Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Content Delivery Networks Transformed

It’s no secret that bandwidth requirements are increasing across the board. Much of this has resulted from the move to IP video streaming and downloads. It’s also a function of more sophisticated websites than what were envisioned in the early days of HTML. Now graphics are huge and sites are interactive, with all sorts of browser and server based application code. The issue has been how to deal with network bandwidth requirements that are accelerating with no end in site. One answer is to transform the network and the sites that use it.

Why isn’t simply increasing WAN bandwidth sufficient? Indeed, WAN bandwidth is increasing by leaps and bounds. In fact, the flood of packets on the Internet has resulted in such traffic jams that CDNs or Content Delivery Networks have arisen to create fast bypass lanes around the Internet superhighway.

Bandwidth is expensive. Both copper and fiber based network bandwidth prices have plunged in recent years. Even so, the demand to transport more and more data per user is causing many companies to increase their telecom services budgets to keep up. The end user has also increased their DSL, Cable and wireless broadband service speeds, but there is a limit to what they will pay and what is even available in many areas.

Two companies have teamed up to deal with this dilemma head-on. Level 3 is a global connectivity and content delivery network services provider. Strangeloop is a company that specializes in network and website acceleration. Combine a CDN with advanced acceleration techniques and you create a much faster network. How much faster? Up to a 30% performance improvement compared with what’s been available previously.

Note that this 30% performance boost is not a simple cranking up of network bandwidth. What these techniques do is actively manage three aspects of the process: network, delivery and code. Both Level 3 and Strangeloop actively manage how Web content is delivered to an end user without that user being aware that anything other than a simple file transfer is going on.

For instance, multiple copies of website files are hosted on Level 3’s Content Delivery Network and sent to the user from the most optimal cache server for that user location. Level 3 has 35 strategically placed caching locations. They also offer a streaming service for real-time content such as video.

Strangeloop goes further by actively managing how each page is rendered. They do things like compressing images for mobile viewers, increasing parallel data download from server to browser, reducing roundtrips by consolidating similar resources into single files, and delaying execution of non-critical scripts until the rest of the page has loaded and been rendered on the browser. Their process also lets the browser start downloading page resources while the server is busy generating the HTML page. Normally this is a serial process that takes longer than necessary.

Human nature dictates that the longer it takes for a page to load, the more people bail out due to impatience or mistakenly thinking that the site is broken and will never load. By speeding up the site rendering process so that users see the result in a second or two can dramatically improve the stickiness of the site and desired actions they take while visiting.

Are you frustrated with the sluggish performance of your site or streaming content because of too much information taking too long to reach your users? Perhaps you can benefit from the Level 3 CDN Site Transformer for enterprise users or other network improvements. Explain your need and get pricing and availability on high performance bandwidth services now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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