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A fundamental problem that a Peer-To-Peer (P2P) live streaming system faces is how to support flash crowds effectively. A flash crowd occurs when a burst of join requests arrive at a system. When a flash crowd occurs, the sudden arrival of numerous peers may starve the upload capacity of a P2P system, and degrade the quality of service. By theoretical analysis and simulations, the authors find that a system has limited capacity to handle a flash crowd: It can recover to a new stable state when the size of flash crowd is small or moderate, but collapse when the flash crowd is excessively large.
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