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The two main sources of impairment in overlay multicast systems are packet losses and node churn. Yet, little is known about their effects on the data distribution performance. In this paper, the authors develop an analytical model of a large class of peer-to-peer streaming architectures based on decomposition and non-linear recurrence relations. They analyze the stability properties of these systems using fixed-point analysis. They derive bounds on the probability that nodes in the overlay receive an arbitrary packet of the stream. Based on the model, they explain the effects of the overlay's size, node heterogeneity, loss correlations and node churn on the overlay's performance. Their findings lead one to the definition of an overlay structure with improved stability properties.
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