Global Relay Updates

Some of you may have had issues with your relay url stopping after a few seconds. This issue has now been repaired for all SoniXCast customers. We apologize for the inconvenience.

What Happened?

Through our partnerships with Roku and iTunes, we were able to negotiate priority listings for SoniXCast Radio Stations. As a result listener and metadata query traffic went way up.

The immense amount of additional traffic quickly overloaded the set limit of 2 million connections per server, so we had to raised it to 8 million connections per server.

In addition, the intrusion detection system was seeing the higher than normal traffic as malicious and as a result began rotating ip-addresses. We’ve adjusted those limits as well.

As good measure we also updated the limits within the AnyCastIP network to ensure that there is enough bandwidth available for future growth and will be adding extra relay nodes in more locations.

Which Url should I use? Relay vs Redirect vs Main

With the recent server ip-address changes, many customers have found out the hard way that 3rd party aggregators like TuneIn and others are just not aggressive enough when it comes to maintaining their domain name services (DNS). Serious aggregators such as iTunes, Roku and Sony have more robust network operations and correctly update when we do which is why customers using those platforms don’t have as many issues.

So, why change the IP-Address anyways?

Our network is hostname centric for reasons that will become clear as you read on. Those who been with us longer remember a time when we were being attacked on an almost daily basis causing service interruptions. Since then we’ve locked things down quite a bit and part of that action was to implement ‘Floating IP‘ and ‘AnyCast DNS‘ technology.

A Floating IP is an IP address that can be instantly moved from one System to another in the same datacenter. Part of a highly available infrastructure is being able to immediately point an IP address to redundant systems.

Anycast DNS is a network addressing and routing methodology, in which datagrams from a single sender are routed to the topologically nearest node in a group of potential receivers.

Our AnyCastIP technology implements a hybrid version of both technologies where an ip-address pool is predefined with DNS hostnames that are rotated at random intervals or when malicious activity is detected which are assigned to multiple redundant systems.

Hackers looking for new victims routinely scan whole ip networks looking for vulnerable systems. Streaming technology (regardless of vendor) requires the use of open network ports in order to communicate which introduces HUGE security holes. Our Intrusion Detection Technology watches for malicious connections and if something fishy is suspected, changes the ip-address to ward off any possible attacks.

This, of course, plays havoc with those still routed in the concepts of ‘static‘ ip-addresses as each hostname must be manually updated each and every time one or the other changes in order to achieve proper functionality. Which is why customers should NEVER use the IP-Address! Ever!

Enough Geek Speak! Which Url should I use?

We offer 3 separate Urls in order to cover the widest field of application. On the BoomBox Dashboard page, customers will see 3 ‘thumbs up’ icons colored according to application in the ‘My Station‘ section:

Relay Url (Green – Website and Players):

The relay url is what customers should put in 3rd party players, on their website and generally share with listeners. It is the most compatible, the most reliable and the url never changes as long as the account is active.

The Relay Url is funneled through a highly customized Icecast stream server cluster hosted on 24 geographically dispersed network nodes) that normalizes and buffers the stream for fastest possible startup and rock solid, high quality, playback. And since Icecast (more so by far than ShoutCast) works with every known player out there, it is compatible with just about anything including computers, tablets, set-top boxes and cellphones.

Redirect Url (Blue – 3rd party Software and Aggregators)

Aggregation Services (i.e. TuneIn), Broadcasting software (i.e. SAM Broadcaster) and 3rd party tools (i.e. RadioToolBox) need to query ShoutCast’s proprietary ICY protocol in order to function correctly. The redirect url merely forwards port requests directly from our worldwide nodes to the main url, but more importantly the url never changes as long as the account is active.

Main Url (Red – Backup only)

Those having difficulties broadcasting live using 3rd party broadcasting software can use the main url as a fallback, but be advised that the url can change at any time.

Global Public Relay Phase 1 (Canada)

We are happy to announce the final release of the Global Public Relay (GPR) Phase 1 (Canada). This release replaces the old relay and addresses issues some customers were having with buffering during certain times of the day when load was exceptionally high.

As of immediately producers may publish the following to their webpage, tune-in et al…

http://listen.sonixfm.com/[My Station ID]
http://tunein.sonixfm.com:[My Station ID]

BoomBox has been updated to reflect changes and both links can be used alternately as redirect link using the port or as relay using the mount point. For example:

Say that your station id is 8000, your station now has the redirect link http://tunein.sonixfm.com:8000 (or http://listen.sonixfm.com:8000 if you so choose) and a relay link of http://listen.sonixfm.com/8000 (or http://tunein.sonixfm.com/8000 if you so choose).

Please refer to the BoomBox Dashboard page to retrieve your exact links.

Producers do not have to make any immediately changes to their current links. The old relay and redirect links (relay.sonixcast.com, stream.sonixcast.com) are still active and work exactly as the new links do.

Producers will experience more listeners tuning in

The purpose of the global public relay is to take advantage of sonixfm.com’s listenership. SoniXFM receives roughly 750K listener hits a day through partnerships with Apple, Microsoft, Sony and so on… These listeners will now have SoniXCast Stations at the top of their search results when, for example, searching for a radio station by Genre.

More reliable, faster listening and almost no buffering

The global public relay project was designed to be highly available at all times of the day or night. Essentially a cluster of separate nodes on average 5 per geo-location, if one falls out for any reason, the next will step right in a take the load. Listeners experience almost immediate listening pleasure from the moment they hit the play button and buffering is all but eliminated by balancing the load across multiple nodes.

More to come…

This is just phase 1 of the global rollout and only concerns North America. Other global locations are in the works/negotiations with Europe and Asia next in pipeline.