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Problem with webcast and Windows Media player

By Zen37 ·
Hello everyone. I have a good one here, i think.
Here we go;

When we try to access the following webcast;
http://www.microsoft.com/events/executives/billgates.mspx

It launches Windows media player (version 9 on Windows 2000 workstations). We use Linux proxies (three of them), checkpoint firewalls on Nokia devices and packet shaper to control traffic on our 25 Mb link to the Internet.

We have a .pac file that all users load that chooses which proxy you will use and off you go browsing.

To get back to the webcast, it launches WMP and it starts to buffer the data. It gets normally up to about 40% then starts to decrease the same way it increased, little by little, all the way back to 1%. Then the buffering starts all over again. It can do this for a very long time. Sometimes it manages to launch the webcast for a few seconds and then it buffers again.

Now normally this would seem to be either an application issue or an issue at the source. But if i transfer the proxy settings to our other Internet link in another city (where the configuration is identical except that the link speed is 4X larger), none of this occurs. The webcast performs normally.

I have checked all interfaces between the workstation and the Internet link and none show congestion, bottlenecks, error or excessive use. I have sniffed the traffic between the workstation and the proxy and between the proxy and the firewall. I see nothing unusual there. I have asked the administrator of the proxies and the firewall to check at their end and they replied that they see nothing wrong.

I am at a lost here. I work for a company in the financial field and webcast are often use for quarterly reports and news here. They need this stuff but i cannot figure out what's happening. This problem started this week and does not seem to affect sites such as youtube.com or abcnews.com. But they send their broadcast to a web page.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

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All Answers

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test the thing on a DMZ

by CG IT In reply to Problem with webcast and ...

It sounds like the infrastructure is limiting the amount of packets uses get and the media server sends, therefore long buffering times.

I'd check things out by setting up a DMZ somewhere where all that's between your media server and the internet is a perimeter firewall that doesn't throttle traffic, then direct someone at another office to try and view the media. If that solves the problem, then it's your proxy servers, your method of bandwidth throttling thats causing users to receive packets at a very low rate.

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Not broadcasting

by Zen37 In reply to test the thing on a DMZ

Thanks for the input, but I'm not broadcasting, my users are watching broadcasts from other companies.

Anyways, i think i may of found the issue. I placed a laptop on my external link where there is no firewall, no proxy, nothing but the Internet router and it was still doing the problem. After lunch, I'm calling the provider.

Thanks anyways.

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doubt it's the ISP

by CG IT In reply to Not broadcasting

humm if your not actually hosting the web cast on Windows 2003 media server, then I would venture to say one of your firewalls is dropping packets. just my 2 cents here.

If your not hosting the web cast how do you know it's being hosted on Windows 2003 media server? just curious.

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The webcast is from....

by Zen37 In reply to doubt it's the ISP

www.microsoft.com.

I figure they must be using Windows 2003 servers :-D

I also know that my firewall is not the issue because i did the test in front of it and i still had the buffering problem.

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