do you make this work in practice? You know there are two key problems to overcome, firstly to ensure that their is sufficient bandwidth, the second that the link is clean and is robust to packet loss.

The solution, of course, is to install RazorLink software on the FLMLE encoder PC and on the Wowza server. This will guarantee link integrity between them and bond the necessary networks. On the encoder PC, plug in the USB cellular dongles, link to the Guest WiFi and if the Telefonica DLS line does actually arrive; plug that in as well!

Sit back and watch the show!

RazorLink and Mobile CCTV

As a mobile CCTV service provider, you are dependent upon good cellular coverage. A job has come up at a music event and the site survey results look good; the pictures coming into the control centre have a suitable frame rate and there is little breakup. There is bound to be some degradation as the public start to arrive, but this has been accounted for.

The event starts, a fire breaks out on one of the stages and the crowd takes to social media in a big way. The CCTV video feeds degrade dramatically at the very time the emergency services need to know what’s happening! Not only this, but your guy on the ground has some critical still images he has captured that he needs to send back and the transfer app just keeps aborting!

Call International Rescue... RazorLink Technology is available in a small, cost effective black box that can be connected to the network in mobile CCTV vehicle. Plug in a bunch of USB cellular modems and even a satellite terminal (if warranted) and the available bandwidth will be increased.

"Big deal" I hear you say, there are plenty of "black boxes" that can bond network services. You’re not wrong, but they are expensive, you need custom hardware at each end, they are complicated to setup, generally come with a service contract and, oh I nearly forgot, they only fix part of your problem!

Yep, these expensive boxes can give you more bandwidth, but they don’t fix the underlying network problems that your applications have to deal with. You still need to add that FEC to the video streams, and your guy with the critical files could have got them back quicker by taxi. You spend twice as much on airtime and have to pay your guy overtime whilst the file transfer takes place.

RazorLink deals with bonding, provides resilience for the video feeds and accelerates the data transfers.

So the RazorLink proposition looks like a winner, in fact you can install it on the field guy’s laptop so he can send material back whilst away from the CCTV vehicle, having lunch at the café.

RazorLink and Satellite Services

You run a company that provides satellite services to a wide range of customers. They often complain (politely of course) that the data rates they achieve are significantly less than the headline figures in the promotional material. You are fully aware of the issues associated with satellite delay and have tried “TCP Accelerator” options and despaired; they have very limited cross platform support and play havoc with the anti-virus software! Bottom line, you don't have a solution for your customer with the iPad or that monitoring system he wants to connect up.

To compound the day’s problems, you have a government customer on the phone with voice encryptors that keep disconnecting and he is blaming the satellite network. Having spent many hours debugging the problem, it looks like any form of packet loss causes the encryptors to fail; sounds like it is going to be almost impossible to fix.

The solution comes to mind - lets provide them with a “Satellite Fixit Box” (SFB) that can be plugged in and magically resolves the problems! That sounds great! Who supplies them, Gandalf? Having recently read the 4th book in the trilogy “Bilbo and the Ka band uplink”, the secret word “RazorLink” comes to mind.

No need to install software on your customers computers, “RazorLink in a Box” is available; you can use is to accelerate and secure all traffic onto the Internet or through to their offices. This means the service lives up to the marketing and the encryptors work reliably. And of course there is more, you can bond services for more resilience or higher bandwidth!

“Why can’t RazorLink be built into the satellite terminals?” I hear you ask, it would solve so many issues? Well of course it could, but that's not our decision!

RazorLink, a Carrier Grade solution

You are responsible for bringing new cellular or satellites services to your customers, making sure you stay one step ahead of the competition, looking for that ‘edge’. Speed and resilience are high on the agenda, and securing the “last mile” from your network to the customer’s premises is a hot topic, as it is hard to justify the high costs of a leased line.

The RazorLink feature set looks like it can address the problems and bring a key differentiator to the negotiating table. No need for the complex TCP accelerator that the customer finds hard to deploy and only covers part of the network. Less requirement for that leased line, as RazorLink can correct for packet loss and packet re-ordering. Options to bond services for those bandwidth hungry customers with deep pockets.

OK this sounds great, but lets take a closer look at the possibilities:

The satellite link is rock solid, the problem is the last mile, the packet loss and re-ordering is outside your control. Well RazorLink could be installed at the edge of your network and at your customers premises; this would resolve the packet loss and re-ordering. You can fix the customers issues and provide statistics for that problem link, so your support team has all the information to hand.

Your customers often complain that the data rates they achieved by their applications are significantly less than the headline figures in the promotional material. Trying to explain satellite delay and TCP is not going to cut it, your customer simply wants it to work in the way it says it should on the packet. Well, you can roll out the TCP Accelerator, but you know it only works on certain platforms and even then causes a bunch of other problems, looks like you are going to need to allocate an IT support engineer to this one! Well, lets not mess around with your customer’s computers, that’s just a recipe for disaster. If RazorLink could be integrated into the satellite terminal you could solve this problem properly and offer two options: RazorLink acceleration to the edge of your network or all the way to your customers premises.

An earthquake has taken place in Asia and the NGO and military are on hand and relying on your services; but the bandwidth of a single satellite terminal is insufficient and it’s taking too long to get those critical medical data transferred back and now the news teams would also like to use the communications. You would like to be able to offer bonding across a range of different services. No problem, you have RazorLink services at the edge of your network and RazorLink on the terminals, link them and present a bonded and accelerated service.

RazorLink is cross platform software with mass-market appeal, but it has been designed with 25 years experience with carrier grade protocol stacks. RazorLink software is truly scalable; it can be run as a single multi-threaded process or as discrete processes across a number of host computers. Consideration for integration with backend databases or status portals is part of the design. RazorLink & Linux are a marriage made in heaven, just what’s needed for a carrier grade solution.

RazorLink Technology can be integrated with OEM software applications or embedded with OEM firmware.

The RazorLink GUI is web based and can be readily “themed” and “badged” to fit with the OEM software proposition. In addition there are a number of “reference platforms” that can be used to evaluate RazorLink.

RazorLink is written in C++ and fully operational on Linux, Windows, OSX and iOS. Support for Real Time Operating Systems such as VXWorks is considered straight forward and part of the roadmap.

For more information on licensing options please contact Livewire Digital Ltd.

RazorLink Reference Hardware

RazorLink can run on hardware you can buy off the shelf, like a Raspberry Pi, Odroid XU4 or an Intel NUC offering plenty of choice and very good value for money. However, it is necessary to consider the project objectives, as there is a direct relationship between RazorLink connection speeds and CPU performance. For example, a Raspberry Pi does not have sufficient performance to support a bonded 100Mbps connection, but the Intel NUC can. However, if the objective is a resilient bonded 2Mbps connection for a CCTV feed then the Raspberry Pi should be fine.

RazorLink Reference Hardware

If the platform runs Windows, then install RazorLink in the same way as you would a laptop or Desktop. In this case the application you want RazorLink to work with must be on the same computer. However, if you need the hardware to provide transparent RazorLink networking to other systems you need our Linux RazorLink package.

RazorLink on iOS

RazorLink Technology can run on iOS and offer bonding of cellular and WiFi. The structure of iOS requires RazorLink code to be included with your application in the form of a RazorLink Xcode Framework. The interface is simple, but the overall proposition is more complex and likely to require support from our engineers.

RazorLink on Android

RazorLink is operational on Linux, the basis for Android, but the formal porting of RazorLink to a defined set of hardware forms part of the roadmap.