Network Congestion should not be ‘The New Normal’

By Simon Nurick.      New series released and ready for binge watching? Major sporting event happening? New operating system released for download?

Can your network handle the usage spikes associated with OTT content?

The volume and quality expectations associated with OTT consumption are straining operator networks and impacting users’ quality of experience (QoE). While many operators have invested in high-speed broadband networks, they still face customer satisfaction issues around QoE. This can result in churn.
So how can you give your subscribers a better experience?

  • Store content closer to the edge – By identifying and storing the most popular Internet content - such as video or the upcoming iOS9 update – at the edge of your network, closer to end-subscribers, content can be delivered locally to the subscriber. This accelerates delivery speed as compared to having to retrieve the content each and every time from a distant content source. Better delivery speeds obviously improves QoE. PeerApp calls this ‘local content delivery’. By delivering video, Web, media and live streaming content in close proximity to the users, local content delivery eliminates content access latency and increases content delivery scale by 1-2 orders of magnitude (e.g. serving 10,000 subscribers v. 1M).
  • High-performance caching – is the basis of local content delivery. Internet content caching (also known as transparent caching, or sometimes open content caching) has been available for some time, bringing many benefits to consumers, content owners and operators alike. The right caching solution has evolved as the Internet evolved and is now response-based and can handle many content types. PeerApp is proud to have over 450 customers globally for our open content caching solution, helping them to speed delivery of video, P2P and other content up to 12 times or more, while also lowering bandwidth costs by 50% or more.

Network congestion does not have to be “the new normal.” Moving content closer to the subscriber significantly reduces network congestion and solves the immediate challenge of delivering content with the quality subscribers expect. It also provides several additional benefits to the operator.

  1. Reduced Costs - local content delivery reduces bandwidth consumption, which in turn reduces CAPEX and OPEX by lowering or delaying peering/transit costs, costs of network core upgrades, and costs of internal leased circuits, where applicable.
  2. Full Network Control – open content caching offers an attractive alternative to the scenario of placing a collection of private caches from 3rd party content publishers into the operator’s network. This scenario is sometimes referred to as a “zoo of caches”. On the operational level, operators have no visibility into the “zoo” of private caches; cannot apply their own differentiation of delivery; and cannot reliably scale and migrate the footprint, or realize resource efficiencies, offered by a common hardware platform. From the regulatory point of view, by embedding private caches from one tenant, operators potentially expose themselves to a risk of having to embed caches from all current and future tenants.
  3. Enhanced Network Management - Operators have to deal with the increasingly complex task of managing network capacity and traffic flows across one-off flash-crowd events and the ability of content providers to steer traffic from one global CDN to another in real-time based on performance metrics. By embedding a local content delivery layer in the access network, operators are able to both flatten out the viral peaks created by ‘events’ such as content releases, massive software updates, live webcasts, and contain the traffic shifts caused by serving popular content from multiple CDNs in one location. Network offload provided by local content delivery also relieves congested network interconnects, and offers leverage in peering negotiations.

Content caching brings many benefits as operators work out how to cope with the astounding growth in demand for Internet video and other OTT content driven by “Broadband First” consumer behavior. Bringing content closer – local – to consumers increases Quality of Experience and lowers costs. Local content delivery is evolving to go beyond caching to include other capabilities to optimize networks for quality and cost, and do so in an SDN/NFV environment. Local content delivery platforms can also be the basis for monetization of OTT traffic.

To read the story of how one PeerApp customer improved QoE with PeerApp, download the customer story available here. Or, to learn more about Local Content Delivery, download our whitepaper at www.peerapp.com/ebook.

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