Sponsored Content Signiant
By Megan Cater, Signiant
Welcome to the “Zettabyte Era”
The flow of data across the Internet is
steadily and constantly increasing, with
annual global IP traffic predicted to reach
3. 3 ZB by 2021. Coined by Cisco in a recent
report on IP network trends, “The Zettabyte
Era” will be defined by a continued surge
of traffic over the next few years. “Overall,”
says the report, “IP traffic will grow at a
Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of
24 percent from 2016 to 2021,” with IP video
traffic making up 82 percent.
“It would take more than 5 million
years to watch the amount of video that
will cross global IP networks each month
That’s a lot of video. Granted, much of it
will likely still be pet bloopers and teenage
antics, but professional content created and
distributed by the media & entertainment
industry will take up its share as well.
Standard Internet Protocols like FTP
struggle with today’s media file sizes
At the same time that traffic is increasing
exponentially, so are the media file sizes
we’re attempting to move over IP networks.
Already 4K files are huge and trends in
higher resolution are pushing that mark
ever higher. How much bigger can they
get? With each jump between 2K, 4K
and 8K, pixel rates (and file sizes) square
incrementally. Where 4K = 8 megapixels,
8K = 32 megapixels.
The problem is, compared to general
traffic, large files are much more taxing
for TCP, the standard Internet Protocol
that moves data from one point to
another and the foundation protocol
for FTP (File Transfer Protocol). A 40+
year-old technology, FTP what was once
the easiest and most cost-effective way
to transfer large files, but there are some
growing challenges with FTP in today’s
The bigger the file, the slower
and less reliable FTP becomes
Any file between 500MB and 1GB
approaches a threshold where FTP starts
to break down in speed and reliability.
Why does FTP struggle with large files?
TCP/FTP use a relatively unsophisticated
mechanism to move files, sending only a
fraction of the file’s data and waiting for
acknowledgement that the data has been
received on the other end before sending
a bit more, and so on. With anything 1GB
and beyond, FTP requires an increasing
amount of back and forth to send the
entire file, slowing the transfer and risking
data loss and failure.
Moving files in the multigig and
above range is a familiar need for many
broadcasters and feature film producers,
but even small media companies operating
further down the supply chain are regularly
working above the 1GB threshold.
Globally distributed teams
make the problem worse
Distance only compounds the speed
and reliability problems with FTP. Today’s
broadcasters work with globally distributed
teams and freelancers, and often have post-production partners around the world.
Data can’t travel faster than the speed
of light. Even in a theoretical perfectly
unobstructed environment, it would take
more time to send a few bytes halfway
around the world than next door, but
the time lag with such a small amount of
data is negligible. However, compound
Slow, Stalled and Stuck Media Files?
Why FTP is no longer the best solution
Source: Cisco VNI GLobal IP Tra;c Forecast, 2016-2021.
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