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Guest view: Differentiating network services through CDN

Parimal Pandya | Sept. 10, 2013
Meeting the content and service expectations of subscribers across multiple devices have presented new challenges and opportunities to network operators globally.

Parimal Pandya, Akamai
Photo: Parimal Pandya

There is no denying the reliance we have on our smartphones today. You probably cannot remember the simpler days of using your phone solely for the purpose of calling and messaging. We use it to surf the Internet, download content, watch videos and access our social media sites. As such, we also seek seamless content delivery and greater connectivity by syncing our phones to other mobile devices such as our tablets and laptops. We have become accustomed to consuming content on multiple devices, at any time, across any network.

Meeting the content and service expectations of subscribers across multiple devices have presented new challenges and opportunities to network operators globally. They own the network to the end user upon which all devices connect and services run across. Operators need to focus on managing the network costs to deliver these services, while trying to leverage the increased adoption of content and services to favorably impact revenues.

And at the heart of the opportunity, is the ability to improve service performance to truly differentiate their network from the competition. To accomplish these goals, we are witnessing an emerging opportunity for network operators deploying their own CDNs to become valuable stakeholders in the content distribution value chain.

Network operators are coming to terms with the consumerisation of IT; specifically the burden it has on their networks. According to a report by Nokia Siemens Networks, over 85 percent of traffic on the mobile network will be generated by mobile data, of which 49 percent will be delivered via handheld devices by 2015. At the same time, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is not showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, Gartner has estimated that by 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile.

The situation currently facing many network operators is that their traffic is being served from external peering and transit. This leaves them with no control over the traffic delivered which results in unpredictable swings and a less than optimised network. The latency will thus affect Web and streaming performance to subscribers.

Operator Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are fast emerging as a high priority element of network operators' strategies to support the delivery of all content and applications—their own services as well as those from over-the-top providers. They see CDN as a strategic and highly complementary way to offer new and differentiated content services and provide a superior Quality of Experience (QoE) for their subscribers. From a cost perspective, CDNs will contribute to a reduction in network infrastructure costs. At the same time, operators will be able to provide a holistic and quality experience for subscribers across a variety of (Internet Protocol) IP-connected devices.

 

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