Local Video Caching
CDN Costs, Improves QoE
BY NIVEDITA NOUVEL, VP MARKETING AT BROADPEAK
Delivering a high quality of experience (QoE) to viewers is
one of the most important objectives for today’s broadcasters
and other content providers. When quality is low, it can
significantly impact video consumption, which also affects
revenue generation. Of course, providing superior quality of
service (QoS) is no easy task.
Traditionally, content providers have relied on a CDN as
a service operator to make content available to viewers over
the internet. The problem is that content providers have little
control over what happens with the video after it leaves the
premises. The network service provider (NSP) controls the
heart of the delivery chain — the backbone network — along
with the last mile and home gateway or mobile base station
that gives end-users access to content.
CDN-as-a-service operators sign transit contracts with
NSPs. Those contracts can differ in terms of transit capacities
agreed between both parties. This explains why end users do
not receive the same QoS even if they live in the same building.
Beyond QoE and QoS issues, another challenge facing
content providers is cost. CDN-as-a-service providers
charge their customers based on the volume of content
that they deliver every month. If a certain TV show is
successful, especially if a high number of people watch live
simultaneously, it can become quite expensive for content
providers. This problem becomes an even bigger issue when
taking into account 4K content, which requires 10Mbps or
more bandwidth for the duration of a movie or a sports event.
By deploying their own CDN, major content providers such
as Google, Netflix, and Apple have tackled these issues and
gained control over the quality of content delivered. However,
this solution is not ideal for every content provider, as it
requires heavy investments in R&D and in operations to build
the appliances, develop an optimal architecture, and manage
the shipment, installation, and maintenance of equipment in
thousands of locations around the world.
Broadpeak, a leading provider of CDN solutions delivering
over 2000 PBs of video content every month, wanted to resolve
these hurdles in a way that would be affordable for all content
providers, knowing that most players in the pay TV environment
couldn’t invest in a CDN the same way that Google, Netflix,
and Apple did. The solution is Broadpeak’s BroadCache Box.
With BroadCache Box, local caches are deployed into the
telecom or cable operators’ networks, and the most popular
content from a specific content provider is stored. Since the
content is streamed from a location closer to end users, latency
and network congestion are reduced, resulting in higher video
bitrates, faster start times, and uninterrupted viewing sessions.
As the most popular content can represent more than 80
percent of the video traffic, caching at the ISP level significantly
lowers CDN service costs. Deploying BroadCache Boxes also
benefits telecom and cable operators as the traffic coming
from the caches does not generate any transit costs on their
behalf. The solution can be used for both live and on-demand
content and supports secured H T TPS connections.
Beyond improving the quality of experience for end users
while reducing the cost for content providers, BroadCache
Box provides a wide range of other benefits. For starters, it’s
easy to deploy, integrating smoothly within the system of the
operator. BroadCache Box has no impact on the traffic that
does not concern the content provider owning the appliance.
The CDN service can be used as a contribution link, or a
private link between the content provider and the operator
can be set up to bring the content down to the local caches.
Another unique advantage of BroadCache Box is that it
can coexist with standard streaming. The system is capable
of retrieving the content from the CDN as a service if, for
whatever reason, the local cache is not capable of delivering
it. With this mechanism in place, content providers can
ensure that content is always delivered and a reliable quality
of service is provided.