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DF Raptor Overview

September 27, 2010

QUALCOMM Incorporated
5775 Morehouse Drive
San Diego, CA. 92121-1714
Copyright © 2010 QUALCOMM Incorporated.
All Rights Reserved.

QUALCOMM is a registered trademark of QUALCOMM Incorporated in the United States and may be registered in
other countries. Other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective
This technical data may be subject to U.S. and international export, re-export or transfer (“export”) laws. Diversion
contrary to U.S. and international law is strictly prohibited.

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 Founded in 1985
 Fortune 500 Company
 Approx. 10,100 U.S. and 48,000 International
patents and patent applications of CDMA and
related technologies including WCDMA
 Member of the S&P 100 & 500 Indexes
 Acquired Digital Fountain 2009

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Expanding the Wireless Ecosystem
Improving Content Delivery Solutions





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Digital Media Delivery Challenges Today

• All industries, government and commercial, are becoming more

dependent on reliable and efficient data sharing

• High value need for efficient streaming and content delivery

methods across all networks (wireless and wired) and device types
(servers, laptops, handhelds, etc.)

• Content providers require consistent high quality-of-service (QOS)

across all their distribution methods, delivered economically
• Users require access to data while mobile
• Use of Wi-Fi within the home is increasing

• Some applications require complex synchronization between

different networks to support multi-path data delivery

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Forward Error Correction Technologies
Solve Digital Media Delivery Challenges

Forward Error Correction

Technology (FEC)

Traditional Approach Raptor complements

traditional error coding

“Error Coding” “Erasure Coding”

Protects against Protects against Data Lost
Data Corruption in Transmission

Vast majority of current use of FEC Commercial application relatively new

Probably what you’re familiar with Applied above layer 2
Typically applied at layers 1 or 2 Complement to Error Coding
Usually performed in hardware Typically performed in software

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Raptor is an Application Layer – FEC
Erasure Coding Science Implemented in Software
It enables applications to recover the original data from an amount of
received encoded data only slightly greater than the original source data,
regardless of which specific data has been received

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How Raptor Works

• Raptor is a fountain code

– Can efficiently generate as much encoding as desired, on the fly
– Doesn’t matter what is received or lost, only matters that enough is received
– Can dynamically change the number of repair packets based on loss level

• Raptor is a Systematic code

– Source symbols are part of the encoding

• Raptor is used in an application specific manner

– For content delivery – encode the entire file as a block or a set of sub-
blocks if receiver memory is limited
– For streaming – encode blocks of the stream
– Also can be used at MAC layer to protect all data

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Why Organizations are Using Raptor Codes

• Values of Raptor:
– Enhances user experience – video quality and smooth playback
– Allows Content Providers to have consistent high QoS across services
– Allows applications not otherwise possible due to network limitations
– Speeds-up data delivery with variable or very harsh network conditions
– Increases overall system efficiency: less bandwidth, lower power,
simpler architecture for application development

• Problems Raptor codes can address:

– Dropped packets – corrects for lost data
– Inefficient coding – very low overhead (great for UDP apps)
– Jitter – smooth out video over poor links
– Fade out of picture, tiling – enables faster screen refresh

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How Organizations are Using Raptor Codes

• Content Delivery
– Enterprise sends 40 GB+ database update weekly to 500 sites via satellite
multi-cast network
– Military broadcasts image data via private mobile communications in
foreign countries
– Cellular operator multi-casts news flashes and video clips
– Navigation service provider broadcasts map updates to fleets of vehicles

• Streaming
– IPTV deployments in Asia and Europe on set-top boxes
– Military airborne operations stream live video feeds to ground troops
– Ground sensor networks transmit data to central command centers

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High QoS Video over Wired or Wireless:
Entertainment, Conferencing or Surveillance
Unprotected Video
• Compression compounds
over Imperfect impact of errors
Networks • Block errors
IP Network over
FTTP, DSL, or • Buffering
Wireless • Video and Audio loss

Raptor Protected
Steady & Crisp Audio & Video
Loss can exceed 15% or more
Low latency
Low processing overhead
over Imperfect
IP Network over

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Data Broadcasting to Mobile Devices

Satellite or

& Navigation
Operations and

Fountain properties
allow use of multiple
channels (if available) Many, many
New Info or New Content
to feed receivers Receivers

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Defense Communications

Hostile and challenging conditions

• Intermittent connectivity – blocking or loss of any particular source
• Stealth receivers – unidirectional reliability
• Ad-hoc network – moving transmitters and receivers
• Multilink – reception of different packets over different links
• Rapidly and widely varying network conditions

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Raptor’s Benefits and Advantages

• Efficiency
– Dramatic link margin improvement
– Exceptionally fast encoding and decoding algorithms (scalable)
– Reliable delivery over any data network and recovering lost data packets without
requiring re-transmission from the sender
• Flexible - operates ideally in a huge range of network conditions
– Multi-link/multi-network architecture
– High/unknown/variable loss
– Large latencies
– Intermittent connectivity
– Broadcast channels with no back channel
• Superior mobile receiver operations
– Implemented in host software without any special hardware support
– Consistent low CPU decoding complexity
– Suitable for low cost and low power consumer devices (mobile phones, handheld
devices, etc.)
– Provides longer battery life

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Comparison with Other FEC Solutions

Alternative Solutions are:

• Rigid and difficult to use
– Fixed rate codes – each code provides a fixed amount of protection
– Different codes are applicable for streaming and file delivery
– Operational parameters have to be tuned for each network condition
• Wildly varying CPU decoding complexity and erratic network efficiency
– Depends on network conditions
– Depends on application source data size
• Hardware intensive
– Software in physical layer requires equipment
Raptor is complementary to PHY-FEC
– PHY-FEC error-corrects/protects individual packets
– Uncorrectable packets are discarded (= loss to higher layer)
– Right balance of PHY-FEC and AL-FEC/UL-FEC is essential

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Products and Business Model

• Versions:
– RaptorQ: best-performing latest commercial version of Raptor with enhancements for
mobile devices; currently a draft IETF standard
– Raptor 10: commercial version in standards supported by the IETF, 3GPP and DVB
– Raptor 11: for high performance government and defense solutions
• Platforms:
– Windows / Linux / Solaris
– Android
– Windows Mobile
– Other platforms can be ported for a fee
• Licenses:
– Evaluation Kit (Free) – sample applications and demos
– Development ($) - source code for sample applications and Raptor binaries
– Deployment ($) - Raptor binaries and deployment rights
• Pricing Scenarios:
– Flexible models, driven by size of deployment and service business model
– Enterprise unlimited seats, per machine license, annual access fee options

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Raptor Technical Overview
Raptor Key Properties

• Dynamic packet loss protection

– “Fountain” codes which means “rateless”
• No limit to number of encoding symbols (n) that can be generated from any
number of source symbols (k)
• Unlimited amount of loss protection possible
– No “pre provisioning required”; everything on-the-fly simplifies architecture

• Exceptionally computationally efficient

– Computational workload is linear with respect to data size (vs. quadratic as
with most FEC)
– No additional hardware requirement, can share application CPU

• Much lower overhead than other FEC codes

– Less additional bandwidth for same amount of protection

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How to Implement Raptor

• Raptor is versatile and simple to deploy

– Application Layer FEC does not require special hardware purchase
• Raptor codes are incorporated into the using application
• Same software for file transfer or data/video streaming applications
• Software development kit with well-defined and tested APIs
– End-to-end architecture
• Encoder and Decoder pair
• Same software for client/server, peer-to-peer, or broadcast deployments
– Small footprint can be ported to many types of platforms
• Encoder and Decoder libraries are less than 100KB each
• Codec does not perform any floating-point operations

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How to Use Raptor Codes

– Can be easily integrated into any application to protect streaming media or data distribution from
the effects of packet loss
– Encoder available for sending nodes; receiving nodes require a decoder

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Erasure Code

Recovery is possible as long

as you receive enough
packets of any kind
Source symbols


Encoding symbols


Received symbols


Source symbols

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Raptor Fountain Code Flexibility

Send as many repair packets as needed

A B C D E F * %

Source packets Repair packets (low loss)

A B C D E F * % ^ `

Source packets Repair packets (moderate loss)

A B C D E F * % ^ ` ( 6

Source packets Repair packets (high loss)

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Raptor Selected for Cellular File Delivery Standard…
One Reason: Decodes with Less On Chip Memory

Object Storage

Raptor decodes
2-D Reed a slice at time
requires access
to entire file to

Raptor allows single-pass decoding of

files/objects larger than on-chip memory
Saves power, time and die cost
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Example: Reduced RAM Usage
Raptor vs. 2-D Reed-Solomon

Example: 4MB File


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Raptor: Very Low Computational Requirements
XOR operations/output symbol

R-S encoding/decoding

DF Raptor encoding/decoding


0.0% 2.0% 4.0% 6.0% 8.0% 10.0% 12.0%

maximum packet loss

R-S encoding (n=255) R-S decoding (n=255) DF Raptor encoding DF Raptor decoding

In comparison to other typical alternative FEC technologies, DF Raptor

can be an order of magnitude or more less complex
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Standardized Raptor Codes

• RaptorQ code (past WGLC in IETF, other standards to come)

– Systematic fountain codes
– Linear time encoding and decoding
– Great recovery properties
– Great flexibility
• Up to 56,403 source symbols
• Up to 16,777,216 encoded symbols
• Symbol size up to 65,535 octets (for maximum source block size of 3.4GB)

• Raptor 10 code (IETF RFC 5053, DVB, 3GPP, ITU, ATIS)

– Systematic fountain codes
– Linear time encoding and decoding
– Good recovery properties
– Good flexibility
• Up to 8,192 source symbols
• Up to 65,536 encoded symbols

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For more information on Raptor products
please go to

For questions please email