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Video: The Challenges of Content Delivery Across an Internet Not Built for QoE
Ciena's Glenn Calafati discusses the strategic and technical adaptations that have helped an internet designed marginally for quality of service but not at all for video or quality of experience have addressed the challenges of content delivery.

Watch the Glenn Calafati's full presentation from Content Delivery Summit, How the Network is the Key to Delivering a Good Quality of Experience, on the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Glenn Calafati: The change, and I don't know if it's apparent to many, or how many have dealt with the public internet or how the internet was actually constructed, but this is an illustration of where the internet was.

If you picture those tubes or those cylinders, one says transit, then I have wire access, and mobile access. They're extremely hierarchical. You would enter one of these networks, either from the content publisher's perspective, you'd publish your content, you have to ride to a hierarchical network to get to a data center or cloud location or a peer location to be able to ultimately distribute that to the users.

The same thing on the consumer side, so coming from the bottom of the diagram you had these many layers. That created a very latent, unpredictable sort of environment, network environment that could not offer a quality of experience to the user. You did not have the ability to control all of those variables. So, the subtlety that I have there is that you see quality of service.

The transit networks that were put together by some of the largest carriers, have now been over built by some of the largest global content providers. And that was because there was an inability to provide a quality service, or a guarantee that the content was going to get moved from one city to another, and published successfully to a user. We've evolved.

On the access side, the bottom half of that diagram, the ISPs, you think of that as all your internet service providers, and your mobile network operators. There still is a hierarchy and a complexity, and they have trouble guaranteeing your quality of service. So, the sale there is buy more bandwidth, that'll fix the problem but it's still not improving your latency or potentially improving the quality of the video that you're consuming.

I used a little reference of a light bulb there, like it's a wonderful incandescent light bulb. The products that it sold for years was light. And it's now been improved. The reason that I bring that up is to say we all now accept LED light bulbs, they're great, they cost a little bit more but they still produce light, they last a hell of a lot longer, and they're a lot more efficient.

So, this is where we see the internet is transforming. You end up with the content owners driving content deeper, using network technologies, and I had mentioned one before, ethernet was a transition that was important. DCI is an acronym for Data Center Interconnection, that we use in our business. A lot of smart people in the data center business and in the cloud business that understand where our content archive is, and where their origin locations are. And it'll use these direct fiber, high-performance, high-speed connections to distribute that content, to get push it close to the users.

I have two other acronyms on there: mobile edge compute, the MEC, so that's pushing the storage and compute resources even farther and closer to the users. And Virtual CDN. This is all creating a distributed sort of content environment. Where now if you think about that as a user, the hierarchy, the complexity, the latent behavior, that's a little removed. It enables a better performance. It enables the content owners to actually monetize their services better, whether it's searches if they serve up advertising, or they have subscription-based products. They can actually provide better-quality services that way.

And this is sort of forcing the industry to look at overall and/or quality of experience, not what they used to call a quality of service SLA. Quality of service SLA meant I bought 100 Mbps-per-second internet service, and I was guaranteed to only lose a small percentage of the traffic. That's not good enough for video. The video you need to know that, hey they didn't abandon, they were engaged, they stayed tuned, and they did not re-buffer. This is a very different type of metrics.

So we see a transition to all these technologies driving a distributed cloud environment enabling content to be pushed farther and close to the users. And the metrics themselves actually being based on quality of experience.

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