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Key CDN Challenges

Learn more about CDN challenges at the next Content Delivery Summit.

See complete videos and other highlights from Content Delivery Summit on Streaming Media's YouTube channel.

Read the complete transcript of this video:

Jason Thibeault: What are the key challenges facing CDNs? As an organization, our working groups are constantly asking this question, or what should we be working on? We are a bottom-up organization. So our board does not say, "Okay, you are going to work on this." It's up to the working group chairs to ferret out those projects from their participants. It's really hand-raising, so if you're in a working group, you raise your hand and say, "Hey, I have a problem with this," and that becomes a discussion. And sooner or later, 80% of the group is raising their hands as well. And that then becomes a project. So these are some of the topics that some of our working groups will probably start to zero in on.

  • Scaling. How do you scale the CDN effectively across different geographies while maintaining things like security?
  • Edge. How do you employ the edge better? What role does the edge play in streaming video? What role can it play? And again, how do you scale that? How do you do that efficiently and effectively?
  • Resiliency. And also, obviously, if the demand for streaming grows at scale, there are going to be issues with maintaining the network resiliency across mobile and fixed and wireless. And so that becomes an issue for the CDN. How do we deliver to all of these things and make sure that the signal is the same? Make sure that it's a great experience, even as we grow.
  • Latency. I think everyone knows about latency. That's probably one of the hottest topics right now for CDNs, especially as live sports kicks into gear, and we don't really have physical fan attendance, more people are watching online. And so we have to make sure that there isn't that latency between the stream and the live broadcast, or even with the stream itself.
  • Consistency. The worst thing we could do is have 50 bitrate changes during a stream. That's awful. And so CDNs are trying to figure out, how do we solve this problem of maintaining this consistency across the stream during peak traffic times? When all of a sudden everyone jumps on, how do we make sure that there's a great level set of quality that's appropriate for the individual devices people are using in the bandwidth that they have?
  • Interoperability. We know that content right holders are all starting to use multiple CDNs. How do we ensure that these CDNs work together? How do the CDNs ensure that they can interoperate with other CDNs so that it's easier for the content rights holder or the streaming platform operator to manage delivery across multiple networks. So these are some of the challenges that our groups are starting to explore.

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