Education Television _ETV_ on Demand over Internet2 Network

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					                                               I2WG Paper No. 3/2002


     WORKING GROUP ON INTERNET2 DEVELOPMENT

               Education Television (ETV) on Demand
                      over Internet2 Network


Introduction

            The main objectives of the paper were (1) to review existing
school educational television service and (2) to propose a prototype
ETV-on-Demand (EOD) service to deliver education digital video
streams over the Internet2 network in Hong Kong.

School ETV service

2.          School ETV programmes have been broadcasted to primary
schools and secondary schools starting in 1971 and 1976 respectively.
The objectives of the school ETV service are to:
           enhance teaching and learning
           motivate pupils to learn
           assist pupils to acquire knowledge and to develop necessary
            skills and attitudes
           support the implementation of the school curriculum

3.           At present, the programmes are scheduled for broadcast for
32 weeks of a school year. They are broadcast on weekdays from 8 a.m.
to 4 p.m. via the English channels of two local commercial TV
broadcasters. All government and aided schools are provided with TV
sets and recording equipment. Primary school teachers usually allow
their students to view the programmes at the time of broadcast while
teachers of secondary schools normally tape the programmes and let their
students watch the programmes later.

4.          The Audit Commission in its report No. 37 issued on 15
October 2001 revealed that there were high viewing rates for all primary
school subjects (overall rate at 85%), except Putonghua. However, the
viewing rates for secondary schools were low (overall rate at 18%). In
                                   -2-

response to the comment, schools have raised a number of reasons for not
using the school ETV service in school. Among the various reasons,
some schools opined that it was inconvenient for them to preview and
tape the programmes. In order to overcome the problem, some schools
suggested to convert the ETV programmes to digitized format on VCD's
and distributed to schools. In view of the comment and request, to make
the programmes more accessible, the Education Department (ED) has
produced VCDs and CD-ROMs for distribution to schools. Besides, ED
also plans to convert all new secondary school programmes to digitized
format and makes them available at the Hongkong Education City for
school to review/download. The development of the Internet2 may help
improve the delivery and use of the ETV programmes in our schools.

The next generation Internet - Internet2 (I2)

5.           The advent of Internet in the 1990s has drawn both the
public and the educators' attention. Nowadays, Internet has become the
most popular mechanisms available for communicating with others and
locating or retrieving information electronically. However, current
Internet (I1) has encountered a number of limitations. One of the
limitations was not having data packet priority feature which limits the
implementation of real time application. In order to solve the problems,
the next version of TCP/IP protocol - IPv6 was proposed which forms the
fundamental of Internet2.

6.           One of the features in IPv6 is the provision of Quality of
Service (QoS) where data stream and control signal stream could be
transmitted under the same media but with different priority. Thus,
real-time applications will be secured and made possible in Internet2.

7.            At present, though most of our local schools already had
broadband connections, the picture quality in video transmission via the
Internet is not satisfactory. Switch delay will cause an increased jitter in
the transmitted video stream which leads to choppiness in the output as
well as possible loss of synchronization for phase sensitive streams. The
coming very high bandwidth and bandwidth reservation in Internet2 will
improve the video transmission, thus, offers new opportunity to move our
school ETV service into new areas. We envision that a real-time EOD
                                   -3-

service will make it easier for broadcasters to target programs and
messages to specific audiences without the rigid time constraints
associated with traditional television programming.        Such service
through Internet2 can provide video quality approaching that of cable and
satellite television.

8.           Besides, Internet2 with full screen web casting and multiple
point video conferencing will benefit the growing field of online
education. A group of students or teachers, either local or overseas will
be able to collaborate from remote sites in an interactive discussion
process and hence to develop experience sharing culture. Furthermore,
dangerous experiment that requires professional handling can be
demonstrated to students via the Internet2. High quality communication
link would allow demonstration and critical review to occur.

9.           Having regarded to the latest development in the IT
industries and the adoption of IT in teaching/learning in schools, we
propose to have a pilot study to examine the adoption and uses of a
real-time ETV-on-Demand service through Internet2 in 100 public sector
schools before a territory-wide provision of such service is in place.

Deployment consideration

10.          In order to deploy an Internet2 project in Hong Kong, it is
necessary to connect the school network to a GigaPoP (Gigabit Point of
Presence) by a broadband link, or connect to the GigaPoP via a node site.
As most of the schools are currently using broadband for Internet
connection, it seemed that there is little impact to schools when switching
from the current Internet into Internet2.

11.          Internet2 network is using IPv6. Currently, Microsoft has
announced that only Windows XP and .NET server are supporting IPv6
while the implementation on Windows 2000 is still pending. It is likely
that our schools need to upgrade their network operating system, which is
mostly Windows NT and/or Windows 2000 into a new platform that
supports IPv6. Another solution is to upgrade schools' front end router
into a IPv6 compatible router which has IPv4 to IPv6 tunneling feature so
that back end workstations and servers will keep running IPv4 platforms
                                  -4-

like Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows 9X whereas the Internet
side is running IPv6. Furthermore, if we could install an IPv6 router at
the node site or the GigaPoP site side, then there will be completely no
change in our existing school networks environment.

Advice sought

12.         Members are requested to render their expert views on the
proposal and the way forward to take such research project to reality.




Education Department
June 2002

				
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